“Georgia becomes first state to require election law training for police”

The Guardian:

Georgia is the first state to mandate training in election law in order for police to become state certified, a reflection of lessons learned in the aftermath of the state’s 2020 race.

The new requirement for police trainees to take a one-hour course on election laws is meant to keep officers from trying to guess at how to enforce the law on election day, said Chris Harvey, deputy executive director for the Georgia peace officer standards and training council.

“Cops just really need to know what are some of the basic ground rules around elections and voting, because they’re very specific,” he said. “In my opinion, the worst thing that can happen is if you have a partisan person or partisan force trying to manipulate the police, and have the police not have any idea what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Harvey’s long career as a police officer took a side road in 2015 when then-secretary of state, Brian Kemp, named him Georgia’s director of elections. He carried the experience from 2020 into his recent appointment to the state body certifying police officers.

“Having seen the threats to election officials, having seen things happen to polling places, having myself been threatened during the 2020 election, I know that … it was likely that election officials were going to be calling the police,” Harvey said.

In the worst case, police may have to respond to threats of violence or actual violence at a polling place. More likely, they will be responding to a cranky individual who refuses to take direction from a poll officer who has asked someone to turn a campaign shirt inside out or refuses to get off their phone in the polling place.

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