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Mayor Girtz announces public safety funding; denies Athens is a ‘sanctuary city’

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz

WUGA | By Martin Matheny

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz announced that he would be pushing county commissioners for additional funding for public safety in the wake of the murder of Laken Riley on the University of Georgia campus last week.

Speaking at a Wednesday morning press conference, Girtz said he wants local officials to invest more than $500,000 into new public safety initiatives.

"Among the first things you're going to be seeing rolling out for endorsement by the Commission this Tuesday is advancing our real time crime center," Girtz said. "We took the first step toward this real time crime center in the last budget year, and we're going to be advancing this to completion, including making sure that we tie all our publicly accessible cameras and the private cameras that have engaged with us into a unified system and staffing that real time crime center on each shift so that we can rapidly pursue cases."

The expansion would come with a price tag of $300,000. Girtz also said he wanted Athens-Clarke County to invest in heavy-duty surveillance trailers to operate during major events, like UGA football games.

Also on Girtz’s list is $100,000 for additional cameras in high traffic and high crime areas and the purchase of all-terrain vehicles to help patrol hiking and biking trails in the county.

Girtz also highlighted several measures taken in recent years, including the creation of the real-time crime center he wants to expand, as well as improved ballistics identification capacity.

"For many years, we'd have to send off ballistics to the state," he said. "Sometimes it would take us days or weeks to get back good information.

We have that in-house now, and so we have been able to actively and successfully pursue many dozens of cases because of having this right here on this campus."

A police officer tries to quiet a protester who continually shouted down the mayor at the press conference

Girtz was interrupted several times by a small but vocal group of protesters, especially when he addressed whether Athens was a “sanctuary city,” a charge the mayor denied.

Protesters hold up signs at a press conference by Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz on Feb. 28, 2024.

"There's been no legislation from this government that has created sanctuary city status," he said.

Protesters distributed a copy of an August 2019 resolution passed by ACC lawmakers and signed by Girtz which says in part that “all people, including those without documentation” should feel safe interacting with local government and law enforcement. Girtz defended that measure.

"What we wish to do is dignify everybody's humanity," he said.

The words “sanctuary city” do not appear in the 2019 resolution.

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I am not convinced that any of these measures would have prevented the savage murder of Laken Riley, but at least he his consistent, as with most of his pandering , nothing good comes from it. However, let's not forget that it could have been prevented. For the mayor and the voters that support him, the death of this beautiful human being is simply collateral damage for the cause they all support. His ability to fake sincerity is not to be ignored.


Liberals are focused on restorative justice as well as "normalizing" criminal activity. Minority-on-minority crime does not cause the mayor (or liberals) to hold a press conference. I guess that particular criminal activity is culturally normal.

Now we have a white victim, a little too close to home, and the mayor wants to re-fund the police. Where are the "de-fund" activists?

Where is Al Sharpton? Where is LaBron? Spike Lee, are you coming to Athens?


Slippery little devil...



He never said her name. Why was he there.


Did you run this by your Police Board?

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