Cobb County could spend millions hiring dozens of officers - CBS46 News

Cobb County could spend millions hiring dozens of police officers

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Residents of Cobb County could see an increase in police presence over the next few years. Police Chief John Houser is requesting the funding for 40 additional officers.

The officers would be split between two precincts as well as fill in open positions in Criminal Investigations and Special Operations.

The hiring of personnel alone would cost Cobb County $1.58 million. It's something Houser says the county has available in the GF Salary Contingency Fund.

If approved, the request would allow the police department to begin recruiting and hiring the staff they need to switch the two precincts over to a new 10-hour shift.

In the request, Houser wrote the overlapping shifts will improve officer performance by boosting morale, enhancing preparedness due to less mental and physical fatigue and overall creating a better quality of life.

This kind of work schedule is currently being used by the police department at precinct two, based out of Mableton.

According to Tim Lee, chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, Houser has not decided which of the four remaining precincts would switch over to the new schedule yet.

That doesn't really matter though, according to Lee, who says the county is financially capable of making this move.

"We are in a position now where our budgets are tight, things are improving, but they are still not where they used to be; so we keep all that in balance and we make good decisions," said Lee. "[The] priority is to make sure that folks that live here and visit here feel safe, and the police officers are enthusiastic about their job."

The annual salary and benefits for the 40 officers is expected to cost the county nearly $2.8 million.

According to Lee, that won't likely hit the budget until fiscal year 2015-16.

The total budgetary increase is likely to be much higher as he expects to be receiving another request for even more additional officers to complete the switchover by then as well.

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