DeKalb commission approves bonuses for public safety personnel

DeKalb police responded to a shooting on McElroy Road near Doraville that resulted critical injuries for one man who was taken to the hospital.
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DeKalb police responded to a shooting on McElroy Road near Doraville that resulted critical injuries for one man who was taken to the hospital.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

DeKalb County public safety personnel will soon get a $3,000 bonus.

The county commission approved Tuesday the one-time “protect and serve retention bonuses” previously proposed by CEO Michael Thurmond. The roughly 2,300 qualifying employees include police officers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, E-911 employees, probation officers and investigators with the medical examiner and district attorney’s offices.

The $6.2 million initiative is being funded primarily by federal American Rescue Plan funds.

ExploreWhy public safety spending is part of DeKalb's COVID-19 relief plan

“DeKalb’s public safety team is the front line of our ongoing efforts to quell violent crime in the county,” Thurmond said in a news release. “This bonus is evidence of DeKalb County’s appreciation for their selfless service, dedication and commitment to protecting and serving our residents.”

DeKalb County received a total of about $74 million from the American Rescue Plan, the pandemic-related stimulus package that President Joe Biden signed into law in April. It will receive a second installment of the same amount next year.

Thurmond has said public safety and the surge in violent crime seen in DeKalb and other jurisdictions should be treated as part of the pandemic. His spending plan for stimulus funds includes many initiatives tied to violence intervention and interruption.

“I am totally supportive of CEO Thurmond’s proposal to allocate a significant portion of our American Rescue Plan funds as bonuses to our public safety personnel,” Steve Bradshaw, the county commission’s presiding officer, said in a news release. “It is imperative that we demonstrate our support for these brave and dedicated men and women who keep us safe with more than just our words, but also with tangible action.”

Under Thurmond’s proposal for spending American Rescue Plan funds, non-public safety county employees would also receive $2,000 bonuses.