Cobb’s emergency 911 operator shortage crisis spurs incentive pay

Small sign stating Department of Public Safety Parking onlySignage at the Public Safety Department's supply building on County Services Parkway (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Faced with a critical shortage of employees in Cobb’s Department of Emergency Communications (E911), the Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved retention incentives of $2,500 per employee at its Tuesday meeting. The additional pay will be split into multiple payments over a 10 to 12 month period.

The retention incentives and signing bonuses (described below) were on the consent agenda, which means they were approved in advance of the regular BOC meeting in a work session.

A news release on the Cobb County website quoted from the written request from Melissa Alterio, Emergency Communications Director, and Randy Crider, Public Saftey Director:

The Department of Emergency Communications (E911) is facing a substantial recruitment and retention crisis. As of the date, the department has 29 vacancies. On top of the staffing shortage, the department is also severely understaffed by an additional 44 positions. This equates to a total of 73 open positions. These challenging times result in numerous hours of overtime, increased sick leave usage, stress, and burnout, and repeated denial of annual leave. From January 2, 2021 – September 29, 2021, thirteen employees were hired, twenty-three employees separated service, and 6,465 sick leave hours were used. Two incentives are being requested for hiring and retaining E911 employees. 

In addition, signing bonuses were approved in the amount of  $1,500 for non-POST certified Emergency Communications Officers and $2,000 for POST-certified Emergency Communications Officers. 

POST is Georgian’s “Peace Officers Standards and Training Council,” and is described on the POST website as follows:

The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) was established in 1970 by the Georgia General Assembly as a regulatory body. The composition of the Council, its power, and function is established in Title 35 Chapter 8 of the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated. The Council is responsible for the certification and regulation of Georgia’s peace officers and other various public safety personnel. Additionally, POST is responsible for establishing the minimum training standards and curriculum of the personnel certified by the agency.

The schedule of the signing incentives described in Alterio and Crider’s letter are as follows:

Non-POST certified


Payment 1 – $500.00 disbursed the pay period immediately after their start date.
Payment 2 – $500.00 disbursed upon completion of the training program.
Payment 3 – $500.00 disbursed one year after the completion of the training program.


POST certified


Payment 1 – $1,000.00 disbursed the pay period immediately after their start date.
Payment 2 – $500.00 disbursed upon completion of the training program.
Payment 3 – $500.00 disbursed one year after the completion of the training program.

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