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.
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.
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.
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.
Major Cox was promoted to Deputy Chief in May 2013.
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.
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.
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 In February of 2014, department personnel and resources are 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.
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 4PM and 12AM) received an additional $0.50 for all hours worked. Officers who work the "Morning Shift" (majority of scheduled hours are between 12AM and 8AM) 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.
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 Sirche 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.
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.
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 Degreee receive $1,000 of extra pay annually. Officers with a Bachelor's Degree receive $2,000 of extra pay each year. And, those officers who possess 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.
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.
The department continued to expand the body camera program with the purchase of 100 body cameras.
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.
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.