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Budget boosts public safety
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A look at funding for law enforcement and public safety in the budget: Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), Ga. Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement (DNR), and Pardons and Paroles

The 2009 general budget was good to the public safety and law enforcement agencies of state government. A pay package was adopted by the Legislature that addresses a salary problem for mid-career law enforcement personnel that was affecting retention. For the Department of Corrections, the starting pay was an issue that was addressed as well.

Watch for a future column examining the law enforcement and other critical job classes pay package.
Funding in 2009 general budget
Department of Public Safety
• Annualization of state troopers pay increase passed in FY08

• $1.9 million to add computer terminals for state patrol cars

• Funding for two trooper schools

• Funding for the Ga. Sheriff’s Association to provide or continue training for new sheriffs and to provide training on the Sexual Offenders Registration Act.

•  $238,366 to expand DNA testing of probationers in an attempt to solve “cold cases”

• Compaction pay increase

Department of Juvenile Justice
• The department had proposed to end the short-term placement program for juveniles. The House and Senate, listening to juvenile judges around the state, disagreed with that position and reinstituted the program and replaced most of the capital outlay funding the department needed as well.

•  $1 million for a “system of care” pilot to coordinate community-based services to children with severe emotional disorders

Department of Corrections
The Conference Committee restored most of the $20 million in cuts the department had lost in the House version of the FY09 budget.
Other funding
• $1.3 million to provide FY09 funding for five state prison expansions

• $4.6 million for the start-up and partial year funding for 768 beds in fast-track expansions at Coastal SP, Ware SP, and Hayes SP.

• $2 million to provide operating funds for a 96 bed expansion at Emanuel Probation Detention Center

• $2.08 million to provide for expected expansion of private prison beds

• Cuts $5 million by closing 395 diversion center beds

• Cuts $2.5 million by closing one probation detention center
DNR Law Enforcement
• $450,000 for 10 new DNR ranger positions

DOC   — $18.8 million for major and minor renovations and safety improvements
— $15.6 million to continue move of DOC headquarters to Forsyth and Monroe County

GBI — $200,000 to design and construct bomb trucks

DJJ — $17 million for renovations and expansions

DPS — $500,000 to replace the burn building at the Ga. Fire Academy
Legislation — public safety and law enforcement
SB 350 — Increases penalty for driving without a license; limits nolo contender to once for driving without a license within five years; also nationality must be checked under this legislation.

SB 430 — Authorizes GBI to get DNA sample from suspects previously convicted

SB 437 — Allows “kit cars” to be titled and issued tags

HB 77 — begins registration and regulation of “red light” cameras; requires that a safety need must be established before allowing cameras at an intersection, requires national standards be met on such issues as caution light length; allows complaint process through DOT

SB 1 — revises registered sex offenders law giving a landowner on the registry some rights of residency and allows for some employment within the restricted distances
The 2009 general budget and all legislation are both subject to line item veto by the governor.