White woman with tan jacket and brown glasses, speaking into microphone
In this Feb. 10, 2022 screenshot, Senator Kay Kirkpatrick presents SB 358 to the Senate Floor Session. (Georgia General Assembly)

Georgia lawmakers are hoping to lower the barrier for veterans to enter law enforcement careers by offering tuition-free training. 

The state Senate voted unanimously to authorize the Georgia Public Safety Training Center to reimburse tuition for active duty, retired or honorably discharged members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are attending basic law enforcement training. The bill passed last week and now goes to the House. 

Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, chair of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee,  sponsored the bill to “smooth the path for veterans coming out of military service” and “ease their way into law enforcement training,” she told the Senate Public Safety Committee during a hearing. 

Kirkpatrick, a Republican from Marietta, said she also hopes covering tuition will encourage recent veterans to fill job openings. 

“We have vacancies in many of our law enforcement agencies,” Kirkpatrick said. “By making it easier for interested veterans to access these training programs, we can keep more of these highly trained individuals in our state.” 

Tuition for basic law enforcement training at the center is $3,093 plus $700 in fees, although the charges generally are waived for those who already have a law enforcement job.

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