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Kemp pushes on school safety; Abrams seeks officer pay hikes

Kemp pushes on school safety; Abrams seeks officer pay hikes

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams continued their bidding war on public safety Thursday, with Abrams proposing a big pay increase for state police and prison guards, while the Republican incumbent said Georgia will spend at least $8 million more on school safety after a Texas shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

Each is attacking the other on safety and violence, with Kemp saying Abrams has “championed a far-left agenda that puts officers at risk and families in danger,“ while a group of parents at a Democratic news conference slammed Kemp for loosening restrictions on guns in Georgia, alleging he puts their children more at risk.

Kemp and Abrams were already jousting on crime, guns and safety, with Abrams saying last week that she wants to roll back a series of gun rights expansions and focus less on punitive measures in Georgia.

Abrams countered the Republican narrative that she wants to defund the police by saying she wants to increase funding, saying she would pay state trooper cadets, prison guards and juvenile justice guards $50,000 a year. Now, a trooper cadet starts at just more than $40,000, an adult correctional officer at $38,040 and a juvenile correctional officer at $37,730. Abrams said it would take $182 million over two years to boost pay.

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“We can improve recruitment and retention efforts while also improving community interactions with those who keep us safe,” Abrams said in a statement. The plan was first reported by Axios.

Kemp announced Thursday at a school safety conference in Columbus that the state is giving $2.6 million to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth to increase training capacity and classes available to school resource officers. He said the state will used $1 million…

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