The start-up cost for 40 officers in the first year of employment is $3.3 million.
After that, the annual cost is $2.7 million.
Start-up costs do not include a police car, but do include a gun, uniform, vest and radio, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Cobb’s previous public safety director, Jack Forsythe, resigned in a scathing Jan. 6 letter where he accused County Manager David Hankerson of blocking efforts to help a police force Forsythe said lacks the resources to keep the public safe.
When commissioners appointed Heaton as Forsythe’s successor, they tasked him with bringing forward a plan that addressed Forsythe’s concerns.
The 40 new police positions is part of that plan, county Chairman Tim Lee said.
The new positions will allow Cobb Police Chief John Houser to move closer to his goal of having officers on a 10-hour schedule.
About a year ago, Houser conducted a pilot program where officers in one of Cobb’s five police precincts went from working five, eight-hour days a week to four, 10-hour days.
Houser found that new schedule cut down on overtime while placing more police on the streets, Lee said.
The 40 additional officers will allow three of Cobb’s five police precincts to switch to Houser’s preferred schedule.
It will take another 40 officers after that, bringing the force to 689, before all five precincts are on the new schedule.
Lee expects the second batch of 40 officers to be hired in 2015 or 2016.
“We have to get personnel through training and we can only do so many so fast,” Lee said.
Lee said those 80 additional police officers are not part of the security plan with the new Atlanta Braves stadium coming online in 2017.
“We’re nowhere near to knowing what any additional impact the Braves will have on us,” Lee said.
But since the stadium and entertainment district won’t open until 2017, there is plenty of time to figure that out, he said.
“It’s just like any other development that occurs in Cobb County,” he said. “If we have property that is vacant and gets developed, we have to assess whether or not we have to add additional resources to it, that’s what the county does.”
Lee said there was a “high probability” that a new police precinct would be built by the new stadium.
Heaton announced his plan to request the 40 additional police officers in an email to commissioners and police officers on Thursday. He also said 37 patrol cars — Ford Interceptors — have been ordered and are scheduled to arrive in March for a cost of $875,844.
Another eight Ford Interceptor patrol cars have been approved for fiscal 2014 at a cost of $189,371 along with 22 unmarked detective cars for a cost of $521,146, Quigley said.
In addition, the county will conduct a pay and compensation study this year to determine whether county staff are paid competitively. Heaton said he was also working to supply all officers with patrol rifles.
Lee called it a step in the right direction.
“It’s important for us to do what we need to do internally to make sure the police officers are working at top efficiency and effectiveness and feel that they’re being appreciated and getting a fair dollar for a fair day’s work, and when we get a little bit of imbalance and the controversy occurred with Forsythe leaving and Sam coming in, it’s important for us to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to make sure police protection of the visitors of Cobb County and our citizens is where it needs to be,” he said.
Lee said he does not anticipate a tax increase in paying for the police department’s needs.
“What we’re doing here we have the money in our current budget to do. There’s no tax considerations at all with this program,” Lee said.