Buckhead could soon be home to a Georgia State Patrol satellite post aimed at increasing patrols and reducing police response times in the area following the adoption of Georgia’s 2024 fiscal year budget by the House and Senate last month. The 2024 fiscal year budget is now set to be signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp and includes $1.25 million for the establishment and operation of the satellite post, which will also serve as a base of operations for the Georgia State Patrol’s Nighthawks DUI Task Force.

The funding will allow the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) to acquire and equip the satellite post with up to 20 existing troopers.

The budget item was included in the State House’s proposed 2024 budget and passed through both chambers. In a statement announcing the line-item, Speaker of the House Jon Burns, Kemp and Lt. Gov. Burt Jones expressed their approval of the Buckhead post.

“This new state patrol office will improve the ability of our state troopers to respond to incidents along and inside the northern perimeter,” Burns said. “It will also increase the visibility of law enforcement in this densely-populated area.” Burns added the post will not supplant the Atlanta Police Department, rather it will “allow for better coordination and cooperation” between the GSP and APD.

“Funding for this new satellite post will increase resources for an area in the state where citizens have been seeking a larger law enforcement presence” Jones said. “By working together, the city, county and state can increase public safety for citizens while supporting existing efforts and initiatives.”

Kemp could still veto the Buckhead patrol post line-item from the budget, but it appears he’s unlikely to do so given he shared his support of funding the satellite location. In a statement, Kemp said the GSP post is an example of state and local partnerships at work amid the state’s demonstration it “will not tolerate crime or street gangs.”

GSP’s Potential Post Could Join Another New Local Public Safety Initiative

Crime and public safety has been a hot-button issue in Buckhead in recent years, and the new GSP patrol post is the latest in a string of initiatives to curb crime and increase law enforcement visibility. While the GSP’s post still needs approval from Kemp and for logistics — including its actual location — to be finalized, the Buckhead Safety Alliance’s subsidized patrols for the area’s commercial districts is getting underway. The patrol will include three staffed APD patrol cars to monitor commercial districts with the same policing power as the APD.

“Moving forward…there is a commitment from all the legislators who represent Buckhead to really work together with city officials, with the county…with our school board and, of course, with our residents of Buckhead to really see what we can do to continue to tackle public safety and city services,” State Sen. Jason Esteves, who represents much of Buckhead, said at the March 9 Buckhead Council of Neighborhood’s meeting.

Esteves’ comments came soon after the failure of a proposed cityhood bills for the City of Buckhead City under the Gold Dome. The bills were backed by the Buckhead City Committee, which used public safety as a rallying cry for Buckhead to form its own municipality and police force.

Other Notable Funding Within The State’s 2024 Budget

In addition to the Buckhead GSP patrol post, other notable budgetary updates await Kemp’s signature. They include a $66 million cut from the University System of Georgia’s budget while funding HOPE college scholarships at 100 percent, the original figure when the scholarship program was introduced. Teachers and state university employees could receive a $2,000 annual pay increase while state law enforcement employee salaries may increase by $4,000-$6,000. Spending for K-12 schools is set for $13.1 billion, a record figure. Overall, the state expects $32.4 billion in state revenue. The 2024 fiscal year begins July 1.