Reflecting on 2023, we see that Georgia outperformed most other states in terms of business growth, industrial growth, a vibrant economy and, compared to other states, low overall crime. It really is a great place to live and work, but in today’s fast-paced world we cannot rest on our laurels in a new year.

The beginning of the new year is an appropriate time to think of ways we can improve and rise above our weaknesses for a better 2024. In this regard, consider the following wish list for better public safety and criminal justice:

1. “Cop City” – Wish the general public would recognize that the investment to construct a public safety training center is a positive initiative and advancement for all of Georgia. Non-Georgia residents who try to oppose and undermine it should be shown the way out of Georgia.

2. Prosecutors – Wish that no Georgia prosecutor would ever commence a prosecution against anyone for anything less than true probable cause proving they committed a real crime. There is no room for partisan or rogue politics in an impartial criminal justice system.

3. Police Training – Wish the state government would realize that vital public safety in Georgia is best served by better trained and educated police officers and sheriff’s deputies statewide. The state should allocate a level of funding for law enforcement training at least equal to the mid-range of other states in funding they provide for law enforcement training.

4. Schools – Wish Georgia school boards would abandon notions of Critical Race Theory and “Diversity, Inclusion and Equity”and focus on teaching the basic life skills and education children of all colors and economic backgrounds need to succeed in life. There is a lot to be said for the 3 Rs and equal opportunity.

5. Universities – Wish all Georgia colleges and universities would teach students how to think and speak, as opposed to what to think and speak. Also, stick to imparting practical knowledge in subjects like medicine, law, and engineering and not political ideology.

6. Activism – Wish in the upcoming election cycle no one would exploit or exaggerate any difficult police incident for political purposes or headlines. We should properly hold police accountable for their actions, but not allow anyone to use the police as political pawns. Fairness goes two ways.

7. General Assembly – Wish the Georgia General Assembly would allocate the levels of funds and positions needed by state agencies and the police to adequately protect Georgia’s senior citizens from the cruelty of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

8. Georgia Residents – Wish Georgians of all races, creeds and genders would reject wokeism, racism, gender identity and any issue that intentionally divides groups of people and promotes hate or bias in any of their ugly forms.

9. Elected Officials (All) – Wish all local, state, and federal elected officials would embrace the value of reasonable compromise on matters of disagreement and learn to treat each other and the public with dignity, civility and respect. Georgians deserve at least that.

10. Health and Human Services – Wish all Georgians would find it in their hearts to work together to find practical bipartisan strategic solutions to homelessness, behavioral mental illness and drug addiction. Even well written grants without enforced deliverables equal lives lost.

11. Above All – Wish that all Georgians would remember we are one people and one community under God. Georgia is a better, more civil, place to the extent we treat each other with kindness, dignity and reverence throughout the coming year.

A very old proverb goes: “If wishes were horses – beggars would ride,” meaning wishes do not come true by themselves. We must take some action to make them become reality. If we want Georgia to become a better safer place, we must commit to stop acquiescing to things that are harmful to Georgia’s well-being and common sense. We all need to and work together to build a better safer tomorrow for Georgia.

Dan Flynn served as the police chief of both Savannah and Marietta during his law enforcement career.


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