Abrams antes up with ‘community safety plan’

More community-oriented policing. Stricter enforcement of sex trafficking laws. Additional training for school resource officers.

Democrat Stacey Abrams rolled out a “community safety plan” this week that leans toward preventing crimes before they happen to pair with her pledge to continue Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice initiative.

Each of the ideas has already emerged at one time or another since she jumped in the race last year. But she packaged them together during a Thursday campaign stop in Savannah as Republican Brian Kemp increases his focus on law-and-order issues.

Kemp has spent the better part of the last two weeks highlighting his plan to combat gang violence, pummeling her over skipping a vote on a sex offender crackdown and unveiling a $90 million school safety initiative.

The Georgia GOP chipped in, too, with a TV attack featuring a mother assailing her decision not to vote for the crackdown, which Abrams said she opposed because it limited judges' discretion.

Caption
Poll conducted by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Abrams' plan is laced with reminders of her voting record on law-and-order issues and her work on the governor's criminal justice council. She's pitching herself as the heir to that legacy even as Deal took a subtle jab at Kemp, suggesting his anti-gang crackdown needed to include a robust education element.

On crime, she said she'll back "living wages" for law enforcement officers and state grants to local departments that support community policing initiatives. She also would push a Safe Harbor Commission and Fund designed to help sex trafficking victims.

As for school safety, she wants to boost early interventions for potentially troubled students and expand access for training for school resource officers – while opposing efforts to arm teachers. She also wants to incorporate more anti-bullying training into digital coursework.

Another portion of the plan calls for a panel of victims, advocates and legislators to hash out a way to prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from accessing weapons and expand the network of shelters designed for survivors of assault.

The final segment of the plan would let family members or law enforcement petition a judge to temporarily restrict firearms access to a relative facing mental health challenges that put them at risk of endangering themselves or others.

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks