Cobb County's new public safety director plans to address staffing ‘crisis'

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On any given day, Cobb County police, deputies, firefighters, and others under the Department of Public Safety are servicing more than one million people.

That’s about 2,000 employees with a budget of about $180 million.

Those numbers according to new Public Safety Director Michael Register-on the job less than two weeks.

“It keeps me awake at night because I truly want to be an advocate for the men and women,” said Register.

The former Cobb County Police Chief and Clayton County Police Chief is moving into his new office as many public safety employees are moving out.

“We’re certainly down over 100 personnel from our authorized strength,” said Register.

At the Cobb County Commission meetings, there has been an outcry for better pay and benefits for public safety employees to stop the talent drain to other agencies.

Chairman Mike Boyce has proposed a five percent pay raise.

“I’m very optimistic that will be that or possibly more,” said Director Register.

He said he’s working with commissioners for the maximum raise possible, adding there may be an additional pay incentive.

“What does that mean additional incentive? We’re still working the figures,” said Director Register.

Figures which will only grow because Register said public safety call volumes are expanding by four percent a year.

That means exploring innovative services like drone surveillance at park trails and increased community partnerships.

Ultimately Register said what doesn’t change is the public’s expectations.

“There’s never a decrease of expectations of us doing our job,” said Register.