Cobb County Police are about to get some reinforcements. WSB’s Pete Combs reports the county commission Tuesday night voted unanimously to authorize more feet on the beat.
Stung by criticism from former Public Safety Director Jack Forsyth, who called the manpower shortage at the Cobb Police Department nothing short of a crisis, Commissioners voted to hire 40 new officers. That will enable the department to close gaps where, at times, there are no officers on any beat in a particular precinct.
That usually happens at shift change, where officers return to the precinct at the end of their and turn their vehicles over to cops who are just coming on shift. That problem is eliminated by having officers on 10 hour shifts, said County Chairman Tim Lee.
“So police officers aren’t coming in as a group and leaving as a group. Ten hour shifts allow us to stagger them so that there are always officers on the road,” Lee said.
The ten-hour shift has been in place on an experimental basis in Precinct 2 for more than a year now, according to Cobb Police. The immediate hiring of 40 more officers will allow that program to expand into two more precincts.
“What this means is that officers get 52 more off days a year,” said Police Chief John Houser. “We also have seen a 36-percent decrease in overtime.”
Right now, Cobb has 609 officers. This move will increase the force to 649 and Lee said he hopes the commission will approve another 30 or 40 officers before the end of 2016.