Gov. Nathan Deal announced a law enforcement reform package that includes a 20 percent pay raise for more than 3,300 state law enforcement officers and a multi-phase overhaul of officer training and certification courses. The pay increase is effective Jan. 1, 2017, and represents more than $78 million in state funding in the amended FY17 budget and the FY18 budget.
“Since our founding, one of government’s primary roles is the protection of its people,” said Deal. “While the responsibility to provide for the public’s safety has not changed over the course of time, the demands of fulfilling this fundamental obligation have changed and grown. We ask our law enforcement personnel of all levels and ranks to do a very difficult job, one that requires great skill, long suffering, and dedication of purpose. It is incumbent upon the government to recruit and retain the best and brightest, while equipping them with the training and resources they require. They deserve our unwavering commitment and support.
“To that end, I’ve crafted a law enforcement proposal consisting of two major components: more pay for our state officers who risk their lives every day, and changes to how we train both state and local authorities who have the power to make arrests. In crafting these reforms, I sought recommendations and input from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and the Peace Officer Standards (GPSTC) and Training Center (POST). I’m thankful for their efforts and those of our public safety agencies and boards as these changes are implemented.”
The funding component of the proposal includes:
- More than 3,300 state law enforcement officers will receive a 20 percent pay raise next January. This represents $78,990,735 in funding in the amended FY17 budget and the FY18 budget.
The multi-phase training overhaul includes:
- Phase 1—Increasing continuing education training and certification courses
- This phase includes expanding the list of specific training courses required by POST as part of the continuing education requirements for sworn peace officers. This includes training on use of force, the concepts of effective policing and the importance of building positive community relations.
- Phase 2—Streamlining and expansion of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)
- This nationally standardized program is designed to equip officers with the knowledge and skill to approach crises involving individuals with mental illness. It is currently administered by the GBI, which has trained about 9,500 state and local law enforcement officers. Phase 2 involves the transfer of CIT to GPSTC, streamlining training requirements and increasing access to more than 57,000 state and local officers.
- Phase 3—Creation of a task force to review the current Basic Law Enforcement Officer Training Course
- The task force will be comprised of law enforcement officers, community leaders and elected officials charged with reviewing current law enforcement training standards and providing recommendations for improvement.