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Gov. Kemp signs new bills to crack down on crime in Georgia

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed seven new bills into law on Monday surrounded by dozens of law enforcement officials.

ATLANTA — Surrounded by dozens of law enforcement officers from across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp signed seven bills into law on Monday all focused on supporting the recruitment of officers and creating tougher punishments for criminals.

“Public safety is the number one responsibility of the government….and the rise in crime that we’ve been facing in many of our communities across Georgia is unacceptable to me, it’s unacceptable to law enforcement, and it’s certainly unacceptable to the people we serve," Kemp explained.

The governor also added that criminals in Georgia should be on notice, saying "they will find nothing but trouble and punishment in our state.”

One of the new laws, House Bill 1134, received overwhelming support from both the house and senate, and will allow state law enforcement officers to have more authority in helping local jurisdictions combat gang activity.

National policing expert Dr. Cedric Alexander, who used to oversee Dekalb County's Police Department, said state level support is vital to truly ridding communities of gang activity.

“It’s a win for the community in the fact that it goes after these gang members and their associations, and it’s a win for local law enforcement and DA offices that are very much overwhelmed in cities like Atlanta and across the country," he said.

Another law, House Bill 1216 toughens the punishment for street racing and fleeing from officers. Then there is Senate Bill 358, which will reimburse service members for tuition if they enroll in law enforcement training.

Dr. Alexander said that while this kind of incentive is competitive and appealing; what makes it more unique is its ability to attract quality officers which he says will in turn create stronger policing agencies.

“Everybody wants solid, ethical, professional and constitutional law enforcement – we got to be able to back good policing and policing that is supervised and led by those that are taking with it a great deal of responsibility," explains Dr. Alexander.

Additional laws signed into place will crack down on convicted felons caught with guns, prohibit convicted sex offenders from using social media, and offer additional support to law enforcement through pay increases and enhanced retirement funds.

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