BURKE COUNTY, GA ( WJBF) — A bill sponsored by Senator Raphael Warnock could mean more funding for smaller law enforcement agencies like Burke County.
“It’s huge for us because it helps shoulder the burden on local taxpayers to provide funding to hire, train and retain the best qualified officers,” Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said.
The Invest to Protect Act would create a 50-million-dollar grant program.
It would allow agencies with less than 200 officers to receive funding for training, equipment, mental health support and officer recruitment and retention.
Sheriff Williams said the funding would be big help in hiring more deputies.
“It’s difficult to get people to come into this profession. There’s a huge disconnect between police and community. This offers some opportunities to bring police and community together,” Williams said.
In other rural parts of Georgia like Screven County it would also be a big help.
“The federal funding would help us tremendously because the county we just flat don’t have the money. I mean there’s no other way to describe it,” Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile said.
Sheriff Kile said the funding could help hire more deputies to cover more parts of the county and cut down on response times.
“We’re extremely limited on the number of deputies we have for financial reasons. We’re a small county and we’ve got just a touch of 14,000 people in the county, but we’re the 10th biggest county in Georgia and sometimes we’re 20 – 25 miles away from a call,” Kile said.
The bill is up for a vote in the Senate.