WTVM Editorial 3/10/17: Back the badge

(WTVM) – In 2016, Georgia lost 10 police officers in the line of duty, including the two officers in Americus who happened to be best friends, responding to the same deadly crime scene.

Officers Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith were gunned down in December and their deaths added to the urgency of state lawmakers, working to get four bills to the Governor's desk, bills that would provide real help, protection and well deserved benefits to the officers who protect and serve us every day and the families they leave behind when tragedy strikes.

The Georgia senate has already passed bills that would increase the amount of money given the family of a fallen officer, create a commission to review officer salaries and create a special license plate inscribed with 'Back the Badge' to show police support. Another bill would impose longer prison sentences for criminals convicted of aggravated assault against an officer.

The State House is expected to vote on these important initiatives in the next two weeks.

At a time when police are under more stress and scrutiny than ever before, it's important to show support for the brave officers who run toward dangerous situations while the rest of us would most likely run for the hills.

We urge Governor Nathan Deal to sign this legislation that supports the work and legacy of police officers into law as soon as it hits his desk.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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