The annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner was held April 14 in Tattnall County, hosted by Wayne Dasher and sponsors. The annual event honors the men and women who protect and serve our communities.
In its 37th year, the dinner brings law enforcement officials from around the state. It has also become a gathering for politicians who currently hold statewide offices and those seeking office.
In attendance was Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, as well as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also attended.
Kemp said he was thrilled to come out to support the law enforcement community.
“Especially after all we’ve been through with the pandemic,” he said. “To have everybody back in person to celebrate all that these folks do every single day. They have been on the frontlines during the pandemic the whole time, putting themselves in harm’s way, like they’ve always done. And it’s just nice to be able to tell them we appreciate that.”
Kemp said his opposition for the governor’s seat, David Perdue, was completely out of line and incorrect when Perdue said the Georgia State Patrol division was no longer an elite force.
“That’s ridiculous,” he said. “It is not true. They have been there during the last three years of my administration. I could not be more proud of what they have done during civil unrest and keeping the city of Atlanta from being burned down. When others would not take action, they were there.”
He also spoke about the new open carry gun law, which he said will allow law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon without the need for an additional permit from the state government.
“It doesn’t change any of the background checks that you would go through when you lawfully purchase a firearm,” Kemp said. “You have law-abiding citizens that are having a hard time getting a concealed weapons permit over the last two years. Yet the criminals all have guns. They are not following the laws.”
Kemp recognized the late former Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles and his son, current Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles. He thanked everyone in law enforcement and the criminal justice system for all their hard work and dedication in service to their communities.
During his brief speech, Raffensperger said his office has 22 investigators and that the state recently added four Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers to his staff to ensure voting integrity in the state. He spoke about being the first Secretary of State to conduct a statewide audit to make sure only American citizens can vote in elections.
Raffensperger thanked local law enforcement. He said that during elections, officers always work hard to make sure people remain safe and secure while voting at the various polling locations.
On Monday, April 18, Kemp, joined by first lady Marty Kemp and local, state and federal leaders, signed the first military retirement income tax exemption in Georgia history, a bill that expedites licenses for military spouses, insuring they are issued within 90 days of applying; allows veterans to use their Veterans Health Identification Card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when they seek the service of a public notary; and honors the late Sen. Jack Hill by providing taxpayers an opportunity to donate all or a portion of their annual tax refunds to scholarships for disabled veterans.
“On behalf of Georgians everywhere,” Kemp said, “I want to thank you for your service to this great nation. These men and women, and others like them around our state who proudly wear a uniform, have chosen careers of service above self. They make our nation stronger, they defend our freedoms and way of life, and they make our communities better places to call home.
“So today, we are taking important steps forward in more fully recognizing and thanking them for those contributions by signing HB 1064, SB 87, SB 96 and HB 884 into law.
“Georgia is blessed to have a large number of current and former military members live in our state. In fact, Georgia has the fifth-largest military population in the country, with almost 700,000 former service members and over 101,000 military retirees currently residing here.”