GLENNVILLE, GA (WTOC) - Thursday marks Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Georgia.
Over 1,000 officers from all around the state gathered in Glennville to talk about priorities. Governor Brian Kemp and other state leaders were in attendance.
Organizers started the dinner as a chance for officers to get together, but it’s become an opportunity for supporters to show their gratitude for those who serve and protect.
“As somebody who’s worked with a lot of law enforcement over the last decade, and certainly working with a lot of them now as governor, I’m just so proud of what our men and women do every day to keep our families safe,” Governor Kemp said.
Almost all of them deal with a growing problem in Georgia: gangs. The takeaway message from the day was that they must focus on the problem and work together. No matter the uniform they wear, gangs have become a common focus. The head of Georgia State Patrol says a simple traffic stop often reveals more.
“Let’s face it, gangs are an element of organized crime, so if we just focus on the individual crime and don’t focus on the support mechanism behind it, we’re missing the bigger picture,” said Col. Mark McDonough, GSP.
Leaders of the GBI say they’ll broaden their approach to many of their investigations.
“We’re not going to be just working drug cases. We’re not just going to be working homicides. We’re going to be looking to see if there’s a gang nexus with that,” said Assistant Director, Dan Kirk, GBI.
The head of Georgia’s prison system says they see gang activity even behind bars.
“My goal is to cut down the amount of contraband coming into the prison, and that limits the scope of their power inside,” said Commissioner Timothy Ward, Georgia Department of Corrections.
Each said it will take cooperation and sharing information to fight the problem.