Governor speaks exclusively to Channel 2 on $83.5M public safety grants for law enforcement agencies

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp spoke only with Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. about his plan to award more than $80 million in public safety grants across the state.

“We’ve spent a lot of time, our team has going through the grants,” Kemp told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne. “Very excited about the impact that’s going to make on local communities for from a public safety perspective.”

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Winne has been digging into how some of that money will be used, including at Chamblee Police headquarters.

Chamblee police Lt. Mike Winfield says there a couple of rooms where they are considering using grant money announced by the governor to build a real-time crime center. It would integrate camera feeds from throughout the city into one centralized location.

Brookhaven Police Chief Brandon Gurley says he wants to get the hands of at-risk kids off of pistol grips and onto joysticks, using roughly $350,000 in grant money to use mobile gaming hubs as part of a plan to teach conflict resolution and interpersonal skills.

“We’re gonna use a data driven approach of where our gun-related crimes are taking place and where the youth offenders that we interact and arrest or have other interactions with – where they live,” Gurley said.

The governor’s office says Kemp has preliminarily chosen 118 qualified public safety projects throughout Georgia to receive a total of $83.5 million in Federal American Rescue Plan Act money allocated to the state.

“The money really varies on what the projects are, what the scope of them are,” Kemp told Winne.


Gurley says Brookhaven police plan to use about $1.3 million on technology, including equipment that taps into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ballistic database and also audio devices.

“We’re looking to invest in technologies that basically, its audio devices that will alert us to the sound of gunfire, without relying on a community member a victim or someone else to pick up a phone dial 911 and go through your traditional responses of calling in a crime,” he said. “We’ve found in our conversations with the community that many of our gun-related incidences are not being called into 911 and reported to us.”

Chamblee Police Chief Gary Yandura says his department plans to use some of the money announced by the governor to hire a mental health clinician.

Vicky Williams works at Brookhaven police department, Yandura’s former department.

“I am here for what ever the officers need, whether it be inhouse or in the field,” Williams told Winne.

“Do you think the presence of a mental health clinician keeps some situations from turning violent?” Winne asked.

“I do. It keeps everyone safe. It keeps the officers from having to deal with things that they’re not prepared for and the families being better about somebody being there to assist their family in need.”

The governor’s office said the preliminary nature of the awards is primarily because the projects need to meet certain grant requirements.