As we all know, but unfortunately are reminded of occasionally in the wake of tragedy, our law enforcement communities are often our first line of defense.
In the 159th District, our sheriff and our police departments continue to serve as our front line, protecting our way of life in the wake of pressures from the continued growth we’re seeing in our community.
That is why I’ve been proud to have had several recent opportunities to support these men and women in the 159th District and statewide.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with sheriffs from around Georgia at the annual Georgia Sheriffs’ Association meeting - men and women who represent vastly different communities around our state.
In large urban counties, they may represent hundreds of thousands of people, working closely with the county court system and local police agencies to keep their constituents safe.
In more rural areas, the sheriff and his or her team are often the only local law enforcement around, patrolling their jurisdictions and working with their communities and state leaders to stretch their resources as far as they can.
But one thing all Georgia’s sheriffs have in common is that they rely on elected leadership including the General Assembly, the governor, the attorney general, and others to work with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and local sheriffs around the state to support law enforcement.
That is why I am so proud of several efforts we have taken recently under the Gold Dome to look out for law enforcement across Georgia.
To ensure our law enforcement partners are able to focus their resources on crime, we passed HB 1013 which will improve mental health services early so that these ill individuals don’t end up on the streets for our law enforcement to have to deal with later.
We created the House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries, led by Chairman Mike Cheokas and composed of great representatives and law enforcement champions including Victor Anderson, Clint Crowe, Bill Werkhesier and Yasmine Neal.
We expanded the HOPE Career Grant to include criminal justice and law enforcement programs.
We provided service cancelable loans to active local and state law enforcement officers to pursue degrees in a criminal justice or relevant social science field.
And to help fund these and other important law enforcement initiatives, we passed the Law Enforcement Strategic Support Act, better known as the LESS Crime Act, which allows Georgians to direct their state income tax to community law enforcement foundations by providing a tax credit against the taxpayer’s income tax bill.
Exciting Public Safety News
As I previously mentioned, I was at the annual Georgia Sheriffs’ Association meeting last week. It is always a pleasure to be with the men and women that serve and protect us in so many ways, but this meeting was notably special for me as I was honored with presenting Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie as the association’s new president. Sheriff McDuffie has served Effingham County almost his entire career and there are no amount of words that can adequately show my appreciation for his service to our community.
Another hometown-hero also deserves our congratulations. Today, Lt. Christopher Rodewolt has been appointed to serve as captain and commander of Troop F. Capt. Rodewolt has 21 years of service including being an officer at the Georgia Southern University Police Department and the Newington Police Department, before joining the Georgia State Patrol. His territory encompasses sixteen counties, including I-16, I-95, Georgia Southern University, and metro-Savannah. Congratulations to both Captain Rodewolt and Sheriff McDuffie on their new leadership positions.
I am proud to serve with leaders like Gov. Kemp, Speaker Ralston, GSP Capt. Rodewolt and my local Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie and his colleagues at the Georgia Sheriff’s Association who have and will always value the contributions of our law enforcement partners.
Always remember that should you have questions, comments, or concerns about issues affecting District 159 and our region of Georgia you can always reach out to me at (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.