by Senator Buddy Carter
ATLANTA (July 31, 2013) – During the next weeks, communities across Georgia will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime.”
National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a non- profit organization devoted to building safer communities by developing and promoting various crime prevention programs including neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies and state and regional crime prevention associations.
The first National Night Out took place on Tuesday, August 7th, 1984, with 2.5 million Americans taking part across 400 communities in 23 states.
This year, over 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide are expected to participate.
National Night Out is celebrated to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch and other anti-crime efforts. It intensifies neighborhood spirit, strengthens police-community partnerships and lets criminals know that neighborhoods are active and ready to fight back.
Events to celebrate National Night Out include activities such as cookouts, visits from local police and sheriff departments, block parties, parades, exhibits, flashlight walks, and full blown festivals.
In Georgia, we have a history of dedication to public safety and are blessed with some of the finest public safety personnel in the country.
Established in 1732, the Chatham County (Savannah) sheriff’s office is believed to be the oldest law enforcement agency in Georgia and one of the oldest in the nation.
There are 159 elected sheriffs in our state, one for each county. There are 14,764 sworn officers in Georgia and 19,161 employees of the sheriffs’ offices.
There are also 508 police departments in Georgia as well as 30 state prisons, one boot camp, 12 state transitional centers, 24 county correctional institutions, 13 probation detention centers, two diversion centers and five pre-release centers.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides expertise and investigative services to jurisdictions that need support ranging from aviation to SWAT teams. Localities are not charged for these services since DPS is a support service. Approximately 100 of 159 counties lack SWAT teams.
Because of the increasing number of calls to service and the rapidly growing population, DPS uses the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) within the field offices and services program to manage the current infrastructure and reduce response time for traffic incidents.
The GSP employs around 800 officers while the DPS has 1735 employees.
The state of Georgia is committed to public safety and crime prevention programs. As Chairman of the Senate and House Public Safety committees, we encourage you to participate in a National Night Out event in your community to show our public safety personnel that we support them and show criminals that we are serious about crime.
Sen. Buddy Carter serves as the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He represents the 1st Senate District which includes Bryan County and portions of Chatham and Liberty counties. Sen. Carter can be reached at 421-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA, 30334. His Capitol office number is 404-656-5109. You can connect with him on Facebook at Facebook.com/buddycarterga or follow him on Twitter @Buddy_Carter.