Senate committee approves 'Back the Badge' bill

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A bill to toughen penalties for those who attack law enforcement officers got approval from the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 160, known as the “Back the Badge” bill, passed the committee unanimously.

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In addition to implementing minimum sentencing requirements for crimes like aggravated assault on a police officer, the bill would require juveniles between 13 and 17 years old to be prosecuted in Superior Court for shooting at an officer. 

“When you go to sending them to big boy jail, then hopefully that will get the point across,” said Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese, who serves as president of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.

The bill must now go to the Senate rules committee to move forward.

Three other bills were also approved and recommended to move forward. One bill aims to addresses complaints that law enforcement officers in rural areas are undercompensated for their work. Another measure would create a special license plate that reads "Back the Badge."

Republican Sen. Greg Kirk, from Americus, sponsored three of the bills and said he hopes they send a message of support to law enforcement.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has said he supports the package of bills.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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