BoC approves purchase of public safety equipment
by Rachel Gray
May 25, 2014 04:00 AM | 2148 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia Search and Rescue staff from Cobb Fire train with equipment used to stabilize a vehicle to remove an injured person.<br>Special to the MDJ
Georgia Search and Rescue staff from Cobb Fire train with equipment used to stabilize a vehicle to remove an injured person.
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — The Cobb Board of Commissioners has approved spending $408,679 for police firearms, search and rescue equipment repairs and a pilot system to monitor response times by Cobb Fire.

On May 13, commissioners voted 5-0 to select Clyde Armory of Bogart as the vendor to provide Cobb Police with 265 patrol rifles at a cost of $1,336 per officer, for a total of $354,136.

In 2012, the Cobb Police Department purchased 385 patrol rifles through the 2011 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Before the recent upgrades, Sam Heaton, Cobb’s public safety director, said Cobb officers were using 1970-era M16 rifles.

The first round of orders in 2012 began the process of equipping each officer with a rifle to carry in the field, along with their side arm, while on patrol, Heaton said.

The next batch of orders will equip the remaining officer positions. Heaton said there are 650 sworn officer positions with the Cobb Police and 75 of those are vacant.

The rifle deliveries will arrive in groups of about 50, Heaton said, until the entire order is filled by the end of summer or mid-fall at the latest.

Last month, the BoC granted up to $266,000 to purchase protective gear, such as ballistic carriers/plates and helmets, to place with each Cobb Police officer or detective.

Heaton said the new rifles and ballistic equipment are necessary for officers to quickly respond to a critical incident, such as last month’s mass shooting by an employee of the FedEx sorting facility in Kennesaw.

“It is really about the safety of the officers,” Heaton said.

Search and rescue

On May 13, commissioners also approved 5-0 the acceptance of $20,102 in federal Homeland Security funds through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency in equipment repairs for Cobb’s search and rescue team.

In 2004, commissioners allowed Cobb Fire to enter into an agreement to become a member of the Georgia Search and Rescue Team, which is used to locate, extricate and provide immediate medical treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures.

Other life-saving operations may include extracting drivers from crushed vehicles, tunneling through wreckage, completing a river rescue or rappelling to a victim.

Cobb Fire Chief Randy Crider said six Georgia Search and Rescue units were placed around the metro area using federal Homeland Security grant money to provide equipment, vehicles, maintenance and training to the specialized response teams.

For the ongoing efforts, Cobb Fire received $20,102 last week, which does not require a local match.

Crider said the Cobb search and rescue unit has four people.

In 2004, Cobb Fire acquired a tractor-trailer to store the rescue and search equipment. Crider said the money from the grant will go to repair or replace existing equipment.

Pilot program

In the same May 13 meeting, commissioners approved 5-0 to spend $34,441 on computer equipment and software to implement a pilot program that would manage and analyze emergency response data.

Crider said it would be used to pinpoint how the department can best utilize resources and improve service delivery.

The report given to commissioners says Cobb Fire has more than 700 staff answering about 52,000 calls annually for fire and emergency services.

Crider said there are four people on staff with Cobb Fire who, until now, have manually tracked calls and response times, so software and hardware equipment was needed to automatically create more detailed and timely reports.

One metric Crider expects the pilot program to show is the high call volume in the Kennesaw State University area at Bells Ferry and Wade Green roads.

The reports will show exact response times and if units had to come from farther way because the closest unit was already on a call.

The data could then be used to justify a request Crider could make to commissioners for more personnel by moving units from another area. He also said metrics could show a need for more firefighters or additional fire stations.

“I am very excited for what this will do from a service standpoint to make our system better,” Crider said.

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May 25, 2014
It's nice that the BoC is buying equipment to help keep our police officers safe. Unfortunately, they can't eat guns and helmets. I bet they would appreciate a pay increase more.
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