Georgia’s Kemp plans to spend $100M in federal COVID-19 relief funds for law enforcement

The Center Square) — Another day, another dollar dispersed.

Georgia’s governor is again turning to federal COVID-19 relief money to provide grants to another constituency. This time, he plans to give $100 million to law enforcement agencies statewide.

Gov. Brian Kemp is turning to the American Rescue Plan and the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to dole out grants of up to $1.5 million per award. Awardees can put the money toward a range of initiatives, from law enforcement staffing to investing in technology and equipment to respond to the uptick in gun violence.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen an unacceptable increase in violent crime all across the state, fueled by the pandemic and misguided efforts like the ‘Defund the Police’ movement which demoralized our hardworking law enforcement officers,” Kemp, a Republican, said in an announcement. “To counter their harmful impact, we must continue to invest in our brave men and women in uniform.”

The governor’s office announced the grants the same day Kemp’s campaign announced the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police endorsed him for re-election in November against Democrat Stacey Abrams, a rematch of 2018.

Leading up to November’s election, Kemp has trickled out announcements about disbursements of federal dollars. Democrats have blasted Kemp for bashing federal COVID relief money while using it to fund priorities and claiming credit.

“Once again, Brian Kemp is turning to funds provided by Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, which he called ‘a slap in the face for hardworking Georgians’ and urged Georgia’s U.S. Senators to oppose,” Max Flugrath, spokesman for the Democratic party of Georgia, said in a statement. “While Kemp blasts Biden, he’s quick to spend the funds provided by the President’s efforts and brag about the projects on the campaign trail — hypocrisy at its finest.”

The state plans to open the grant application process on Sept. 1.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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