MARIETTA — For nearly 50 years, the Cobb County Police Department’s command staff spent their days working out of a dim, low-slung brick building on North Marietta Parkway.
Chief Tim Cox, who started his career in that building, hopes the department’s new headquarters on Fairground Street will serve them just as long.
“We spent so many years trying to put people into every nook and cranny,” Cox said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility Thursday. “I think we can get by with a couple years of not having to do that.”
One should think so. The five-story former LGE Community Credit Union building, purchased by the county for $13.5 million with 2016 special purpose local option sales tax dollars, gives the department a wealth of added office space and a number of advantages over its old home.
Homicide and internal affairs units have now been consolidated in a central location, with the bank’s former vault being repurposed into an evidence locker. A large room has been set aside for the department’s real time crime center — a sprawling video board which will monitor crimes in progress around the county through closed-circuit video channels. Forthcoming is a garage behind the building for examination and analysis of vehicles involved in crimes.
Most pertinent to the public are the expanded counters for the records and alcohol pour license departments, the latter of which serves some 13,000 to 14,000 people a year.
“That’s just a few things that are going to make this building a great place for the Cobb County Police Department — that is making this place already a great place for us,” Cox added.
Undeterred by the threat of rain, Thursday’s event was well-attended by county commissioners, department heads, and police command staff. Sheriff Craig Owens and State Rep. Devan Seabaugh, R-Marietta, came to offer their congratulations as well.
“I want to say thank you to all of our law enforcement that are here today and work for us every day to keep us safe … We do it right in Cobb, and we are the best,” said Commissioner JoAnn Birrell.
Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said “Public safety is a priority for this county, and that’s what helps make our county great.”
Cupid and others were also keen to chalk up the new headquarters as a vindication of SPLOST programs; Deputy County Manager Jimmy Gisi called it “a shining example of what SPLOST can do for our community.”
Added Public Safety Director Randy Crider, “A lot of time when we build these buildings, a lot of our community will say, ‘What are you building those Taj Mahal fire stations for?’ Well, those many times are people who have a lack of vision. We have to build buildings in this county that will last us for the next 50 years, in order to be good stewards of taxpayer money.”