In March 2011, the Cobb County Police Department received its second reaccreditation award from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. In addition, the department was named a Flagship Agency, which represents the top 10 percent of accredited agencies. The department has been accredited since 2005 and CALEA has helped demonstrate our excellence and professionalism on an international level.
The Cobb County 911 Center received an Accreditation with Excellence Award for 2011. Out of 104 agencies, only three were selected for the award created by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. It sets the benchmark for public safety professionalism. The center earned the award based on proven excellence and leadership in the “development and implementation of contemporary policies and procedures and advocating strategies that enhanced public safety emergency communications.”
The police department has started the process of replacing all in-car camera systems for patrol vehicles with digital technology. Digital technology allows for more efficient recording, transmission and storage of videos as well as enhanced communications with the judicial system. Three precincts and a number of special units completed the conversion to the digital system in 2011.
Training and full implementation of a new Records Management System was completed in February 2011. This system dramatically changes the business process for Cobb Police to include paperless reporting, real time crime analysis and electronic transmission of citations to the judicial system. Electronic reporting has reduced the amount of time officers previously spent hand writing reports and citations, therefore translating into more time for proactive patrol. Another benefit of the system is the new link on the Cobb County Police Department Web site, cobbpolice.com, that includes the ability for residents to retrieve accident reports online and a crime mapping link for searching crime occurrences in their area.
Cobb County 911 collaborated with the Cobb Department of Transportation to provide DOT camera feeds into the 911 center. The monitors are strategically placed around the center so all dispatchers can watch media updates, track weather events and monitor the DOT cameras. Information gained can dramatically reduce response time, provide opportunity to prepare for changing weather patterns and confirm scene safety information for responding units. When there is a significant incident on a roadway, 911 supervisors can temporarily control the angle of the DOT camera in order to obtain information which will expedite emergency response and provide vital road condition and scene safety updates.
Cobb County successfully completed the reconfiguration of the radio system infrastructure related to the Federal Communications Commission mandate, known as “rebanding.” This reconfiguration was completed on Cobb primary 800MHz radio system shared with several agencies in metro Atlanta. Prior to this work effort, both public safety and commercial cellular carriers had similar radio frequencies. Often times this created harmful interference to public safety communications. The completion of this task drastically reduces this harmful interference. There was no cost to Cobb County.
Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services placed Fire Station 30 on Windy Hill Road in Marietta into service April 1 and it was designed with a similar footprint to the recently opened stations such as Station 9 in the Austell area and Station 11 in the northwest. The double drive-through bay has the capacity to house nine crew members. Presently, an engine, rescue, and air truck are assigned to the Windy Hill Road location. At a cost of $1.5 million, the 8,500 square foot brick building also houses the Air Lab with a new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus compressor.
Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services placed four new rescue units into service at the beginning of 2011 at a cost of $442,972.
The HazMat Team was awarded a $20,000 Homeland Security grant for the continuation and enhancement of the department’s hazardous materials mitigation efforts. Cobb and Douglas Public Health Department awarded Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services a grant for $31,200 to provide phone service that will enable firefighters and public health workers to communicate during health emergencies.
The Georgia Search and Rescue Team was awarded a $20,000 Georgia Homeland Security grant for replacement and repair of equipment to be used for regional emergencies.
More than 19,000 students – both public and private – participated in lessons at the Cobb County Safety Village, a scaled-down version of the community designed to provide important safety lessons to youth, during the past year. The Georgia Power Corporation made a more than $17,000 donation of equipment to be used for the furtherance of fire and rescue capabilities. In August, the Chic-Fil-A Corporation donated $7,000 toward the construction of a burn house at to be used to film a live low-heat fire scenario conducted by Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services.
In 2011, Cobb County Animal Control department launched an in-house Veterinarian Program, which reduces the cost of medical care for the animals and provides treatment for the police department’s K-9 Unit.
The Animal Control shelter acquired x-ray equipment as well as replaced and upgraded to a high-efficiency heating and air condition system throughout the facility. The department also began the process to select a new ventilation and cooling system for the kennel area.
Cobb Animal Control also expanded its interaction with the public and concerned residents with the creation of a coordinator position to work with state licensed rescue groups. As part of the new Police2Citizen online application, the public can now do an inquiry on the Web for lost animals and those available for adoption at Animal Control.
Cobb County 911 implemented the Guardian Tracking software program to create a paperless e-filing system for employee personnel files, performance evaluations, awards and disciplinary actions.
Cobb Emergency Management Agency was awarded a $250,000 grant in 2008 to enhance the Emergency Operations Center. The EOC grant was revised in 2011 to accommodate changes in the county budget. The EOC will be renovated to better accommodate needs during activation, including updated technology and equipment. These additions will enable Cobb County to maintain a superior level of service to residents during a crisis.
Cobb County completed the upgrade of nine sirens in 2011. Five older model sirens were replaced and four sirens received a complete gear box upgrade, which will decrease maintenance costs and increase effectiveness. The total cost was $138 282, including approximately $41,427 from the Emergency Management Planning Grant provided through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
Cobb’s Community Emergency Response Team trained 95 new members in 2011. There are a total of 1,252 members who have been trained; the program continues to be the largest in the state. This year, six initial training courses and sixteen skills sustainment courses were offered to these volunteers.
In February 2011, the Cobb County Police Department set up a donation fund to specifically address the needs of the K-9 unit. The K-9 unit is a vital part of the department’s efforts to protect Cobb County. Police canines perform a broad range of essential functions, including patrol activities, narcotic detection and bomb detection. Donations to the fund will be utilized to assist the replacement of retired canines, help pay veterinarian expenses and assist with other costs associated with the dogs’ well-being.
The Cobb Police Athletic League Track team participated in its first spring track season. The team was made up of 75 children, ages 6 to 14, from the south Cobb area. They competed in eight county track meets; one regional meet and 11 participants qualified and competed in the state meet bringing home 10 medals. Police officers volunteered more than 500 hours to coach and mentor the track team during the spring season. Cobb PAL helps prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing civic, athletic, recreational and educational opportunities.
A 4-foot section of a twisted and charred steel beam from the World Trade Center was given to the Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services Department. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offered artifacts free of charge to public safety agencies throughout the nation. The artifact is currently on display at the Safety Village on Al Bishop Drive in Marietta.