Cobb County Government

1970 - 1989


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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) was established, replacing the Roving Task Force.




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.




The Cobb Regional Police Academy graduated twenty-two mandate classes from seventy-five agencies in North Georgia before it ceased operations on June 9, 1978. Lt. Henry Higgins was the last academy director. No Cobb Officers graduated from the last class.

The Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) formed the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy in Marietta.

Sergeant Jim Fulwood designed and constructed the first firing range for the Cobb County Police Department on Clay Road off of Austell Road. At the time Sergeant Fulwood used a lot of his own personal time and money to make his dream come true. Sergeant Fulwood was named the first Range Master.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.