Cobb County Government

From the Criminal Investigations Unit at PCT 5 PENS Police Email Notification System

JUNE 2018

Community Partners,

Welcome to the June PENS, Police Email Notification System update from Precinct 5. This bulletin is brought to you from the Cobb County Police, Precinct 5 Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU5) and is designed to keep you aware of safety alerts and crime trends in your area and measures you can take to keep you and your family safe.

It is Summertime! While you are enjoying the hot weather, please remember to check your vehicles for precious cargo left inside. Children and pets left in a vehicle may be in serious danger within minutes.



House Bill 673, "Hands Free Law"

House Bill 673 also known as the “Hands Free Law” was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal.  The Hands Free Law will take effect on July 1, 2018.  The following is a brief description what the law states.  A link to the complete law can be found at

  • A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone.  Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone is connected to vehicle or an electronic watch.  GPS navigation devices are allowed.
  • Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
  • A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS
  • A driver may not write, send or read any text messages, e-mails, social media or internet data content
  • A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
  • A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt)
  • Music streaming apps can be used provided the driver activates and programs them when they are parked.  Drivers cannot touch their phones to do anything to their music apps when they are on the road.  Music streaming apps that include video also are not allowed since drivers cannot watch videos when on the road.  Drivers can listen to and program music streaming apps that are connected to and controlled through their vehicle's radio. 

Exceptions to the law are as follows:

  1. Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
  2. An employee or contractor of a utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to a utility emergency.
  3. A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties. 
  4. When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.

Commercial motor vehicle operators

  1. Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators can only use one button to begin or end a phone call
  2. Cannot reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device that it no longer requires the driver to be a seated position or properly restrained by a safety belt

School bus drivers

  1. The driver of a school bus cannot use a wireless telecommunication device or two-way radio while loading or unloading passengers.
  2. The driver can only use a wireless telecommunication device while the bus is in motion as a two-way radio to allow live communications between the driver and school and public safety officials

Cobb police enforcement

Again, the law goes into effect July 1st , but in an effort to educate the public, the Cobb County Police Department will be providing verbal or written warning citations for the first 30 days. However, If the violation involves a traffic crash, a citation may be issued. Effective August 1st, 2018, officers may begin writing real citations. Each jurisdiction may have their own policy for when they begin enforcement, so I would suggest that you begin adhering to the law on July 1st.

What would the fines/penalties be?

  • First conviction: $50, one point on a license; 
  • Second conviction: $100, two points on a license; 
  • Third and subsequent convictions: $150, three points on a license.



Entering Autos

Our Entering Autos in neighborhoods have gone down. Don’t let your guard down at home though! Continue to follow our crime prevention tips below.

There is an organized crime group that has targeted a few vehicles at Lost Mountain Park and a couple at a parking lot on Villa Rica Rd. These are occurring during daytime hours at locations likely for women to leave their purses in the vehicles. Some of them were unlocked vehicles and others were smashed windows when the purses were left in open view. The criminals immediately use the stolen credit cards to purchase gift cards. They also have committed fraudulent bank transactions.

Ladies, keep your purses with you. We have also increased patrols in these areas.



We are still enjoying the lowest property crime rates in the county, yet do not become complacent!

  • Prevent Entering Autos by locking your vehicles, removing items of value, and items that appear to contain valuables.
  • Keep your vehicle locked and your purse or wallet on your person while fueling at the gas station. 
  • Prevent Burglaries and Theft by keeping garage doors closed, use security lighting and have some type of video recording device. 
  • Remember to CALL 911 to report any suspicious persons or activity. If you see something, say something!

Note: We review every suspicious person report and compare them to active cases. What you see may solve a case.



Cobb Department of Public Safety (DPS) staff is working to enhance the delivery of near real-time information to residents about incidents that may have significant and/or imminent impacts on their safety or welfare. DPS has implemented the SwiftReach Swift911 notification system to distribute these types of alerts.

SwiftReach is a high-speed emergency notification system that alerts residents to emergency situations including severe weather, missing and endangered persons or significant road closures due to fatality accidents or other unplanned incidents.

The program has the capability of delivering pre-recorded messages to the entire county via telephone, cell phone, email and text messaging. The system uses a publicly-available list of phone numbers that can be removed or updated by both residents and businesses.

There are two simple options to opt-in and provide contact information for this service. A sign up portal is available on the Police, Fire, EMA and Public Safety pages on the Cobb County website. Residents can also get the Swift911 Mobile App by texting the word “Swift911” to “99538.” The response text will be a link for the Swift 911 app in the app store. SwiftReach is another example of using current technology to ensure residents receive vital information from the Department of Public Safety. For more information, visit the Department of Public Safety page at and click on the SwiftReach icon.


If you have not already signed up to receive the monthly PENS updates, please subscribe. Feel free to forward this e-mail to your HOA members and local businesses.

Remain Safe and Vigilant,

Det. Lieutenant T. A. Nelson
Det. Sergeant W.R. Pettitt
Det. Sergeant R.E. Hecksher

Criminal Investigation Unit Pct. 5
4640 Dallas Highway
Powder Springs, GA 30127