Cobb PD seeks to recruit 70 officers
by Leo Hohmann
lhohmann@mdjonline.com
April 13, 2013 12:15 AM | 6997 views | 6 6 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb County Police Department wants to hire 70 police officers by the beginning of next year.

The department’s regular advertisement states that certified officers and candidates with no previous law enforcement experience are welcome to apply.

If you can cut it, the pay is pretty good, especially for a job that doesn’t require a college degree. You’ll start at $38,355 and get bumped up to $40,185 after 18 months on the job.

Applicants are required to be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You can’t have any felony convictions on your record, but you can have up to two misdemeanors for charges such as theft or simple battery. A sex crime, a misdemeanor that shows “disrespect for law enforcement” or public order will get you scratched from the pool of applicants. Likewise for any domestic violence or crimes against children.

Police retirement benefits are also much better than most private-sector jobs would offer.

You’ll find Cobb police recruiters at local job fairs and on military bases. They post their ads in the Marietta Daily Journal, on TV 23, even on Facebook.

Yet, the Cobb Police Department still is having difficulty finding recruits.

Making a push to fill gaps

“We are experiencing a shortage, and we have a big push on right now to get a bunch of positions filled,” said Kathleen Daniel, manager of human resources for the county.

The department is seeking to fill spots vacated by retirements or other departures, said Sgt. Victor Verola, a 19-year veteran who heads up the department’s hiring and recruitment efforts.

“I don’t know if it’s the pay because I don’t know if people necessarily go for jobs because of the pay,” Verola said. “I’m not sure why we don’t get more and better applicants. I just don’t think a lot of the qualified people are coming our way. I find a lot of the younger people today are looking for other jobs, in other professions, that maybe require more education.”

Graduating the academy

Before the department can hire a new recruit, he or she must graduate from the Cobb police academy. That involves a rigorous physical fitness test, shooting skills tests and classroom studies. There is also a pre-placement medical exam, drug screening, polygraph test, oral interviews and a comprehensive background investigation.

Right now, the Cobb County police force should be at 608 officers if it were fully staffed, “but we have 40 openings right now, so we’re down,” Verola said.

The 608-officer capacity hasn’t changed much over the past five years, Verola said, even as the city has seen moderate growth in population over that time.

“We haven’t increased our number in some time,” he said.

That’s why the next two police academies are seen as critical.

The first opens on July 1 and will last for 23 weeks, or just shy of five months. Another academy will commence in early January.

Verola said the department’s goal is to graduate 30 recruits in the July academy, then another 40 in January’s academy.

He encourages men and women of all ages who are interested in a career in law enforcement to apply for a spot in the academy.

“We’re trying to do our best to seek ambitious men and women who are looking to have a career in law enforcement and are not just looking for a job,” he said. “I want to hire people who want to retire from Cobb County Police Department.”

But he concedes that the physical fitness portion of the academy can be strenuous on people older than 50 years of age. There have been exceptions, though.

“We’ve had people in their early 60s. We had one guy who came in at 61 and graduated academy at maybe 62, but let’s just say he’s a well-fit man. Still is,” Verola said. “Usually, people 50 and above have difficulty making it, and by 60 they don’t typically pass our fitness test.”

Verola also encourages women to apply.

“Women are extremely detail-oriented, and they do extremely well investigating crimes against children and sexual offenses,” he said. “We just try to do the recruitment and convince people it’s a good career.”
Comments
(6)
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disgrntldcopper
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April 24, 2013
Since this article was published the officer interviewed and his supervisor have been transfered. I guess ole Willy Jones and his new lap dog Jack Forsyth didn't like them pointing out the big pink elephant in the room.
Crime is Down
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April 15, 2013
Crime is actually down about 10%.
Just Wait
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April 13, 2013
Why would anyone want to work in government anymore? The public views government employees as blood suckers on the tax payers. Cobb County has had 1 pay raise in 5 years, severely cut back on the retirement program and eliminated health benefits for future retirees. I'm sure the public loves this, but not future employees. It's no wonder they are accepting applicants with criminal histories and have admitted drug use. The citizens of Cobb County will only get what they pay for.
Bob Bummer
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April 13, 2013
Because law enforcement and criminal justice jobs are in demand because crime is up due to the lack of jobs in the great U S of A. The police jobs tend to be the last to get furloughed and I think most still come with a pension. I saw an episode of Independent Lens on PBS and I learned that this country uses the drug war to not only keep people locked up for life but to also employ entire communities in state prison like in Oklahoma. This country spent over 1 trillion dollars on the drug war since 1971 without making a dent in drug use.
Pat H
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April 13, 2013
Please give first priority to vets returning from active duty in combat zones.
tired of it
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April 13, 2013
I am proud of the Cobb County Police Dept, but lately they seem to be hiring guys with huge attitudes. Of course in the academy they are taught they are "the balm". Houser you need to train these guys to be decent like the ones YOU went to the academy with and the guys before you. The PD has a reputation of the newer guys with attitudes. Remember the way some of the now retired cops were and have them be more like them.
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