2021 Georgia Code
Title 24 - Evidence
Chapter 5 - Privileges
§ 24-5-510. Privileged Communications Between Law Enforcement Officers and Peer Counselors

Universal Citation: GA Code § 24-5-510 (2021)
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Client" means a public safety officer.
    2. "Peer counselor" means:
      1. An employee of the Office of Public Safety Support within the Department of Public Safety; or
      2. An individual who is certified by the support coordinator of the Office of Public Safety Support within the Department of Public Safety pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 35-2-163 who is an employee of a public entity that employs public safety officers and who is designated by the executive head of such public entity.
    3. "Public entity" shall have the same meaning as provided for in Code Section 35-2-160.
    4. "Public safety officer" means a peace officer, correctional officer, emergency health worker, firefighter, highway emergency response operator, jail officer, juvenile correctional officer, probation officer, or emergency services dispatcher.
  2. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, communications between a client and a peer counselor shall be privileged.A peer counselor shall not disclose any such communications made to him or her and shall not be competent or compellable to testify with reference to any such communications in any court.
  3. The privilege created by subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply when:
    1. The disclosure is authorized by the client, or if the client is deceased, by his or her executor or administrator, and if an executor or administrator is not appointed, by the client's next of kin;
    2. Compelled by court order;
    3. The peer counselor was an initial responding public safety officer, witness, or party to an act that is the subject of the counseling;
    4. The communication was made when the peer counselor was not performing official duties; or
    5. The client is charged with a crime.
  4. The privilege created by this Code section shall not be grounds to fail to comply with mandatory reporting requirements as set forth in Code Section 19-7-5 or Chapter 5 of Title 30, the "Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act."

(Code 1981, §24-5-510, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 339, § 1/HB 872; Ga. L. 2018, p. 716, § 1/HB 703; Ga. L. 2020, p. 493, § 24/SB 429; Ga. L. 2020, p. 671, § 1/HB 838.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2018, p. 716, § 3/HB 703, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the 2018 amendment becomes effective only when funds are specifically appropriated for purposes of this Act, in an Appropriations Act. When funds are so appropriated, then the amendment shall become effective on the later of the date on which such Appropriations Act becomes effective or the beginning date of the fiscal year for which such appropriations are made. Funds were appropriated at the 2019 Session of the General Assembly.

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