SCREVEN COUNTY, GA ( WJBF) – A bill aimed at providing more funding for small law enforcement agencies could be a big help in rural counties like Screven.
“Small law enforcement agencies are not funded because the county and the city just honestly doesn’t have the money,” Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile said.
The Invest to Protect Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Raphael Warnock would provide $250 million dollars over the next five years to support smaller law enforcement agencies.
“Its focused squarely and sharply on our smaller police departments to make sure that they have what they need to provide us the care that we need,” Sen. Raphael Warnock said.
It would invest in training, equipment, mental health support and officer recruitment and retention.
“It will make for a better police department and a better trained police department,” Warnock said.
For a county like Screven, a lack of resources makes it harder to hire and keep officers.
Currently they have less than half of the full-time deputies they need — meaning deputies often go to calls alone.
“The officer is out there by himself and he’s 15 to 20 minutes away from help most of the time,” Kile said.
Getting federal funding could help the county hire more deputies and cut down on response times.
“Our response time would be cut down, probably in half,” Kile said.
The bill must pass a vote in the House before it can head to the President’s desk.