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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
Georgia has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. In September 2020, the Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Georgia General Assembly to ban no-knock warrants. HB 56, introduced at the end of 202, endeavored to limit the use of no-knock warrants. The bill died in committee
Georgia has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.
Pending Legislation: HB 16, a.k.a. the "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" was introduced in January 2021 to limit the purchase of federal military equipment like controlled firearms, silencers, and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.
Military style training
Georgia has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. Locally, the Atlanta Dept. received Blue Courage lleadership training in March 2019
Georgia has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
Georgia has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture. State law dictates that any money forfeited by any agency must be turned into a general fund where the state can re-appropriate it for different programs and functions. This law, however, only applies to state agencies and not local law enforcement. House Bill 1086 proposed in March would have allowed civil forfeiture only in cases of criminal conviction. This bill was tabled and died at the end of the session.
HB 19, introduced in January 2021, increases the burden of proof required to seize an individual's assets.
Georgia has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests. In fact, ticket fines and forfeitures account for over 50% of the general fund revenue in Georgia.
Cost of misconduct
Georgia has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.
Georgia has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering.
Pending Legislation: HB 12, introduced in January 2021, decriminalizes possession of small quantities of marijuana.
Objective justification for stops
Georgia has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop.
Reporting stop details
Police Chief Law requires an agency to write a written report whenever an officer a) discharges a firearm b) takes an action that results in, or is alleged to have resulted in, the death of another person c) applies force through the use of lethal or less lethal weapons and d) applies weaponless physical force at a level defined by the agency.
Pending Legislation: HB 18, also introduced in January 2021 by Senator Sandra Scott, requires that after making contact, all law enforcement officers must report the demographic of the suspect, reason for the stop, duration of the stop, and resultant action.
Reckless civil rights violation
Georgia has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
Georgia has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct, although Atlanta has a citizen's review board to keep officer's accountable.
Georgia has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
Georgia has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Council has approved police officer curriculum training provided by Georgia's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program. However, this program still focuses on dispatching officers, not mental health professionals, to crisis situations.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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