Cobb BOC approves funding for training for Cobb Sheriff’s Office

JoAnn Birrell on the dais at the Cobb Commissioners room.Cobb County District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell (photo by Caleb Groves)

By Caleb Groves

MARIETTA, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners approved funding for training of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office at the North Georgia Law Enforcement Academy on Tuesday, August 8.

Two weeks after the BOC finalized the 2023-2024 budget, the CCSO asked for $500,000 from the county for training at the North Georgia Law Enforcement Academy from now until June 30, 2024.

“We just passed a budget and now we’re asked to supplement this when it really should be state funding, other grants or other fees from the jurisdictions that do utilize this training facility,” Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said.

“Even with the state money that was allocated in the past years that they now cut or reduced, we’re still not even breaking even with the fees that are being charged,” Birrell said.

The academy now operates at a loss relying on subsidies to stay afloat, Commissioner Keli Gambrill said. Without the $500,000, the academy does not have enough funds to continue operation.

“There is also no way that Cobb County will be competitive with other sheriff’s office departments in salaries if we are subsidizing the training cost for other counties, which is what is appearing is happening through this training center,” Gambrill said.

The $500,000 funds will be used on an as-needed basis; therefore, any leftover funds not used by the CCSO will be returned to the county, Chief Financial Officer William Volckmann said.

Commissioner Monique Sheffield had concerns about the impact of the county sustaining this measure and wants to ensure that this issue is discussed on the front end prior to funding struggles in the future.

The BOC voted 4-1 in approval for the funding to the CCSO with opposition from Gambrill.

Construction Approval at the Cobb County International Airport

Beforehand, the commission agreed to renew the consolidated lease between Hawthorne Global Aviation Services and the county. The board also added an amendment to construct a new terminal facility at the Cobb County International Airport as well as increase the hangar space by 65,000 feet at Hawthorne’s expense.

Birrell had concerns over what this renewal means for subleasers of hangar space at the airport. However, this renewal will not impact subleasers, Drew Raessler, Director of the Cobb Department of Transportation, said.

The BOC voted 5-0 in favor of the lease renewal and construction at the airport.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Gambrill and Birrell opposed the No Harassment and No Discrimination Policy on the consent agenda. They also opposed an intergovernmental agreement for a book club in the Cobb Youth Detention Center.

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out