Nathan Deal expands proposal to give raises to state cops

 Gov. Nathan Deal proposed Thursday a 20 percent pay hike for state law enforcement officers and an overhaul of police training to include more courses on use of force and community policing. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal at the unveiling of his proposal in September for a 20 percent pay hike for state law enforcement officers and an overhaul of police training to include more courses on use of force and community policing. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal is rolling out the second phase of his plan to give state law enforcement officers pay hikes.

The governor announced earlier this month a $79 million plan to give 20 percent pay raises to more than 3,300 state law enforcement officers. But several hundred state employees who wear guns, badges and vests were left out of the initial plan.

Deal spokeswoman Jen Talaber Ryan said part two of the proposal would increase the pay for about 300 additional officers by an average of 10 percent, costing an estimated $2 million a year. It would include criminal investigators from 16 more state agencies, including the Department of Revenue, the Department of Driver Services the Forestry Commission and the Secretary of State’s office.

The budget boost would require legislative approval, and leaders from both chambers have already endorsed the overall idea.

“We increased the pay for our law enforcement officers,” Deal told Channel 2 Action News in an emotional interview. “I consider that to be doing my job.”

The initial plan was embraced by many law enforcement officials, though some local sheriffs and deputies feel left out of the pay hikes.

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This is worth watching again. And again.

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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus marched to the steps of the Department of Justice in Washington on Thursday, demanding that the Obama administration “aggressively pursue investigations, indictments and prosecutions” of police officers who harm unarmed black people.

The group delivered a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch that calls for the Justice Department, through the Office of Civil Rights, to “put an end to what appears to be the targeting and profiling of African Americans that result in their death.”

From the letter, which was signed by all four of Georgia’s Democratic congressman, who are all members of the group:

“Officers enjoy the presumption of credibility, whereas victims endure the presumption of guilt. For too long this dynamic has helped to protect law enforcement officers from being brought to justice. We demand thorough investigations in a reasonable time frame and we will not continue to ask our people to be patient without any hope for change.”

Georgia Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis were on hand on Thursday. Lewis said law enforcement “must respect the dignity and worth of every human being.”

The Congressional Black Caucus’ march came hours after another night of demonstrations in Charlotte following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who cops said was brandishing a gun when they fatally shot him. Witnesses, however, said Scott was holding a book, not a gun.

Congressional leaders established a task force earlier this summer to examine police and community relations, but the group is not expected to produce legislation ahead of the elections.

The Black Caucus press conference came the same day that Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said there is too much talk of “institutional racism and institutional bias” when it comes to the police, per Politico.

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We told you earlier this week about a bill being shepherded through the House by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, that seeks to add protections to the country’s voting systems.

Among the proposed changes is requiring the Department of Homeland Security to designate voting systems as critical infrastructure, a similar classification to the electric grid or the public’s water supply.

But nearly two-thirds of a group of digital security and privacy experts assembled by the Christian Science Monitor says the classification won’t do much to protect the country’s voting system from hackers.

Read more here. 

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Johnny Isakson paid tribute to retiring GOP colleague Lynn Westmoreland on the Senate floor yesterday.

Watch it here:

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…Because it’s Friday and we’ve all had a long week. 


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