A conversation with Cobb Sheriff officials about the current recruitment drive

Cobb Sheriff's Department vehicle at Cobb government office in article about detainee deathCobb Sheriff's Department vehicle at Cobb government office (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

We spoke with Major Marvin Prince and one of his recruitment officers, Investigator Irvin McClure about the hiring drive underway with the goal of hiring 100+ recruits at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

Prince began by saying that there are about seventy unfilled positions that are creating issues because of the sheriff’s responsibility for the Cobb County jail.

He said the Cobb County Adult Detention Center is the second largest jail in the state, after Dekalb County.

“When your jail population is affected, which is one of the primary assignments of the sheriff’s office, then that creates a problem almost everywhere else, in every division of the Sheriff’s Office, because the jail has to operate, regardless,” he said.

The Courier asked if the well-publicized problems at the jail, which included the death of inmates, prior to Sheriff Owens’ election were due to understaffing.

Prince said, “I’m not able to respond on that. The jail is not under by umbrella.”

Asked to describe the range of jobs available during the recruitment drive, Investigator McClure said the jobs include technicians, criminal justice specialists, sworn deputies, and detention officers.

The Courier asked if detention officers are sworn officers.

Prince said while the deputy sheriffs are sworn officers, the detention officers are not sworn officers in the State of Georgia.

When asked if detention officers were new positions, Prince said, “In the beginning we had detention officers, until maybe 18 years ago, and then they were done away with until recently.”

“Detention officers have come back in a support role for sheriff’s deputies,” he said.

Investigator McClure said, “They were here prior to (Sheriff Owens) coming in, but he sort of reactivated and provided the resources to utilize this detention officer position to assist us until we can establish the proper manpower.”

The Courier said that Sheriff Owens’ announcement of the hiring blitz referred to a recruiting trip to Puerto Rico, and a reader had asked why, and how much this would cost.

Maj. Prince said that he did not know the cost, but the reason Sheriff Owens plans recruitment in Puerto Rico is his contacts in the military there.

He said that military officers make excellent law enforcement officers.

“They have the discipline, they have the training that’s taught during their their service,” he said. “They really make good police officers when they want to return home and serve their community.”

Asked what a person interested in applying for a job with the Sheriff’s Office should expect, Prince said that a prospective hire is eligible with a high school diploma or a GED, and the the Sheriff’s Office will provide the training.

He also said the department encourages higher education, and offers an education reimbursement program after the employee has been enrolled in school for a year.

Saba Long, who leads the Sheriff’s Office communication efforts, told the Courier that diversity is a factor in the recruiting drive. She said the goal is to make the Sheriff’s Office look more like the demographics of the county at large, and mentioned a goal of hiring more staff fluent in Spanish and other languages.

To read about the pay, benefits and job requirements of the positions at the Sheriff’s Office, follow this link.

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