— Press Release

NEW: Stacey Abrams Introduces Second Pillar of Robust Plan to Strengthen Public Safety, Address Violent Crime and Reform Criminal Justice in Georgia

Abrams’ plan would support and invest in law enforcement and build community trust and accountability in public safety 

ATLANTA – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, introduced the second pillar of a comprehensive plan to strengthen public safety, address violent crime and reform criminal justice in Georgia. The second pillar of the plan addresses these issues by supporting and investing in law enforcement and building community trust and accountability in public safety. The plan will raise the base salary for state patrol, adult and juvenile correctional officers, and community supervision officers to approximately $50,000 annually with salary increases based on experience, improving recruitment and retention efforts. Last week, Abrams released the first pillar of her plan which focused on combating the fundamental causes of violence by reducing gun violence, decriminalizing poverty, decreasing recidivism and supporting reentry. 

“Law enforcement plays an essential role on the front lines of Georgia’s fight against violent crime. But crime happens in our neighborhoods, in our prisons and jails, and cycles back onto the streets. Georgia’s next governor must support and invest in law enforcement at every level to ensure that we build One Georgia with safe, thriving communities. By raising the base salary for state patrol, adult and juvenile correctional officers, and community supervision officers to approximately $50,000 annually, and providing direct support to local law enforcement, we can improve recruitment and retention efforts while also improving community interactions with those who keep us safe,” said Stacey Abrams. “As we address investment, we must also confront the erosion of trust in our communities. While the police are a crucial resource in deterring and responding to violent crime, they are most effective when they have the support of the community they serve. Community trust is the foundation of effective policing and as governor, I will work to fortify training standards and hold those accountable who violate the trust of our communities. By making smart choices with our budget and policies, Georgia can improve public safety without returning to failed policies or raising taxes.”

The second pillar of Abrams’ robust plan to address public safety and criminal justice has received praise from Georgians across the state who are committed to building One Georgia where all of our residents feel safe and have the opportunity to thrive:  

“The law enforcement officers who work to keep our communities safe often face difficult challenges and risky environments. Research shows that higher officer pay will lead to better officer recruitment, better officer retention, better community interactions and a safer Georgia. Stacey understands this and her public safety plan would raise the minimum wage for all state patrol, correctional officers and community supervision officers, and provide grants to enable local agencies to raise salaries to a living wage. As governor, Stacey will make sure that Georgians’ children and families are safer in their communities,” said James Williams, retired Albany Police Department officer,  Lieutenant with Dougherty County School Police Department, and Region 6 Area Vice President National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

“We need innovative and effective strategies to combat gun violence in our state. We can no longer abide by the status quo. Georgians deserve a governor who cares about their safety and will work with local prosecutors and law enforcement to protect them. Stacey’s plan will give us the resources we need to combat violent crime, hold offenders accountable, and keep our communities safe. I am proud to support Stacey’s holistic plan for how to address the issues of public safety and criminal justice in our communities,” said Dalia Racine, Douglas County District Attorney.

“As a retired Atlanta Police Homicide Detective with over 22 years of experience, too often I have seen how violent crime has plagued our communities. I’ve seen families torn apart on both sides by the consequences of violent crime. Stacey Abrams’ plan is the most robust plan I’ve seen yet that addresses violent crime reduction, gun violence, recidivism rates and criminal justice reform. Her comprehensive plan is practical, actionable, and just makes sense for a safer Georgia and a more fair and equal justice system,” said Vince Velazquez, Law Enforcement Expert.

“In order to address violent crime, a plan is needed that not only tackles its foundational causes but also introduces reform to our justice system. Stacey Abrams’ comprehensive plan addresses the causes of violent crime, encourages collaboration between law enforcement and the community, and ties in stakeholders at all levels of the criminal justice system to combat recidivism. I’m confident that this step-by-step approach will lead to safer communities not only in DeKalb County but throughout Georgia,” said Donna Coleman-Stribling, DeKalb County Solicitor General.

Stacey Abrams is the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to address violent crime and reform our criminal justice system in Georgia.

Specifically, as governor, she will:

Support and invest in law enforcement:

  • Raise base salary for state patrol, correctional officers (adult and juvenile), and community supervision officers to approximately $50,000/year and proportionate increases for those with more experience, which will improve recruitment and retention efforts to address severe staffing shortages, at a two-year cost of $91M per year. 
  • Establish a $25M state fund for direct grants to local agencies to support living wages and incentivize local housing options, rather than deferring support to the public through problematic tax credit programs that have proven uneven or insufficient in other sectors
  • Secure and regularize mental health support at every level of law enforcement, including reducing stigma and expanding self-reporting options.
  • Invest in expanded training and collaborative supports, like crisis officers who specialize in mental health and social services, leveraging funds from Medicaid expansion to reduce costs to local law enforcement.

Build community trust and accountability in public safety:

  • Develop and enforce guidelines for key police department policies that govern community relations and transparency.
  • Partner with Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Program (GA POST) to fortify training standards that address use of force, de-escalation, and crisis intervention and tie increased state funding to local department adoption of best practices.
  • Require accountability for unlawful law enforcement and correctional violence and misconduct.
  • Provide and maintain a statewide database of law enforcement officers repeatedly dismissed for violation of standards to help other law enforcement agencies make informed hiring decisions.

Read the full second part of Abrams’ plan here.