Georgia lawmakers advance bill to teach drivers how to behave with police

The state senate approved legislation to set up a police interaction program in the wake of high-profile brutal, deadly encounters with citizens

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On Friday, Georgia state senators passed a bill that would create a program to teach drivers how to best interact with police officers. The lawmakers passed the bill with zero debate in the chamber, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The legislation, Senate Bill 115, states that it will “provide for an instructional course or presentation educating drivers and the public on the best practices to implement when interacting with law enforcement officers.” Said courses would be created in a collaborative effort of the Department of Driver Services and the Department of Public Safety.

This bill, which passed after a 36-13 vote, comes amid backlash stemming from violent and fatal encounters occurring between citizens and state law enforcement. One of those incidents includes the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, who was killed after being approached by police officers in Atlanta for being asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks was shot three times after a physical altercation occurred during an arrest attempt.

The Georgia State Capitol is seen on January 06, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

READ MORE: Prosecutors hand off case against Atlanta officers in Rayshard Brooks death

Randy Robertson, a Republican state senator, spoke on his support of the bill and helping to forge better communication between law enforcement and citizens during traffic-related encounters.

“I feel that a strong curriculum put throughout the state will reduce a lot of violence and a lot of confusion when citizens come in contact with law enforcement officers, especially during traffic stops,” Robertson said. “I’m sure it will not only save lives but go a long way in rectifying certain issues related between law enforcement and citizen relationships.”

READ MORE: Georgia teacher faces backlash after blaming Breonna Taylor for her own death in virtual class

Efforts to improve the relationship between the police and the Georgia public have been made in the past.

In August, WTOC-TV reported that an assembly at Montgomery County High School was arranged for Georgia State Police, the county sheriff’s office and the local police to meet with juniors and seniors to discuss tips of what to do during a traffic stop.

The school’s principal, Dr. Scott Barrow, felt this was a good start to help make things easier for his students and for the public at large.

“I wanted to take that relationship and expand it even further to explain to them, educate them and let them know that they’re there to protect them and they’re also there so if you need them to come see them,” Barrow said.

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