Cobb schools eye purchase of 17 new police cars
by Lindsay Field
July 24, 2013 12:22 AM | 4897 views | 28 28 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cobb County School District wants to spend more than a half-million dollars on police cars to help campus resource officers respond to security needs.

The Cobb School Board today will consider approving a $530,000 contract with Hardy Chevrolet Inc. of Dallas and Akin Ford Corp. of Winder to purchase 17 marked police cars for the school district’s 38 campus officers who serve 112 schools.

Funding would come from SPLOST III.

Ron Storey, the director of public safety in Cobb Schools, said the purchase of these 17 cars is the first phase of his department’s plan to help resource officers respond better to safety problems.

“Initially, we will have one marked vehicle available for officers assigned to each high school and an additional car for supervisory personnel providing support across the county,” Storey said Tuesday.

Each car, which will come to about $31,000 each, will be outfitted with blue lights and will be clearly marked with the public safety insignia. Maintenance for the fleet will be provided by the district’s transportation department.

Storey said each officer now uses his or her personal car to drive to and from work and between campuses, but is reimbursed for mileage. They are paid 51 cents per mile, but information about how many total miles were reported by the department last school year was not available at press time Tuesday.

“This model of operations is not ideal for appropriate emergency response and is a liability for the district and our supportive community law enforcement agencies,” the director said.

School Board Chair Randy Scamihorn said he has mixed feelings about the purchase.

“But I have been reassured that in today’s climate of societal issues, that these cars are needed not only for rapid response but for also transporting any necessary individuals,” he said. “And it was voted on in SPLOST III so I’m going to be willing to try it.”

And if the cars don’t work out as planned, Scamihorn suggested that maybe they be used in another department later on.

These will not be the first cars purchased for the public safety department.

District spokesman Doug Goodwin said there are a “few” cars already used by department personnel, including a K-9 vehicle for Sgt. Mike Rolfe, but he was not able to get the exact number of cars before press time.

A resource officer’s duties entail enforcing state and local laws and the school district’s policies while on campuses.

There is one officer at each of the 16 high schools, additional officers for each middle school clusters and at elementary schools as needed.

Storey said their officers also work closely with the county and city police agencies when responding to criminal activity on school campuses, and that the Sheriff’s Office serves warrants and transports suspects.

Comments
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Mr.Smartzone
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July 29, 2013
Cobb Camplus Police are in fact, chartered under the state as a department of public safety. All officers are GA POST certified law enforcement officers with full arrest powers, conduct traffic investigations, issue citations, swear out warrants, and are empowered by state law to do anything any other certified L.E.O can do, so long as their agency allows or instructs them to.

They are campus police who are generally assigned to a specific school campus and rarely leave that area unless to or from work, or to a school event.

Cobb BOE PD has, as long as I have been alive (and am a former student and graduate of the Cobb school system) never engaged in active "patrols" except during the summer, when they check campuses at random times to guard against unauthorized use, vandalism, etc. They don't (and to my knowledge) are not authorized to engage or participate in pursuits, or go off campus except when directed to do so by their schools for details like football games, proms, field trips, etc- and there is no reason they require a $31,000 patrol car equipped for regular street patrol officer use with stuff like dash cams, cages, push bumpers, high tech light bars, etc.

This is wasteful spending. The same type of wasteful spending this board is known for, like overpaying for communication devices, shutting down a vitally important alternative school and replacing it with some virtual academy. Or replacing perfectly functioning video cameras with new ones.

If they need new cars for their use, they should be regular fleet cars- even retired Cobb county police or SO vehicles. This is just another example of how this school board is trying to be the leader in the RACE TO WASTE, at a time when schools are overcrowded, and teachers are leaving for systems that pay better.

so long as there are kids in overcrowded classrooms, and a teacher/bus driver shortage, the board needs to re-think where they spend their money.

We don't want to see our millage rate increase to keep supporting this RACE TO WASTE when their are alternatives for every "problem" that certain vendors tell them they have a "solution" for.
Harrison Mom
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July 29, 2013
Voice of reason, thank you. The "cop" at our school years ago was much more interested in flirting with my high school aged daughter than in "pursuing" anyone.

Cobb citizens pay good money for great police protection. Let's allow the county and duplicating city jurisdictions to answer real calls to all our schools, the same way we've always done it. Resource officers are there like security guards. They DO NOT NEED vehicles and the attendant costs that go with them. Whose idea was this anyway? The embattled Transportation Dept head? That group can't even handle bus maintenance.
Cobb School Advocate
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July 24, 2013
The officers are assigned to schools, just like staff - so I assume these are NOT take home cars and will be sitting at the schools 24/7.

The officers need " RTV's" or " scooters to better cover their BEAT which is the school - buy a car for the supervisor and be done with it !

Put it to the bottom of the SPLOSH list and maybe a waste of money will not happen !
Shocked...
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July 24, 2013
I am shocked that police officers don't already have cars and that this is an issue.

The same things happening in the community happen in schools. The importance of being able to quickly respond to emergencies and having a secure place to secure violent or combative prisoners is important.

If you are going to have officers in school, give them the equipment they need to do the job right.
anonymous
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July 29, 2013
The same police that protect our businesses can protect our schools. That would be the CCPD.
respond to what?
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July 24, 2013
Just what will the need to respond to so "rapidly?" its not like they need to beat the County's police on the scene or that they have some special training...also, why are they being purchased from dealerships outside of Cobb? That means Paulding (Hardy's location) gets the 6% registration fee.

Also, as their jurisdiction is only on school property, why do they need lights/sirens? They are not exempt from traffic laws like regular police.

Also, if they are supposedly leaving their school to "rapidly respond" to another school, well then I guess bad guys now know to cause a diversion at another school and the others will be unprotected.
Just Wait
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July 24, 2013
First, government does not pay taxes and second, campus police are "regular" police and have jurisdiction off campus.
Say What??
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July 24, 2013
Dear Respond to What? Need to have a clue before you post. The School Board is a Government Entity and does not pay registration fee's. On top of that vehicle registration fee's are paid in the county that the vehicle resides, not where it is purchased. That's why you are required to buy a tag that has a Cobb County sticker on it. The School Board doesn't pay State Sales Tax either!!.

I can think of several schools where violent incidents have occurred. Sad that some citizens do not want to properly equip the officers assigned to protect our kids. We are not talking about excessive, unnecessary equipment. We are talking about vehicles these officer need to perform their duties.
Specop
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July 24, 2013
This is way overdue. Cobb is the only Campus Police in the state without patrol cars. Using your personal car as a police car is bad business. Insurance companies will deny any claim for that officer if he or she damages their personal vehicle being used as a police vehicle. No warning lights, siren etc...Emergency at a neighboring school, they should take their time getting there in their own vehicle. Then they can't do much upon arrival. They have 4 vehicles total, one K9, 3 supervisory personnel. That's it. How can you call yourself the Police without police cars and equipment?
why respond
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July 25, 2013
why would other school police officers be responding to other schools? If anything happens that requires more police presence, the CCPD will send officers. This is a pure boondoggle!
No clue why respond
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July 28, 2013
Why respond? I guess we will pull CCPD officers off their beats so your house can get broken into while they help the campus officers! Of course if the campus officer at another school had a patrol car then the officers from CCPD wouldn't have to respond.
LeChat
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July 24, 2013
Some county departments use ex county police cars for their fleets. Not good enough for a school board with "free" money burning holes in their pockets?
anonymous
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July 28, 2013
Thats the best idea, as a matter of fact cobb county govt has several crown vics that could be leased to the BOE. Which would save us taxpayers a ton of money as the cars are already equiped, and the county police are already admist a vehicle replacement campaign. Its a win win.

Used cars are a much better solutuion for BOE police officers as the cars are used primarliy for admistravtive purposes rather than patrol so theduty cycle use will be much lower than a county police patrol car.

So....

cobb county govt. Lease or sale 17 patrol cars to cobb BOE at the blue book pricea and lets get this over with

Just Wait
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July 24, 2013
I can't believe the comments posted here. I'd bet the price of these cars that if any posters little Johnny or Joanie got into some kind of trouble, they would be first to scream about "where are the campus officers?" They would be there, but they are stuck in traffic driving their 51 cent a mile personal cars to the school. But that's O.K. You'll just sue the school system for not taking care of your baby and it will cost 3 times the price of cars to settle. No problem.
CCPD
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July 25, 2013
The CCPD will cover anyting needing more than the campus police.
Mike In Smyrna
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July 24, 2013
Why do we have a stand-alone police force for the school system? Is it seasonal employment? What are the officer's responsibilities during the winter break and summer months? Why not merge the school police force with the Cobb County police force? It should be a division of the Cobb County police force. There would have to be some economies of scope.
anonymous
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July 28, 2013
Because. Parents want the officers in our schools to answer to the principal. Or other district officials. And it just makes sense. The. BOE is a seperate government enity like the cities are, But. I will agree much cooperation between these govt enities will save us tax payers money

Here a funny. Though, the crossing gaurdsin service at our schools Are employees of the county police department.
TAMMY OSBORNE
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July 24, 2013
At least they kept sales dollars in lout county

BY
More money
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July 24, 2013
One more thing to be taken out of the general fund is maintenance on these vehicles. Our 2% will never be restored for teachers and furlough days will be permanent! Worry about everything else not related to teaching though!
Cobb Mom of 2
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July 24, 2013
I completely agree. They couldn't cover the budget this year but can buy police cars and afford to lower the millage rate for next year. Is the Cobb County Board of Education trying to eradicate public education in this county?
@ Cobb Mom of 2
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July 25, 2013
The budget is from SPLOST... it's covered.

The operations budget has the shortfall. Different buckets.

You're confused on the lowering of the millage rate... that is the Marietta School System, not the Cobb County School District.
it's FreeeeEEEeEEE
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July 24, 2013
$530,000 for 17 brand spanking new cars

That meaans $132,500 of instant depreciation of the taxpayer dollars spent on these contraptions

And the school board could not possibly care less about the UP FRONT money because "it was voted on in SPLOST III so I’m going to be willing to try it.”

Beyond the $530,000 up front cost, cars cost money forever. Gas, maintenance, insurance, wrecks, injuries, wrongful deaths.

51 cents a mile for using personal cars sounds like it was a good deal for the taxpayer unless of course we ended up having school resource ostifers driving hybrids or full-electrics (plugged in at schools for recharging of course) all over the place needlessly just to collect the 51 cents per unneccesary mile, but no ostifer would EVER do that, would they...

So, schools have fleets of school buses. Couldn't the resource officers drive the special buses between schools during the school day when they are not being used? They're just sitting there all dang day and we spent $530,000, to start, on new cars (probably from the dealership where cousin Jim Bob "works").

Did the brand new cars come with overpriced brand new AR-15s in the trunk since they are for "rapid response" ... "in today's social climate" ?

SPLOST is out of control. The only thing "special" about it is the amount of "free" taxpayer money for the schools.
another comment
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July 24, 2013
The real way to save money would be to consolidate the "Special Bus" runs. So many of those buses run with only one student on. I sat behind them in the pick up line so many times. 1 child per bus. Sometimes they would even use a full size bus, with only 1 student on. It would make so much more sense to consolidate those 5 or 6 buses that I would see at the school, and put an Aide on the bus to Assist the driver. It costs money to have all those busses and drivers. You can find a lot of Senior Citizens or Veterans that would be willing to work as an Aide on this bus and sit with these special children. Just having a bus driver and these children is too much at times.

Then I see these Special Buses all sitting at the Chevron in between Elementary and High School runs, because they have to kill time. They only drop off one kid vs 20 plus of the regular bus so they are killing time. They leave the bus running the whole time they are in the Chevron getting a Coffee or soda. I see this day after day, with at least two of these buses.

Several of the High Schools have at least two cops at several of the schools. A lot of this is caused by weak Principals. Principals only promoted due to their race, not merit.
Unbelievable10
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July 24, 2013
Yee gad. Does not anyone deny anymore this society is not in a state of despair that needs help to purchase 17 marked police cars for the school district’s 38 campus officers who serve 112 schools? Lawd. Lawd. Lawd. When I was in school in Cobb County, never did it ever enter anyone's mind that police were needed. What has moved into this county to corrupt it so? I hate to say it, but crime statistics answer the question as to we can't leave our windows anymore as we used to be able to.
To Unbelieveable
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July 24, 2013
It is the elephant in the room and everyone has to be politically correct. We are now a minority majority school district and facts are facts. The black and Hispanic populations have forced us to have campus police. It is not racist but fact. Just like McEachern was the number one school 20 years ago and now toward the bottom. Why? Demographics shifted. Just a fact! Thankful my kids are out of school now!
another comment
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July 24, 2013
The problem is the Trayvon Martin's of the world.

The real downfall was the when Atlanta tore down the Housing Projects right before the Olympics and handed out Section 8 Vouchers. They encouraged those folks to go to the surrounding counties.

This combined with the years of lack of zoning in Cobb, Smyrna and Marietta, along with Fulton lead to Apartments being built in the 60's and 70's falling into total disrepair by landlords just taking the Section 8 checks. Many of the Apartments from the 70's and early 80's were built for Adults only then the big downfall came when someone sued in the late 80's and they had to open up Apartments that were never intended for families to people with Children.

People should be able to afford to live in a single family house if they are going to have children. Either own or rent. These apartment communities were not set up for family living.
anonymous
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July 28, 2013
Wow really we have had campus police for over 30 years here in cobb so what was the excuse then.

Many of you need to get over your selves trayvon martin was a victim.. The. Ct school shooter didnt look anything like trayvon martin. White people stop pulling out the race card, lets face it our problems in todays society are more related to lake of parenting and holding children accountable for their actictions or inactions rather their race. So for the next 90 days can we address a socital problem with out using a racial excuse.

Reality Check Please
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July 29, 2013
Always good to know bigotry is still alive and well. Trayvon Martin? Nice comments, typical redneck response. Same ignorant bigotry cost us Olympic venues back in 1996.

Haven't you "mighty whiteys" all moved to Dougal County or FORsyth county yet to be on the next season of Squidbillies?
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