Thursday August 11th, 2022 1:56PM

Kemp pushes on school safety; Abrams seeks officer pay hikes

By The Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams continued their bidding war on public safety Thursday, with Abrams proposing a big pay increase for state police and prison guards, while the Republican incumbent said Georgia will spend at least $8 million more on school safety after a Texas shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

Each is attacking the other on safety and violence, with Kemp saying Abrams has “championed a far-left agenda that puts officers at risk and families in danger," while a group of parents at a Democratic news conference slammed Kemp for loosening restrictions on guns in Georgia, alleging he puts their children more at risk.

Kemp and Abrams were already jousting on crime, guns and safety, with Abrams saying last week that she wants to roll back a series of gun rights expansions and focus less on punitive measures in Georgia.

Abrams countered the Republican narrative that she wants to defund the police by saying she wants to increase funding, saying she would pay state trooper cadets, prison guards and juvenile justice guards $50,000 a year. Now, a trooper cadet starts at just more than $40,000, an adult correctional officer at $38,040 and a juvenile correctional officer at $37,730. Abrams said it would take $182 million over two years to boost pay.

"We can improve recruitment and retention efforts while also improving community interactions with those who keep us safe,” Abrams said in a statement. The plan was first reported by Axios.

Kemp announced Thursday at a school safety conference in Columbus that the state is giving $2.6 million to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth to increase training capacity and classes available to school resource officers. He said the state will used $1 million in federal money to enhance school protection efforts statewide, including training staff and school resource officers.

Kemp said the training center is reviewing how it trains officers after the widely criticized police response in Uvalde, Texas, and will provide an additional six active shooter classes this year.

Local and state law enforcement agencies will be able to compete for $4.5 million in grants for school safety, use-of-force and de-escalation training, and mental health needs.

Finally, Kemp said the state is seeking $3 million in federal grants to increase training and improve school climate.

“While these are the latest measures we’re taking to ensure our children’s safety, I can assure you they will not be the last. I will work with anyone, even in the midst of a heated election cycle, to protect our students,” Kemp said in prepared remarks.

Kemp’s plan largely keeps with the response among many Republicans to mass shootings. They’ve refused to backpedal on gun rights, focusing on other measures.

Georgia provided $69 million in school safety grants in 2019, Kemp’s first year in office, guaranteeing every school $30,000. The governor also won funding to pay mental health professionals to work in high schools. Kemp spent $6 million of federal COVID-19 relief on student mental health.

Abrams on Thursday also called for a $25 million in grants for police departments and sheriff’s offices to raise pay and subsidize housing, saying local agencies would have to adopt state best practices to be eligible.

Her campaign said those best practices would include new standards on using force, de-escalating confrontations and intervening in crisis situations. She called for expanded efforts to have people trained in mental health and social services respond to some police calls, an effort Kemp and Republican lawmakers also support.

The Abrams campaign didn't respond to questions about other proposals made Thursday. They include a call to enforce guidelines on “community relations and transparency," an effort to require “accountability for unlawful law enforcement and correctional violence and misconduct” and building “community trust.”

Kemp’s campaign is airing ads saying that Abrams’ service as a board member of the Seattle-based Marguerite Casey Foundation proves she is insufficiently supportive of police.

“Abrams can’t hide from her own words and willingness to support and profit from Defund the Police organizations,” Kemp tweeted Thursday. “As long as Abrams serves on this board and backs their agenda, she cannot claim to support our men and women in blue.”

Abrams denies having ever advocated for cuts in police funding. The Kemp campaign provided two clips, including one where Abrams says, “We have to allocate resources, so yes.” The Abrams campaign says those clips are taken out of context.

Democrats again slammed Kemp on Thursday for repealing Georgia’s former requirement for a permit and separate state background check to carry a handgun in public.

“In a state where gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teens, Gov. Kemp is moving us in the wrong direction on gun safety," Valerie Calhoun said. "And that makes me worried every time I drop my kids off at school.”


Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy


Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
In Gee Chun shoots 64, races to early lead at Women's PGA
In Gee Chun breezed to an 8-under 64 to jump out to a big early lead in the first round Women’s PGA Championship
4:54PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Hall of Fame NFL running back Hugh McElhenny dies at 93
NFL Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive running back from the 1950s has died
4:49PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Live updates | American Medical Association weighs in
The American Medical Association has called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling a “harmful and deeply disturbing decision
4:38PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Wall Street shakes off a midday stumble and ends higher
Stocks shook off a midday slump and ended higher, keeping major indexes on track for weekly gains
4:09PM ( 54 minutes ago )
1/6 panel hears of Trump's pressure on Justice Department
Former top Justice Department officials have testified to the Jan. 6 committee that President Donald Trump hounded the department to pursue his false election fraud claims, contacting the agency’s leader “virtually every day” and striving in vain to enlist the government’s top law enforcement officials in his desperate bid to stay in power
4:06PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Instagram tests using AI, other tools for age verification
Instagram is testing new ways to verify the age of people using its service, including a face-scanning artificial intelligence tool, having mutual friends verify their age or uploading an ID
3:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Swanson homers twice, Braves hold on to beat Giants 7-6
Dansby Swanson hit two home runs and the Atlanta Braves built a big lead early before holding off the San Francisco Giants 7-6 for their 18th win in 21 games this month
3:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
Duvall caps Braves' comeback in 9th for 4-3 win over Giants
Adam Duvall’s run-scoring single capped Atlanta’s three-run rally in the ninth as the Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3
11:33PM ( 17 hours ago )
Max Fried beats Braves in arbitration, gets $6.85 million
Pitcher Max Fried won his salary arbitration case against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves and was given his $6.85 million request instead of the team’s $6.6 million offer
6:01PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Live updates | American Medical Association weighs in
The American Medical Association has called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling a “harmful and deeply disturbing decision
4:38PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Colombia: president-elect looks to build governing coalition
President-elect Gustavo Petro, who has vowed to lift up Colombia’s poor and disenfranchised, has won the support of an influential party of the establishment as he tries to build a majority coalition in Congress
4:33PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Feds search Trump-era official's home, subpoena GOP leaders
Federal agents have searched the Virginia home of a Trump-era Justice Department official who championed efforts by President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election
4:33PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Settlement would forgive $6B for defrauded college students
The Biden administration has agreed to cancel $6 billion in student loans for about 200,000 former students who say they were defrauded by their colleges
4:31PM ( 33 minutes ago )
European Union makes Ukraine a candidate for EU membership
The European Union’s leaders have agreed to make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, setting in motion a potentially yearslong process that could draw the embattled country further away from Russia’s influence and bind it more closely to the West
4:18PM ( 46 minutes ago )