Established in 1924
The Cobb County Police Department was established with the appointment of two officers who worked directing traffic. They occupied a small office in the basement of the "old" courthouse, on the square in Marietta.
1929 - 1949
1929 - The First Police Car
The Police Department was issued its first police vehicle, a Dodge touring car.
1940 - Moonshine Busts
- During the 1940’s, the county owned two 1940 Ford Sedans. Cobb County was growing with industry, population, and especially traffic.
- Law Enforcement centered around "moonshine" whiskey.
- In 1940 the population had passed 40,000 people and the Police Department had grown to six officers.
1945 - First Radio Transmitters
- In 1945, Esmer Ward, the senior officer for the Police Department, was appointed the first Chief. He served from 1945-1949.
- A one-way transmitter provided radio communications. The officers had to find a phone for additional information.
1949 - Mobile Radio Units
- A two-way radio system consisting of a base station and seven mobile radio units were purchased and installed.
- John Lee becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1949 to 1953.
1950 - The County Begins to Grow
The county population has passed 62,000 people and the Police Department has grown to eight officers.
1953 - 1969
1953 - Police Chief Ed Hunter
Ed Hunter becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1953-1956.
1956 - Police Chief Cecil Holt
Cecil Holt becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1956-1958.
1957 - New Uniforms
New blue uniforms were acquired for the department, which replaced the black uniforms previously worn. The new uniform consisted of sky blue pants, a white shirt and a bus driver type hat.
1958 - Police Chief Amos Bates
Amos Bates becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1958-1965.
1959 - The Motorcycle Unit Forms
- Cobb County now has hundreds of miles of paved roads and is hard pressed to keep up with vehicular traffic.
- A two-man motorcycle unit was formed.
1960 - Lieutenant Hood, the First Fallen Hero
- By 1960 the county population was 114,000 people and the Police Department had twenty-seven officers.
- Shortly after midnight on June 18, 1960, Lt. John Hood responded to a call concerning drag racing on State Highway 120 east of Marietta, known today as Roswell Rd. With emergency lights and siren operating, Lt. Hood's patrol car crested a hill on Roswell Road and was hit head on by one of the two racing vehicles. An 18 year old was driving the vehicle on the wrong side of the road and traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour when he hit Lt. Hood. The teenage driver died instantly however, Lt. Hood struggled to live for another seven days. On June 25, 1960, Lt. Hood died from his injuries. He was 69 years old and one month away from retirement.
1962 - The Motorcycle Unit Grows
Two additional motorcycles were added to the Motorcycle Unit, bringing the total to four.
1965 - New Uniforms
- E.H. Burrus becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1965-1972.
- New uniforms were issued which consisted of a white shirt, black tie, light blue pants and bus driver style hats.
- Two more motorcycles were added bringing the total to six.
- The bus driver type hats were replaced with the Stetson style hats similar to what is worn today.
- During this time the county was divided into five patrol areas. A substation was set up in the southern portion of the county at the library on Gordon road.
1967 - The Motorcycle Disbands
- In September, as the result of a serious accident involving Officer W.L. Moss, the Motorcycle Unit ceased operations.
- The Police Department moved to the second floor of the Public Safety Building, located on the square in Marietta.
1970 - Sports Enters
- In 1970, the county population had passed 197,000 and the Police Department had eighty officers.
- In the early 1970's through the 1980's the Police Department sponsored a softball team.
1972 - 1979
1972 - The Department of Public Safety Forms
- On October 1, 1972, Robert E. Hightower was appointed the first Director of Public Safety. (His title replaced the Chief of Police title). He served from 1972-1999.
- Bomb Squad formed. Sgt. R.W. Green and Ofc. Jack Sanford were the first members.
- A Roving Task force was established for traffic enforcement and special details.
- The Special Investigations Section was formed. It consisted of two sections: The Illegal Services Unit (narcotics, prostitution and gambling) and the Intelligence Unit (compile information on persons suspected of being engaged in illegal activity).
- The department has 140 officers.
1973 - The Internal Affairs Unit Forms
- The Internal Affairs Unit was established. It handles all investigations involving complaints submitted against employees. Additionally, they are responsible for the screening process of all applicants for employment. Captain Herman Finnell was the first Commander.
- The Criminal Investigation Units was divided into two units; the Crimes Against Persons Unit and Crimes Against Property Unit.
- The Administrative Services Bureau was formed.
1974 - Precincts are Established
- On June 17, 1974, The Cobb County Regional Police Academy was formed. Classes were initially held at Kennesaw Junior College. Lt. J.L. Ferrell was named the academy director. Cobb Officers who graduated from the 1st mandate class on July 5, 1974, were: Guy Watkins Jr., D.E. McMichen, S.W. Pannell, M.D. Barfield, A.T. Hamrick, G.W. Davis Jr., A.J. Arseneault, D.R. Pondant, E.J. Coppola, D.L. Wilbur, R.W. Monk, D.D. Bailey, and D.W. Meeks.
- A decision was made to reorganize the Uniform patrol section into a precinct type operation. The ten patrol zones were redrawn into twenty-one patrol beats, to be operated from three precinct locations. Precinct 1, commanded by Major Robert Hamby was set up at Headquarters to cover the northern portion of the county. Precinct 2, commanded by Major D.L. Long was opened up in a storefront on Gordon Road to cover the southwest portion of the county. Precinct 3 commanded by Major E.H. Davis was opened at Cumberland Mall to cover the southeast portion of the county.
1975 - Headquarters Moves to Page Street
Headquarters was moved to a new building on Page Street, where it is located today. Page Street was renamed N. Marietta Pkwy in the late 80's. The building housed the Administrative Services Bureau, the Detective Bureau and Precinct 1 patrol officers.
1976 - STEP Forms
The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) was established, replacing the Roving Task Force.
1977 - The SWAT Team Forms
- The S.W.A.T. Team was formed. Lt. Joe Looper, Sgt. Ron Malcolm, Ofc. Bill Davis, Ofc. Wally Nolen, and Ofc. Darrell Cook were the first members.
- A BATMOBILE (Breath Alcohol Testing mobile) began operations with the STEP Unit. It was equipped with breath alcohol testing equipment and contained a small holding cell.
1980 - The Narcotics Unit Forms
- The population of Cobb County is 297,718.
- The Police Department received a Federal grant to form a Drug Squad. With the combined efforts of the Marietta Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Cobb District Attorney's Office, and the Cobb County Police Department the Marietta-Cobb-Smyrna (MCS) Narcotics Unit was formed.
- Mount Bethel Precinct ( Pct.4 ) opens on Lower Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry Road in an old schoolhouse.
- Officer Robert Hamby is assigned to the firing range as a Weapons Specialist.
1982 - 1989
1982 - The Dive Rescue Team and DUI Task Force Form
- In May the Cobb County Police Dive Rescue Team was formed, with Sergeant Mike Barton the first team commander. Other original members included: Officer Stan Melton, Officer Alvin Arrowood, Officer Charles Wood, Officer Gordy Kilgore, and Officer Bobby McBrayer.
- The Marietta-Cobb DUI Task Force unit was formed. Members included; Cobb County Police Dept, Cobb County Sheriff's Office, Marietta Police Dept, Smyrna Police Dept, Powder Springs Police Dept, Kennesaw Police Dept, and Acworth Police Dept. Cobb PD Officers David Stone and Drew Brown were the first members.
1983 - Officer Drew Brown, the Second Fallen Hero
Officer Drew Brown is killed in the line of duty on December 17, 1983 while operating radar on US 41 northbound just north of Blue Springs Rd. Officer Brown was posthumously awarded the Cobb County Police Department Medal of Valor in February 1984.
1984 - The Motorcycle Unit is Re-Established
- Precinct 2 moved to Hawthorne Plaza on Bankhead Highway.
- With the help of several business owners, a twelve person Motorcycle Unit was formed. The Motorcycle Unit was assigned to the evening shift to patrol shopping center areas.
1985 - The Recruiting Office Forms
- A Recruiting Office for employment purposes was established. Sgt. Eddie Nix and Officer Charles Spann were the first personnel assigned.
- Bomb Squad purchases its first bomb trailer.
- The multi-jurisdictional DUI Task Force was disbanded.
- The Cobb County Police Department started their own DUI Task Force on November 30, 1985. The original members were Lt. Darrell Cook, Sgt. Wayne Kelly, Officer Ron Perdue, Officer Paul Woods, Officer Jimmy Barner, Officer Curtis Canupp, Officer Jim Schaffer, and Officer Frank Baker. Within the first year 2,800 DUI arrests were made.
- The Cobb County Police Department received a federal grant and started a 55-MPH Speed Enforcement Unit. Officer Mark Bishop and Officer Dave Snarski were the first members.
- Between 1985 and 1987 the Communications Unit began a consolidation process. The goal was to combine the Police and Fire dispatch, to have one central dispatching location.
1987 - E911 is Established
- The Enhanced-911 went in to operation. Enhanced-911 automatically displayed to the dispatcher the telephone number and location of a caller.
- The Communications Bureau acquired C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch). Until this time all calls for service were recorded by hand on color-coded dispatch cards. The former card system required the operator to make two dispatch cards for related police and fire incidents, or verbally pass the information to the fire dispatcher.
1988 - Marko, the Fist Police K-9
- The Training Section and Advanced Training Unit were moved into a newly completed building at 148 Page Street.
- Canine Unit was formed with the first dog, Marko. Officer Mike Yancey was his handler. Marko is cross-trained in patrol work, cadaver recovery, and narcotics detection.
- Precinct 1 moved from Headquarters to a new building located on Barrett Lakes Blvd.
- Precinct 4 and Dickerson Middle School team up in the Partners in Education Program. Our department was one of the first government entities in Georgia to participate in the Partners Program.
1989 - Emergency Medical Dispatch Personnel are Trained
- The department has 338 sworn officers, 147 civilian employees, and 100 part-time employees.
- An additional canine, Bryo, was added to the Canine unit. Officer Eddie Race was his handler.
- A new Government Service Center opened on Austell Road. It houses Precinct 2, the Southside Crimes Against Property Unit, and a Fire Station.
- Animal Control was placed under the Police Department.
- Another new Government Service Center opened on Lower Roswell Road. It houses Precinct 4, Northside Crimes Against Property Unit, and a Fire Station.
- The Communications Bureau began Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). The dispatchers had to be certified in CPR and basic first aid.
1990 - Motorcycle Unit Merges with Special Operations
- The population of Cobb County is 447,745.
- The department has 413 sworn employees, 155 civilian employees, and 102 part-time employees.
- A five person Motorcycle Unit was added to the Special Operations to assist with traffic enforcement.
- A "Cobra Unit" was added to the MCS-Narcotics Unit. The Cobra Unit consisted of two Cobb PD, two Cobb SO and two Marietta PD officers. The purpose of the unit was to provide highly visible drug enforcement at the street level. Sgt. Sam Akers is assigned as the first commander.
- Bomb Squad purchases its first X-Ray Machine & Bomb Suit.
1991 - 1999
1991 - Police Join the Partners in Education Program
Precinct 1 and Awtrey Middle School teamed up in the Partners in Education Program.
1992 - Voters Approve New Animal Control Shelter
- Precinct 3 moves from Cumberland Mall to a larger location at 1250 Winchester Parkway.
- A Tactical Squad was formed from SWAT Team members. Their mission is to support patrol operations as a pro-active unit and to assist with high risk encounters. Sergeant S.L. Merrifield, Officer Robert Anthony, Officer Danny Hubbard, Officer Steve Reeves, Officer Tom Flugum, Officer Tom Arnold, Officer Jeff Patellis, and Officer Steve McDaniel were the first members.
- The Police Department has 411 sworn officers, 159 civilian employees, and 127 part-time employees.
- The Police Department received 297,787 calls for service.
- In November the voters of Cobb County approved a bond referendum to fund a new Animal Control Shelter.
1993 - Community Oriented Police Enforcement Unit Forms
- Culver Johnson becomes Chief of Police and serves from 1993-1996.
- Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) Unit is started in the south Cobb area. Officer Charles Spann, Officer Nick McKnight, Officer Conrad Rudd, Officer Tony Sewell, Officer Dale Bolenbaugh, and Officer Dean Johnson were the first members.
- In March of 1993 the Drew Brown Community Service Award is presented for the first time at the departments Annual Awards Ceremony. Detective Gordy Kilgore is the first recipient. The award is presented to a deserving officer in recognition of their outstanding community service. The award is in memory of Officer Drew Brown who was killed in the line of duty in 1983.
- On July 13, 1993 while checking a suspicious person near the railroad tracks in the Elizabeth area, Officer Robert J. Ingram is shot to death by a man who had recently been released from prison. Officer Ingram was the first Cobb County Police Officer killed by a firearm in the line of duty. Officer Robbie Ingram is posthumously awarded the Cobb County Police Department Medal of Valor.
1994 - Department of Public Safety Consolidates Departments
- The Department of Public Safety is created which the Police Department, Fire Department, 911 Communications, Animal Control and the Cobb County Correctional Institute under one command. Robert Hightower is named Director.
- The new 800 MHz trunked radio system is brought on line.
- Two canines, Ronnie and Lewis, were added to the K-9 unit bringing the total to four. Sergeant Ronnie Simons was "Ronnie's" handler and Officer Tom Clark was "Lewis" handler.
- Video cameras installed in all patrol units.
- Cobb County hosts the Georgia Police-Fire Olympics.
- Sergeant Jim Fulwood designs, develops, and starts operations at a new Weapons Training Facility on County Services Parkway. It is now considered by many to be one of the best in the country.
- The precincts become partners in education with local schools. Precinct 1 with Awtrey Middle School, Precinct 2 with Lindley Middle School, Precinct 3 with Teasley Elementary, and Precinct 4 with Dickerson Middle School.
1995 - Police Department Receives First Robot
- A new Public Safety Training Center opens on County Services Parkway. It encompasses all police and fire training.
- A new Superstation opens which houses Precinct One, Special Operations, Northside Detectives, and a fire station.
- Officer Robert Quigley is appointed the first Public Information Officer. His job is to assist the department in responding to inquires by the media and public.
- The Crimes Against Children Unit moves to a new location on Austell Road. They form a partnership with Open Gate (child shelter), Safe Path (children’s advocacy), and Department of Children and Family Services. All are housed under one roof.
- Bomb Squad purchases its first robot.
1996 - The Olympics
- All motorcycle's are transferred from individual precincts to the Special Operations Unit. Their focus will be traffic enforcement.
- The Olympics are held in Atlanta and officers are assigned to 12 hour shifts. No major incidents occur.
1997 - Police Department Receives State Certification
- Lee New becomes Chief of Police.
- In August the department receives their state certification. The department is one of the first group of eight agencies to be certified through the State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program.
- Sergeant Jim Fulwood passes away from medical complications. On Monday, August 18, 1997, the Cobb County Police Department Weapons Training Facility was dedicated in his memory. The plaque inscription reads as follows:
- Sergeant Jim Fulwood brought dedication, devotion and excellence in weapons training to every officer of the Cobb County Police Department for nineteen years. He was an instructor, a friend, an example.
1998 - New 911 Communications Center Built
- Mobile Data Terminals are added to all police units.
- The department begins assisting with the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program held in the Cobb County Middle and High Schools.
- Renovations begin on the Headquarters building and a new 911 Communications Center is put into operation. The building houses 911 Communications, Emergency Operations Command Center, Crimes Against Person's Unit, Cobb County Evidence Unit, and Cobb County Supply Unit.
1999 - The Police Department's First Website
- Director of Public Safety R.E. Hightower retires. J.D. Arrowood is appointed the new Director of Public Safety.
- Cobb County Police celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
- Cobb County Police Department’s Web site goes on line. Detective Gary Lowe is the first webmaster.
- The Police Department has 490 sworn officers.
- On July 23, 1999 Sergeant Steve Reeves and Officer Stephen Gilner are killed in the line of duty during a SWAT action. Sergeant Reeves and Officer Gilner were assigned to the SWAT entry team tasked to perform a hostage rescue. The suspect had already shot one police officer and would not negotiate with the Crisis Negotiation Team. Immediately upon entering the residence they came under heavy gunfire and Sergeant Reeves was fatally wounded. Officer Gilner realizing Sergeant Reeves was hit, pulled him from the doorway, and placed him outside the residence. Officer Gilner then re-entered the residence to assist his other team members who were pinned down, but was fatally wounded by the suspect. Sergeant Reeves and Officer Gilner were posthumously award the Cobb County Police Department Medal of Valor.
- The High Tech Crime Squad (the first for a local jurisdiction in Georgia) is started. Sgt. Dan Casey, Det. Gary Lowe, and Det. Joel Horne are the first members. This unit is responsible for computer based crimes.
- The Auto Theft Squad is started. Sgt. James Brown, Det. Mark Needham, Det. Joe Culver, and Det. R.C. Jones were the first members.
- The new Cobb County Police Academy begins operations and graduates its first mandate class in December. Commander Ron Storey is named Director. The first officers to graduate were: M.A. Frazer, L.E. King, M.D. Hurst, R.B. Payne, L.R. Scherer, Y.A. Pounds, J.K. Stanley, E.J. Teegerstrom, J.W. Hopkins, R.G. Middendorf, F.G. Sebek, J.R. Barbeau, B.M. Bentley, Todd M. Desrosiers, M.M. Newson, and A.E. Lopez.
2000 - The New Millennium
- Citizens Public Safety Academy - Format for the citizens Public Safety Academy was developed and the course was offered to the public. Eleven were accepted into the initial program on October 24, 2000.
- Public Safety Explorers Program - The program policies and procedures were developed in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life Guidelines. The public safety concept is unique and is the first of its kind nationally for Learning for Life. Orientation was held October 17, 2000 with approximately 30 interested youth in attendance with their parents. 23 applications were received for the program, which held its first meeting/training session on November 7, 2000.
- Neighborhood Safety Commission - Public Safety has worked in a support role throughout the year with the Neighborhood Safety Commission in order to facilitate their efforts in community safety and quality of life.
- Drug and Alcohol Awareness Programs - The Directors Office and all units of Public Safety have supported and participated in the Drug and Alcohol Awareness conferences held this year at McEachern High School in the Spring and on November 3, 2000 (Fall) at Tapp Middle School.
- Cumberland Police and Fire Facility - The new Cumberland Police and Fire Facility, which houses Police Precinct 3 and Fire Station 4 started operations. The grand opening ceremony was, held on May 6, 2000.
- Emergency Vehicle Operations Training Course (EVOC) - This facility was completed and put into operation on July 28, 2000.
- New COPE Office - In 2000 the new South Cobb recreation facility was completed on Six Flags Drive, and offices were established for COPE officers working in the area.
- Police Memorial Statue - A statue honoring all Cobb County Police Officers killed in the line of duty was placed in the lobby of Police Headquarters. It stands guard at the entry way to the memorial gardens.
- Armored Personnel Carrier - An Armored Personnel Carrier named Peacekeeper is accepted from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. This vehicle was completely refurbished and is now in service and utilized by the SWAT team during critical incidents.
- Incident Command Vehicle - A fully equipped Incident Command Bus is purchased for use by Public Safety as a command vehicle during major incidents. It contains all of the latest technology.
- Improved SWAT Equipment and Weaponry - In 2000 state of the art ballistic body armor was purchased for all members of the SWAT Team. Additionally, 35 HKG36K and 6 HK MP5A3 weapons were purchased.
- Oleoresin Capsicum - The Police Department provided all sworn officers with OC spray to be utilized as an intermediate force weapon. Training on the use of this tool was completed by years end.
- National Accreditation for Police Department - The National Accreditation process was begun with a review of current polices, procedures, and a study of the impact to current operations. Sergeant Drew Marchetta was named the National Accreditation manager.
- Activation of the Police Officer III Program - In December 1999 the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved an additional 12 Police Officer III positions bringing the total authorized number to 74.
- SWAT Team Personnel Increase - During 2000 the Board Of Commissioners authorized 17 additional specialty pay positions for the SWAT team bringing the total number of SWAT officers to 35.
2001 - 2009
2001 - National Accreditation for the Police Department
- West Cobb Police and Fire Facility - The new West Cobb Police and Fire Facility which houses Police Precinct 5 and Fire Station 4 starts operations on January 7, 2001. Major R.W. Green is the first commander.
- Neighborhood Safety Commission - Continued to support and facilitate to efforts of the Neighborhood Safety Commission in its efforts to promote safety awareness within the community.
- Drug and Alcohol Awareness Programs - Continued our active participation in the drug and alcohol awareness programs in the schools of Cobb County.
- Increase Visibility and Response Times - With the opening of the West Cobb Police and Fire facility we were able to decrease the beat size in the western portion of the county and reduce our response times to requests for services.
- National Accreditation for Police Department - We formally contracted with the CALEA association to enroll in the national accreditation program.
- Additional Police Officers - Cobb hired an additional 21 police officers positions for staffing of the new West Cobb Police precinct.
- Police Memorial - The Police Memorial Gardens were dedicated on August 24th to honor officers killed in the line of duty. The gardens were made possible by private donations.
- Police Museum - A Cobb County Police Museum was opened in the lobby of the headquarters facility.
2002 - Cobb Anti Gang Enforcement Unit Forms
- CAGE Unit formed. (Cobb Anti Gang Enforcement Unit)
- J.D. Arrowood retires as Director of Public Safety.
2003 - New Director of Public Safety
G.M. Lloyd becomes Director of Public Safety.
2004 - Increased Staffing Results in Greater Efficiency
- A new Crisis Negotiations Team vehicle was placed in service in December of 2004.
- The Department greatly improved the processing of property from the Property and Evidence Unit as a direct result of the increased staffing completed in the Fall of 2004.
2005 - Police Department Grows in Staff
- Department receives National Accreditation at banquet in Birmingham Alabama on March 19, 2005.
- The Department received approval for ten (10) additional Patrol Officer positions in October of 2005.
- The Department increased staffing for the Cobb Anti-Gang Enforcement Unit with the addition of eight officers in September of 2005.
- The Department completed a strategic re-allocation of uniformed personnel within the precincts for the enhancement of specific crime reduction initiatives in July of 2005.
- A new Bomb Team vehicle and trailer was placed into service in March of 2005.
- Patrol rifles were issued to field personnel in January of 2005.
2006 - Police Email Notification System (PENS) Established
- The Department received approval for ten new positions in October 2006. Eight Police Officer II’s and Two Sergeants.
- The Department received approval to replace all of the primary Glock Weapons carried by officers in the field due to age in October 2006.
- In the fall of 2006 the department implemented a successful Police E-Mail Notification System (PENS) program in which homeowners and business owners are advised of crime trends, suspect lookouts and other important information from their local precincts via e-mail.
2007 - Quality of Life Unit Forms
- The Department received approval for twelve (12) new positions in October 2007. Nine Police Officer II’s, Two Sergeants and One Lieutenant.
- The Department has filled four (4) Captain Positions for the restructuring of middle command staff since September 24, 2006.
- A Vehicle Processing Shed was created in the Headquarters Complex in September 2007. This facility will be used for identifying and securing items of evidence from vehicles and allow evidence to be protected in a climate controlled area.
- The Department was awarded the Georgia State Law Enforcement Certification in May of 2007 by the Georgia Association of Chief’s of Police.
- Implemented COBBSTAT anti-crime management program designed to provide a greater level of control, efficiency and accountability of the departments operation resources in April 2007.
- In February 2007 the Crime Data Analysis Unit moved to larger working space in the Headquarters Complex. A Crime Analyst was added to bring the unit strength to a total of three analysts.
- Implemented a Quality of Life unit in January 2007 which works with the Cobb Code Enforcement Unit to identify enforcement and revitalization initiatives.
2008 - New Patrol Vehicles
- Tactical Services Response Vehicle - The Cobb County Police Department in conjunction with the Federal government's 1033 surplus equipment program was able to add a new tactical response vehicle to its tactical unit. The vehicle is a LAV 300 which came from Fort Polk, Louisiana and has a value of over $500,000. The police department has taken the vehicle and made $51,000 worth of modifications to prepare it for police duty. The vehicle is equipped with a breaching tool to be used for entry into any building, safety cameras to assist with its maneuverability and a FLIR system to assist with locating suspects in darkness. The vehicle is assigned to the police department's SWAT Team and will be used in any tactical situation that requires transport of SWAT personnel and equipment to help end a conflict.
- Quality of Life / Code Enforcement Unit and VIPER Unit - The Cobb Police Department has added a new facility in South Cobb to house the Quality of Life / Code Enforcement Unit and VIPER Unit (Violent Incident Prevention and Early Response Unit). The facility was renovated to make it usable for police purposes. This new facility will open on November 1st and the approximate cost of the project is $100,000.
- State of Georgia (GEMA) Contribution - The Cobb County Police Department was selected by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to receive an infrared camera system (FLIR) to be used for locating suspects that attempt to elude law enforcement and to help in the search of anyone that is lost or in need of medical assistance. The FLIR unit was provided through the GEMA 1033 surplus equipment program. The value of this particular FLIR unit is approximately $50,000.
- Three additional FLIR units were also obtained by the police department. These units were smaller and more portable. The cost of these was $10,000 a piece.
- New Replacement Patrol Vehicles - The Cobb County Police Department updated its patrol fleet with the replacement of forty-one Ford Crown Victoria police cars. These vehicles were used to replace some of the older police units. The police fleet also added four new Dodge Chargers which are primarily used in the Traffic Services Unit.
- Personnel Positions - In March, 2008, Deputy Chief Mull retired from the Cobb Police Department after forty-two years of service. During that same month, Major Houser was promoted to Deputy Chief to fill retired Deputy Chief Mull's position within the department.
- Also, on October 6th, Officer Anibal E. Lopez was awarded the "Officer of the Year" award from the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Officer Lopez was selected by a committee of law enforcement professionals and business leaders within Cobb County. He was recognized for his contribution to the police department and the growing Hispanic community within Cobb County. Officer Lopez is currently assigned to the 4th precinct which is located in East Cobb.
- Re-Accreditation - The Cobb Police Department was awarded “re-accreditation” through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence. This was the department's first re-accreditation since its initial accreditation in 2004. The re-accreditation award was presented in March, 2008 at the CALEA Conference in Atlanta.
- New Technology - The department continues updating the Mobile Data Terminals for the patrol fleet with the change-out of thirty in-car computer laptops. The cost of this project was $127,710.
- The department has also continued to upgrade the patrol vehicle's video cameras with “digital” technology. This effort was started in July of 2007 with the equipment being installed in vehicles assigned to the Traffic Services Unit and Precinct 3. It was continued in 2008 with the equipment being installed in the patrol units assigned to Precinct 2. Precinct 1 was to start receiving the next digital video systems during the latter part of 2008. A total of thirty-four MPH Trueview Digital Mobile Video Systems were scheduled to be installed. The cost for this equipment was $125,785.
- The department began the process of searching for a new Records Management System. This new RMS system will further the capability of our officers to obtain timely information. The cost of this project is not known at this time.
- Community Outreach - The Cobb Police Department has continued its efforts with a successful PENS (Police E-Mail Notification System) program where homeowners and business owners are advised of crime trends, suspect lookouts, and other important information from their local police precinct via e-mail. The project has further improved police department and community information flow and relations. The PENS program has been expanded into all five Cobb Police precincts and is considered a valuable tool of information by the citizens that use it.
2009 - Burglary Apprehension Team Forms
- Burglary Apprehension Team - The Burglary Apprehension Team was formed to address the rise in property crimes. The teams mission is to target areas that have high incidents of burglaries and implement enforcement and prevention methods to lower the rate. Plainclothes and Uniform Officers are used to identify and arrest suspects.
- Tasers - Funds from an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice were used to purchase 100 taser electronic control devices and all sworn officers attended mandatory training in its use. Tasers help reduce injuries to both officers and suspects and in some cases the mere presence of a taser has been an effective deterrent to physical confrontation.
- Resource Sharing - Always striving to help our neighbors, Cobb continues to share its Emergency Vehicle Operations Course and Firing Range with other jurisdictions that do not have facilities.
- False Alarm Ordinance - The new False Alarm Ordinance went into effect this year and has reduced the false alarms by 28 percent. Fewer false alarms enhance the delivery of police services by increasing proactive patrol and reducing fuel consumption. The False Alarm Unit is self-supportive and does not sue taxpayer funding for operational costs.
- K-9 - Two new K-9 dogs, Robbie & Cato, were acquired this year to replace retiring dogs. A new K-9 vehicle will be purchased with grant funds to provide rapid response of the bomb-detecting K-9 team within Cobb and surrounding areas.
- Reserve Police Officer Program - In September the Board of Commissioners approved the Reserve Police Officer Program which allows retired Cobb police officers to return to the department in a volunteer capacity. The reserve officers assist with necessary, yet time consuming, administrative details. As a cost-effective alternative to hiring more personnel, reserve officers relieve this burden and keep more patrol officers on the streets.
2010 - Police Athletic League Established
- Personnel Positions - On August 10, 2010, Deputy Chief Houser was appointed to Chief of Police.
- Officers Equipped with Tasers - The department purchased an additional 250 tasers. The tasers were issued to uniform officers after the completion of mandatory training. This brings the total of tasers deployed in the department to more than 350. Tasers have been shown to reduce injuries to both officers and suspects. In some instances, the mere presence of the taser has been an effective deterrent to physical confrontations between officers and suspects.
- Records Management System - The new Cobb County Law Enforcement Records Management System Implementation Project hit a major milestone in August when the application went "live" for multiple units in Public Safety.
- Cobb Police Athletic League, Inc. (PAL) - Through a collaborative grant with the Center for Family Resources, Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club, the Cobb County Police Department established the Cobb Police Athletic League (PAL) program in South Cobb. PAL exists to prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing civic, athletic, recreational, and educational opportunities to the youth in Cobb County. The first Cobb PAL youth program was a Track and Field Team.
2011 - 2016
2011 - Officers Assigned to the New Safety Village
- Training "Shoot House" - Cobb Police officers received their first firearm training in the “shoot house” at the Public Safety Training Academy. Under the supervision of Academy firearm instructors, Cobb Police Officers received training within a structure, facing multiple scenarios. The “shoot house” allows live fire of weapons within the structure. This type of weapon training allowed officers to receive more realistic training in enclosed environments. The “shoot house” was built by Police Department employees using donated materials.
- Joint Hazard Assessment Team (JHAT) Training - Departmental officers received training in the use and application of the Joint Hazard Assessment Team (JHAT) plans. Cobb Police, Cobb Fire, and Cobb Sheriff’s Office assigned employees who developed coordinated response plans for identified critical infrastructure locations within the county.
- Officers Assigned to Safety Village for Public Education - The department assigned two police officers to the Cobb County Safety Village. These officers will promote crime prevention and life safety messages to thousands of annual student visitors, as well as adults that come to that facility.
- Community Alert Notifications - With a desire to expand and improve the popular Police Email Notification System (PENS), the department provided the opportunity for community members to sign up for real-time notifications of crime or traffic alerts through the Nixle notification system.
- Dive Team Watercraft - The Police Department Underwater Search and Recovery Team received two Yamaha Wave Runners. The Dive Team will use these specialized watercrafts to respond to water emergencies and to patrol county waterways, as well as regional lakes and rivers as requested by other agencies.
2012 - Police Headquarters Dedicated to Robert E. Hightower
- School Bus Passing Program - The Police Department, in cooperation with the Cobb County Board of Education, started a school bus passing program. The Board of Education placed cameras on county school buses to increase the safety of children as they board and exit from the buses throughout the county.
- Cobb County Police Headquarters Dedication - On June 12, 2012, the Cobb County Police Headquarters was officially renamed the Robert E. Hightower Cobb County Police Headquarters building. Mr. Robert E. Hightower was a former Chief of Police, and the first Director of Public Safety in Cobb County. After his retirement from Cobb County, Mr. Hightower was the director of Georgia State Patrol and the first Director of Homeland Security.
- Departmental Reorganization - Chief Houser presented a departmental reorganization plan to the Public Safety Director and County Manager for approval to restore Majors as Precinct Commanders and Captains as Assistant Precinct Commanders. Also included in this plan was the request to move to 10-hour shifts at all of the precincts. The 10-hour shift model would provide approximately 40% more police officers during times when calls for service are the greatest, improving response times to 911 calls.
- First Body Cameras Deployed - The first body cameras were deployed for use by officers assigned to the Motorcycle Unit.
- In-Car Camera System Upgrade Completed - The department completed the technology upgrade to digital in-car video recording systems and rocket technology to all the marked police cars in the fleet.
- Department of Homeland Security Grant - The department received a Department of Homeland Security grant in the amount of $173,000 for the Bomb Team to provide comprehensive upgrades to the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) primary response vehicle.
- Patrol Rifles Issued - The department purchased 385 patrol rifles through SPLOST 2011 funding. Uniform officers completed range qualification with the patrol rifles and then were issued the weapons for use on daily patrol as needed.
2013 - Wireless Radio Communication
- Personnel Positions - Major Cox was promoted to Deputy Chief in May 2013.
- Gas Masks - The department purchased new gas masks for all officers to use in the event of a chemical or biological environment. The previous masks had reached the end of their effective lifespan.
- Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Enhances Specialty Police Units - The Cobb County Police Department was awarded Law Enforcement Operations/Specialty Teams Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) project equipment funding in the amount of $1,315,441. The equipment purchased by the state and delivered to the department included bomb detection equipment, a Lenco Bearcat, a Tritoon Dive Team boat, ballistic helmets for SWAT, night vision monoculars, and other specialty items for departmental teams. The Cobb County Police Department specialty units continue to serve not only in unincorporated Cobb County, but as requested in city jurisdictions of Cobb, as well as locations throughout the state of Georgia.
- Hands Free Communication for Motor Officers - The department purchased wireless radio communication systems for all motorcycle officers. These systems enhanced officer safety by allowing motor officers to communicate on the radio without removing hands from the handle bars to access the shoulder voice mike.
- Tactical SWAT Team Robot - The SWAT team purchased a new tactical robot. This specialized robot enhanced SWAT clearing operations without exposing team members to potentially deadly threats.
2014 - Snowmaggedon
- Cobb Police Athletic League (PAL) - The Cobb Police Athletic League was awarded a grant from the Braves Foundation to support the mission of PAL and assist in the organization’s first Baseball Camp. The Baseball Camp was free to all participants and benefited over 150 kids. The kids learned about good sportsmanship, as well as fundamentals of baseball while being coached by Cobb County Police Officers.
- 40 Officers Added to the Department - In February of 2014, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved 40 new police officer positions for the department. With these new positions, the department has an authorized strength of 640 sworn officers.
- Active Shooter Incident - On April 29, 2014, more than 100 officers from the department, from neighboring jurisdictions, and from state and federal agencies responded to an active shooter incident at the FedEx facility in Kennesaw where six victims were injured. The department was lauded by the FBI for the rapid and professional response to the incident.
- Gun Auction - The department began to sell firearms that had been abandoned, seized or forfeited and completed the Court Order process. The firearms are sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
- More Patrol Rifles - The department purchased an additional 265 patrol rifles for officers not provided one during the initial issuance during SPLOST 2011.
- Specialized Ballistic Plates, Carriers, and Helmets - The department once again shows a commitment to the safety of the officers with the purchase of ballistic helmets, ballistic carriers and plates for all officers. This specialized ballistic protection provided officers a higher level of protection during an active shooter or other high-risk incident than normal daily worn body armor.
- Snowmaggedon 2014 - In February of 2014, department personnel and resources were stretched during a major winter storm that became known as Snowmaggedon 2014. During this storm, thousands of motorists were stranded on icy interstates and roads throughout the metro Atlanta area.
2015 - PAL Grows
- Police Shift Differential Pay - Starting on January 1, 2015, Cobb Police officers received shift differential pay for working "non-traditional" hours. Officers who work "Evening Shift," (majority of scheduled hours are between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m.) received an additional $0.50 for all hours worked. Officers who work the "Morning Shift" (majority of scheduled hours are between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m.) receive and additional $1.00 per hour for all hours worked.
- Fingerprint Scanners for Rapid Identification - The agency purchased fifteen (15) fingerprint scanners. The scanners assisted police officers and detectives during field investigations to help determine the true identity of persons suspected of criminal activity.
- Buy Back Program - The Board of Commissioners approved a patrol rifle officer purchase program. In this program, Cobb County Police Officers were provided the opportunity to purchase the patrol rifle that they were issued, with the related revenue going back to the police department. Under this plan, future patrol rifles will be purchased for new officers without impact to the budget.
- SPLOST Assigned Vehicle Program - The department began the process of the purchase and equipping of 300 police vehicles through the 2015 SPLOST program. These vehicles are being used to provide each Cobb County Police Officer an assigned vehicle. These assigned vehicles will last significantly longer than shared vehicles currently do, will have less maintenance issues on average, and will greatly increase patrol visibility throughout the county, proving a great benefit to citizens and visitors to the county.
- Electric Motorcycles - The Police Rangers Unit received two Zero electric motorcycles to patrol Cobb County parks and trails. The electric motorcycles are quieter, which allows police to respond to incidents in an unobserved approach. The bikes are environmentally friendly.
- Department Expands for a Growing and Vibrant Community - In September of 2015, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved 40 new police officer positions for the department. With these new positions, the department has an authorized strength of 680 sworn officers.
- Cell Phone for Detectives - The department provided cell phones to all detectives, so that detectives would not have to use personal cell phones to contact involved parties during investigations and to be available when on-call during emergencies.
- Police Athletic League (PAL) - The Police Athletic League (PAL) holds a baseball instructional camp at the Southwest Baseball Complex in Austell. More than 150 youths between the ages of four and fourteen attended. The department PAL program now includes track and field, football, and baseball.
- Crime Scene Unit Rapid Response Team - The department continued to transition to rapid response vehicles for the Crime Scene unit with the purchase of two Sirchie Ford Expeditions. Because of these vehicles, the crime scene technicians could respond quicker to scenes, allowing the evidence technicians to document crime scenes quicker and more promptly obtain evidence.
- Tag Readers - The department purchased seven (7) tag readers. These tag readers help officers locate missing persons, stolen vehicles, suspect vehicles and wanted persons.
- Cobb Police Athletic League (PAL) - The Cobb Police Athletic League was awarded a $12,000 grant from Cobb EMC to support the mission of PAL and assist in providing uniforms for the Cobb PAL Track Team and the organization's first Soccer Camp. The Soccer Camp was scheduled for May 2016.
2016 - More Body Cameras Issued
- Police Officer Education Incentive Implemented - Starting on January 1, 2016, Cobb Police officers began to receive quarterly education incentive pay. Officers with an Associate's Degree receive $1,000 of extra pay annually, with a Bachelor's Degree receive $2,000 of extra pay each year, and with a Master's Degree receive $3,000 of extra pay each year.
- SPLOST Funding Starts to Fund Future Facilities - On January 1, 2016, the Cobb County one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) began. Revenue from the 2016 SPLOST will be used in the near future for three major new police facilities. Planning begins for a new Police Department Headquarters building, a new Public Safety Training Center to train police employees and other public safety employees, and for the future construction of a new police precinct, in northeast Cobb.
- Department Reorganization - Chief Houser's plan, first introduced in 2012, was approved and implemented. The position of police Major was added to each of the five precincts. Now, each precinct is commanded by both a Captain and a Major.
- Improving Delivery of Police Service - The Department has implemented 10-hour shifts at all 5 precincts. This provides approximately 40% more police officers available to respond to calls for service at times the needs of the public are the greatest.
- Body Cameras - The department continued to expand the body camera program with the purchase of 100 body cameras.
- CAGE Unit - The department reactivated the Cobb Anti-Gang Enforcement Unit under the Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Unit. Under this operational approach, various Cobb County law enforcement jurisdictions will work together in a more coordinated effort to reduce criminal gang activity within the county.
- K9 Additions - The department added two additional K9 officers. The additional working dogs added were an explosive detection specialist canine and the other dog was a dual purpose patrol and narcotics canine.
- Cobb Police Athletic League (PAL) - The Cobb Police Athletic League held its first Soccer Camp. The Soccer Camp was free to all participants and benefited over 100 kids. The kids learned about good sportsmanship, as well as fundamentals of soccer while being coached by Cobb County Police Officers.