Cobb County offers bonuses for new 911 call operators

Cobb County authorities say they have stabilized the critical 911 office by handing out huge bonuses that have brought in new people. 

The response has been great, with 900 applicants since the program was announced at the beginning of the year. 

It is a two-tiered financial incentive. For applicants with experience, the county provides an $8,000 signing bonus. Those without any experience who clear the application process are getting a $4,000 up-front payment. 

"We have reduced our vacancies to less than 10%," said Desmond Harris, who works for Cobb Country Emergency Communications.

Cobb County political leaders took aggressive action after hearing complaints last September about a lack of staffing. The agency had 30 vacancies at that time. 

Currently, 36 individuals are taking classes for the full-time jobs. 

Authorities say the bonuses, on top of a higher than usual starting salary -- $48,000 -- are paying off. Retaining the people is the goal given the county invests six months of training at a minimum for each applicant.