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Governor Brian Kemp wants to tighten up the state's citizen's arrest law

Governor Kemp's proposed bill would clarify when a citizen, business owner, or law enforcement officer may detain individuals and turn them over to authorities.

DUBLIN, Ga. — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he wants to tighten up the state's citizen's arrest law.

That comes almost a year after the Ahmaud Arbery case, when an attempted citizen's arrest turned into the fatal shooting of Arbery as he jogged through a neighborhood.

Some local law enforcement officers say a change is long overdue.

Two men face murder charges in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. 

Dublin Chief of Police Tim Chatman said, "Do it the right way. Let's do it the right way -- not only hold the citizens accountable, but we have to be held accountable for when we don't do it right."

Chatman also said, "I think what the governor did is what most law enforcement would want and what the citizen's would want as well."

Chatman praised Governor Kemp for his work on the citizen's arrest law. 

Under Georgia law, you can arrest someone only if you've actually witnessed a crime. 

Kemp's proposed bill would clarify when a citizen, business owner, or law enforcement officer may detain individuals and turn them over to authorities.

Governor Kemp said, "This bill repeals the current Civil War-era statute to prevent the terrible consequences of a vague and outdated law."

So what is the citizen's arrest?

Chatman said, "When a citizen or a police officer stops someone's movement that can be constituted as an arrest."

Byron Chief of Police Wesley Cannon says the current law is too vague.

Cannon said, "This law gives some dos and don'ts. I believe the old law was written back in the 1800s, so it was really vague."

Baldwin County Sheriff's Captain Brad King says right now acting on your own can make a tense situation dangerous. 

Baldwin County Police Captain Brad King said, "There are a number of pitfalls that you could fail into as a private citizen attempting to make an arrest."

That's being said, they all say it's just best to call law enforcement if you see a crime, instead of acting yourself.

The governor's proposal must pass through both the House and Senate. It would repeal the current arrest law passed in 1863.