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Quartet of law enforcement bills pass Ga. Senate
Legislation aimed at retention, boosting benefits
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Patrol officer Bret Sweeney files reports at the Oakwood Police Department in Oakwood, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. - photo by David Barnes

Four bills aimed at helping local law enforcement agencies with retention and benefits passed the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bills 366, 367, 368 and 369 were sent to the House of Representatives for a first reading.

The first bill would require local governments to perform wage studies for their law enforcement agencies and establish pay scales. The second bill would give support to “families of fallen officers by allowing indemnification funds to be paid to an estate,” according to the Georgia Senate Press Office.

The third bill would provide technical support and assistance to law enforcement agencies on issues such as “equipment, grant funding, operations, training or other official local agency needs,” according to the bill.

The last bill would take $5 of each fee “collected prior to adjudication of guilt for purposes of pretrial diversion” on criminal and quasi-criminal cases and put that money in the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, according to the bill.

Gainesville Police Chief Carol Martin previously told The Times that agencies for years have requested more funding to the annuity and benefit fund. 

The benefit fund is a retirement plan in which leaders have encouraged younger officers to enroll because it is transferable from agency to agency, Martin said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle co-chaired the Compensation of Police and Sheriffs Task Force, a group of municipal and county government officials that gave a list of recommendations on strengthening local law enforcement agencies.

“We’re requiring these individuals to protect us, to keep us safe, to patrol and to put themselves in harm’s way, and as a result of that, they’re putting their lives on the line each and every day ... It’s incumbent upon, I think, everyone to ensure that these individuals can take care of their families,” Cagle told The Times in January.

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