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Goreham: Public Safety Is No. 1

Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham held a town-hall meeting Thursday night and addressed the problem of officers leaving the Cobb police force.

About 60 Cobb residents gathered Thursday night at the North Cobb Senior Center in Acworth to voice concerns to northwest

And one of those concerns was the issue of leaving the county ranks.

"I just hate to see us lose good officers because they go to another county and can make more money," said west Cobb resident Larry Smith after asking Goreham what commissioners plan to do about the problem.

"Public safety is No. 1 here in Cobb County," said Goreham, adding that all county employees are feeling the pinch of fewer dollars available in the county budget. "We're trying our darnedest to see what we have available, but money is tight, and our property values are still decreasing."

said he discussed the issue before the November-December grand jury, which recommended better pay and more benefits for police.

While the department has always lost officers within the 600-member police force, Houser said now they are leaving for smaller city departments—something that didn’t used to happen. "People are taking our best," he said. "It's not dire yet, but, if it continues, it could be a problem."

who attended the town-hall meeting, said he plans to meet with Houser next week to discuss how to attack the problem. One issue is having a "take-home" car program for officers.

Hankerson said that coming up with the money to provide that many cars is difficult. “To go from 100-something cars to 600 is very costly."

Other issues raised at the meeting were the need for more roundabouts and training on how to navigate them, and safety of county bridges.

Goreham voted in favor of last summer's Board of Commissioners decision to

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