State law enforcement impact locally, over 3K traffic stops since Jan. 2022

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 3:35 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2023 at 11:23 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There have been thousands of arrests in Columbus since January of 2022 as a result of state level law enforcement agencies working in the city.

Governor Brian Kemp spoke with WTVM’s Ben Stanfield about the work being done on the streets - and the impact it is leaving behind.

Governor Kemp took time Thursday morning to applaud efforts at the state level to suppress crime in the metropolitan areas of the state.

Columbus is a part of those efforts and the governor broke down the stats from the work.

“In Columbus, 1,911 arrests, 144 DUIs, 71 wanted persons taken off the streets,” said Governor Kemp. “You can see we’re making a big effort when the locals need us.”

This work is being accomplished through newer legislation that started Georgia’s gang prosecution unit.

“One of my main priorities, if you remember in the State of the State address, was when I said ‘When you come after our children, we’re going to come after you’ in regards to gang recruitment efforts. Certainly, we’ve been hearing that from our educators,” said Gov. Kemp. “Not only in our high schools, but down to our middle and elementary schools. So this year we passed senate Bill 44 and I want to thank members of the general assembly for their strong support on that piece of legislation.”

In August of 2021 - the record year for homicides in the city of Columbus - 1asked Governor Kemp if Columbus law enforcement would see assistance from the state level.

”I asked him specifically about Columbus. With surging homicide rates for the second year in a row - could this area see that same level of assistance from state law enforcement.

“We’ll work with any local governments to fight crime. That’s what I ran on, going after street gangs and drug cartels, and we created the gang task force in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,” said Gov. Kemp. “We continue to work with all of the locals that ask us for help, and we’ll certainly do that with Columbus and Muscogee County.”

Governor Kemp, Thursday morning, mentioned that Mayor Skip Henderson initiated contact with the state for help. Not long after I asked that question.

This work that has seen thousands of law enforcement interactions in the community started in January of 2022 - and will likely continue well into the future.

“You know, we got involved in Columbus because the mayor reached out,” said Governor Kemp. “He was reading about the crime suppression unit and efforts and success that we were seeing in Atlanta working with the city of Atlanta and a lot of other metro police agencies and state agencies. They asked for help and we were glad to do that.”

The governor added in his remarks this morning that public safety across the state is one of his top priorities and he’ll continue to offer support to communities that ask for the help.