Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Member Services

Award Honorees

Congratulations to the 2019 public safety award nominees! For full nominee information, click each name below.

Deputy Stephen Arsenault
Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Director Marty Billings
MetroAtlanta Ambulance

Lieutenant Jody Collis
Smyrna Fire Department

Engineer Sean Cook
Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services

Officer Josh Davis
City of Powder Springs Police

Paramedic/FTO Stephen Fearon
MetroAtlanta Ambulance

Sergeant Steve Gaynor
Cobb County Police Department

Communications Officer Desmond Harris
Cobb County Emergency Communications

Officer Paul Hill
Marietta Police Department

Detective Meredith Holt
Smyrna Police Department

Detective Ben Jackson
Cobb County Police Department

Communications Officer Julie Johnson
Cobb County Emergency Communications

Officer Michael O'Brien
Kennesaw Police Department

Officer Nicholas Parker
Acworth Police Department

Colonel Janet Prince
Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Task Force Officer Paul Reynolds
Marietta Police Department

Advanced EMT Hallie Teague
Puckett EMS

Lieutenant Michael Wilson
Cobb County School District - PD

 

Public Safety Units

SWAT Team
Cobb County Police Department

Officers Timothy Burns & Armando Sanchez
Kennesaw Police Department

Engine 55 - C
Marietta Fire Department

Engine 2
Smyrna Fire Department

 


Deputy Stephen Arsenault

Cobb County Sheriff's Office

With 13 years under his belt with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Arsenault is known by his peers for the empathy and compassion he shows in serving the citizens of Cobb County.

On March 6, 2019, Dep. Arsenault was on patrol when he was flagged down by a male citizen (Mr. Atkins) that was beside his vehicle on Barrett Parkway. As Dep. Arsenault approached the vehicle he observed that Mr. Atkins’ wife in the passenger seat was experiencing a medical issue and had gone into cardiac arrest. He removed Mrs. Atkins from the vehicle and immediately began CPR. While conducting CPR, he called for assistance from the fire department and EMS. Dep. Arsenault continued to utilize CPR and his mobile AED system until EMS arrived to transport Mrs. Atkins to the hospital. In a display of the character and compassion Dep. Arsenault has for the community he serves, he visited the hospital to ensure Mr. and Mrs. Atkins were each doing well.

Dep. Arsenault received a phone call approximately three weeks after the incident that Mrs. Atkins was ready to be released from the hospital, and he escorted the couple to their home. Dep. Arsenault’s calm demeanor, quick actions and expert training recall during this situation resulted in saving Mrs. Atkins’s life.

Blesener


Director Marty Billings

MetroAtlanta Ambulance

Marty Billings has had a long and fruitful career in public safety. After beginning his service with Walton and Gwinnett County Fire and earning his EMT and Paramedic licenses, Billings worked for the Georgia State Office of EMS & Trauma as a Region EMS Coordinator before being hired as the EMS Director of the State of Georgia. As EMS Director, Billings managed a statewide personnel department, represented Georgia at the National EMS Directors Association, and managed 10 Regional EMS Offices throughout the state and 10 EMS Regional Councils, which hold EMS providers accountable for Georgia policy, law and regulation compliance. He also oversaw the Emergency Medical Service Program for Children and State Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.

During his time as EMS Director, Billings led the redevelopment of the state EMS website so that individuals seeking routine information from the department could obtain it real time. Under his direction, the process of EMT license renewals was automated through the website, allowing EMS workers to renew their license online, significantly streamlining a cumbersome process. He was responsible for rural Georgia gaining access to AED grants, which assisted these communities in obtaining and making the lifesaving equipment readily available, and led teams in transferring and caring for over 2,500 evacuees from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Marty Billings has also distinguished himself in the EMS field as the Director of Quality, Clinical Education and Training for MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service. Under his leadership, MetroAtlanta Ambulance has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Professionals, all signifying compliance with the EMS industries highest quality, safety and educational standards.

In 2015, Mr. Billings’ team spearheaded a project to address a national and statewide shortage of EMS workers by forming a consortium with the Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing and creating the MetroAtlanta EMS Academy. The academy has brought more than 300 individuals into the industry and helped more than 500 EMS workers within the profession to enhance their licensing levels through the ranks of EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic.

Today he continues to serve as the Dean of the MetroAtlanta EMS Academy which has one of the highest graduation rates in the State of Georgia. On a daily basis, under Mr. Billings’ leadership, his staff ensures the credentialing, continuing medical education and quality of care provided by one of Georgia’s largest privately operated ambulance companies serving the 911 needs of more than 1 million residents. MetroAtlanta Ambulance is contracted with the Georgia Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the evacuation of vulnerable populations throughout Georgia and responsible for the coordination of multi-agency responses to these events. Mr. Billings is the MetroAtlanta Ambulance representative that reports to the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate these resources. The center was most recently called up to assist with evacuation efforts of the eastern coast of Georgia in preparation for landfall of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, where Mr. Billings spent more than ten days at the State EOC coordinating the statewide effort.

Marty Billings is always on call, and his heart is always in the right place. His public service as a Fire Fighter, Paramedic, State Employee and now MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service Director has had a measurable and positive impact on the health, safety and wellness of individuals and communities throughout Georgia including Cobb County. Those that work, live and visit Georgia are certainly better off because of Billings’ vision and leadership.

Blesener


Lieutenant Jody Collis

Smyrna Fire Department

Recognized by his peers and superiors as honest, dependable and hard-working, Lieutenant Jody Collis has spent 15 years with the Smyrna Fire Department and has dedicated 25 years overall to public safety. He is a decorated paramedic and firefighter, with a strong history of making a positive impact in the community and demonstrating leadership among his peers. Lt. Collis has long been a positive contributor to his team, department and community, including leading and completing Highrise operations, AAIR training, technical rescue and EMS training, among others.

Lt. Collis’ knowledge of public safety and commitment to training is a huge advantage to his entire organization. He regularly puts his skillset to work in order to provide service to the community, while sharing his training with peers and others. He regularly leads the organization in training and uses this to make an impact in the lives of others he comes in contact with.

Along with his undeniable talent, Lt. Collis has always been a strong leader during times of high pressure situations. He is a team player, efficient and unfailingly punctual—a crucial asset to his organization and the community at large.

Blesener


Engineer Sean Cook

Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services

Engineer Sean Cook, an 18-year veteran of Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services, continuously demonstrates compassion throughout Cobb County and beyond by checking on the welfare of citizens on assist calls; promoting and discussing CCFES, ARFF, HAZMAT and other complicated department programs; and leading community-facing demonstrations of service apparatus at the Cobb County International Airport, building confidence in the protective services among pilots, passengers and visitors.

In August 2018, Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services units and the Hazardous Materials response team responded to an overturned 8,000-gal capacity fuel tanker on Interstate 20. Engineer Cook was assigned as the safety officer, and he personally dealt with unsafe actions that the fuel transport company hoped to perform involving fire department personnel. The forethought Engineer Cook had, based off his professional experience and education, to stop the unsafe acts prevented a catastrophic chain of events from occurring. Engineer Cook’s knowledge of how to mitigate an overturned tanker was vital to the successful outcome of the emergency. His actions saved an immeasurable amount of lives and tax dollars, and cannot be overstated. Engineer Cook led the way throughout the entire process, setting a standard of excellence in line with the vision of Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services.

In 2018, Company 8-C was tasked with presenting both a classroom and practical demonstration of the HAZMAT teams’ decontamination operations to the Kennesaw State University Nursing Program. Engineer Cook led the decontamination set up and practical presentation for the event, sharing a knowledge-based synopsis of each role and procedure in the decontamination process of a potential patient prior to transportation to a hospital facility. The KSU Nursing program gave the Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services HAZMAT response team accolades for professionalism, patient care and teamwork.

Engineer Cook has also led the way in inter- and outer-departmental equipment training, including putting two Oshkosh Striker Airport Firefighting Vehicles into service and serving as one of the primary engineers, as well as leading vehicle/operation checks and relief driver training. In Engineer Cook’s desire to be the best he can be in his field, his actions promote confidence in those served in and around Cobb County.

Blesener


Officer Josh Davis

City of Powder Springs Police

While Officer Josh Davis has only worked in the public safety sector for under two years, he has gained a reputation for setting a positive example for fellow employees. On the morning of Sept. 19, 2018, in particular, Officer Davis conducted himself as a competent, well-trained professional and demonstrated to the Powder Springs Police Department and the public how to effectively serve and protect the community.

Early in the morning, the Powder Springs Police Department received several calls from Richard D. Sailors Parkway near Linear Park regarding a male suspect discharging a handgun. Witnesses stated the suspect was firing shots next to the roadway and over moving vehicles. Officer Davis was the first officer on scene, and the first to engage the dangerous person. Officer Davis gave the suspect verbal commands to get on the ground and show his hands. The suspect kept his right arm up and with his left arm, pulled a handgun from underneath his shirt and threw it on the ground. The suspect was then taken into custody without further incident.

Officer Davis, with less than one year of experience in law enforcement at the time, showed great poise and restraint when the suspect grabbed the handgun, conducting himself as a seasoned officer with years of experience. Officer Davis’s quick action and willingness to place himself in harm’s way prevented innocent civilians from sustaining life threatening injuries.

Blesener


Paramedic/FTO Stephen Fearon

MetroAtlanta Ambulance

Paramedic/FTO Steve Fearon began his EMS career 11 years ago in Michigan, and has spent the last six years with MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service. Within the past year, he has also taken on the role of Field Training Officer (FTO), working closely with students and teaching them to become strong practitioners. FTO Fearon strives to maintain the highest level of knowledge to give the best care possible, always deepening his knowledge through research and application. His current goal is to further his education, and his ability to educate others, by obtaining his EMT instructor certification.

FTO Fearon is a problem solver, always looking for the best way to treat the patient, and leads his team in a safe and courteous manner, instilling a calm into each call. He works with other first responders, the patient and the patient’s family as a group to make sure that everyone does their best work, while treating every new call like a new opportunity for him to help someone. From the simple trip-and-fall to the complex multi-system trauma or cardiac arrest, he always keeps his cool and makes safe, positive decisions for the team and the patient.

To see FTO Fearon at his best would be to see him with a student in the back of an ambulance. He loves to share his knowledge and his passion for EMS, and he has the ability to make everyone feel comfortable. He offers free tutoring and test-taking skills to EMT and Paramedic students, ensuring their success with the didactic portion as well as the hands-on. In recertifying his National Registry certification every two years to stay current, FTO Fearon remains one of the most sought after preceptors for paramedic students doing their lead rides. He is a true mentor and asset to his workplace and community.

Blesener


Sergeant Steve Gaynor

Cobb County Police Department

Throughout his 33 years of law enforcement, 28 with the Cobb County Police, Sergeant Steve Gaynor has served as a patrol officer, Crimes Against Children Detective, Homicide Detective, Property Detective and Critical Incident or Hostage Negotiator. Through it all, he has been a continual asset to the citizens of Cobb County.

Since 1996, Sgt. Gaynor has been heavily involved with the Kermit Sanders Lodge #13 of the Fraternal Order of Police. He has served as the President of the Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge several times for a total of 12 years. He also currently serves as the Secretary of the State Fraternal Order of Police Lodge and served on the state level as State Treasurer for two years, the 1st Vice President for four years and the 2nd Vice President for two years.

For over two decades, Sgt. Gaynor has been instrumental in several community service efforts. He has worked closely with the South Cobb Business Owners Association and also spearheaded many programs through his leadership with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP Cops & Kids program benefits children through a Back to School Supplies program, which provides materials to children as they begin the school year. The FOP Our Food Bags Thanksgiving and Christmas programs provide holiday meals for about 260 families in need. The annual FOP Cops & Kids Christmas Shopping program served about 170 kids last year. This program pairs children with law enforcement officers and provides them with a budget to buy presents for themselves and their families.

Each of these programs show law enforcement officers in a positive light to children and adults. Sgt. Gaynor has become a fixture in the Cobb County community, and he is known to be a facilitator of projects and an outstanding liaison between the police department and Cobb County citizens.

 


Communications Officer Desmond Harris

Cobb County Emergency Communications

Operator Desmond Harris, over four years with Cobb County Emergency Communications, has established himself as a positive leader who strives to be an example for others. Operator Harris mentors and coaches new employees, and as a member of the Peer Support Team, Desmond is always available to help and support his co-workers who have handled a difficult event in the line of duty. He is also an active participant in promoting high shift morale, often developing ideas for shift outings and volunteering as part of the Community Education team.

Operator Harris demonstrates his ability to think quickly and make sound judgements under pressure on a daily basis through his call processing and dispatching abilities. Between April and May 2019, Desmond received several accolades for his ability to work well under pressure for both call processing and his role during big events. He has 90 documented occurrences of high achievement for call processing, and consistently provides high quality service to both the citizen callers and first responders.

On March 26, 2019, Operator Harris answered a 911 call from a female Uber driver who was being threatened by a male passenger. To protect herself, the driver spoke to Desmond as if she had called a friend and not 911. Through his training and experience, Operator Harris was able to recognize that the caller was in distress and needed assistance but could not alert her passenger that she had contacted 911. Desmond tailored his questions so that the caller could provide details while still appearing to be talking to a friend on the phone. He quickly entered the call for responders and remained on the phone with the caller to ensure her safety and provide responders with updated information. Because of Operator Harris’s quick thinking and job knowledge, Marietta Police were able to locate the caller and initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle. The male passenger was taken into custody by the police without harm coming to any involved party. Operator Harris’s actions during the call ensured the safety of the driver, and the continued information he relayed to first responders helped keep the officers safe as they approached the vehicle. If Operator Harris had not quickly and correctly identified the caller as being in distress, the safety of the driver and others could have been in jeopardy.

Blesener


Officer Paul Hill

Marietta Police Department

Officer Paul Hill epitomizes what it means to be a community-oriented police officer, embracing the mantra that an officer should be part of the community and not just simply work for the community. He has worked tirelessly with multiple community programs, and is always looking for better and more effective ways to educate and protect his community.

Understanding that transparency within a police department can lead to improved community trust, Officer Hill coordinates the Marietta Police Department’s Citizens Academy, a program offering citizens the chance to experience what it's like to be a police officer. With a finger on the pulse of his community, Officer Hill fine tunes the academy on a regular basis to align with trends and community needs. The academy has been so successful that many of its participants decide to volunteer with the police department after graduation.

Understanding that the Citizens Academy primarily educates community adults, Officer Hill also manages the MPD College Internship Program. He has built professional relationships with Criminal Justice/Criminology professors from colleges and universities around Georgia, which have contributed to the MPD’s reputation as a top-tier professional law enforcement agency where colleges and universities want to send their students for an advanced out-of-classroom educational experience.

Officer Hill’s passion for educating and protecting the community knows no bounds or age, evident in the radKids youth program. The program empowers community youth to stay safe in both their homes and in public. In 2017, Officer Hill embarked on a journey to have the radKids program drastically expanded and taught within the Marietta City School (MCS) system. Since, the radKids program has become a part of MCS’s elementary school curriculum, a testament to Officer Hill’s perseverance and unwavering effort.

In the elementary schools within Marietta, there are no officers permanently assigned as School Resource Officers (SRO), and Officer Hill, recognizing the need for an officer and point of contact, has taken the elementary schools under his wing and made school safety a part of his daily patrol. Since his proactive work with the MCS elementary schools, the MPD and MCS have worked together to add two SROs to MCS elementary schools for the start of the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. Officer Hill is a true asset to the continuing education and promotion of safety within Cobb County.

Blesener


Detective Meredith Holt

Smyrna Police Department

Detective Meredith Holt, an 18-year public safety veteran, is well known for her servant leadership and supportive mentorship. She mentors fellow Detectives in their duties, conducts routine training for her department and frequently serves as a lighthouse in the storm for others.

During MATCH Task Force operations, Det. Holt has routinely demonstrated quick and sound decision-making abilities, leading to countless arrests of human traffickers and predators, as well as multiple recoveries of missing and exploited children. The MATCH Task Force operations are fluid and change rapidly when conducted, but Det. Holt always demonstrates poise and flexibility, greatly contributing to their success. When most are done for the day, Det. Holt is just beginning her post-operation leg work, conducting extensive follow-up interviews with and investigations of victims, witnesses and offenders to ensure all involved are pursued and arrested and all victims are given their chance for justice.

Det. Holt testified before the State House and became a catalyst for passing a bill that made pimping a felony. The passage of the law was a huge victory for victims and prosecutors statewide, and it ensured that offenders will spend more time in jail for their crimes.

Det. Holt is recognized as a statewide expert in human trafficking. She is one of the few top human trafficking experts that has been called upon by the State of Georgia. Former human trafficking prosecutor for the Georgia Attorney General, Camila Zolfaghari, said, “Whenever I saw her name on a report, I knew it was not only going to be thorough and complete, but that she would have left no stone unturned to bring a full and complete case. I can always rely on Meredith to train both law enforcement and the community about their role in stopping human trafficking.”

Blesener


Detective Ben Jackson

Cobb County Police Department

Detective Ben Jackson has been employed by the Cobb County Police Department for six years and assigned as detective for over two years. He is known for focusing on the bigger case picture, relying on a bird’s eye view of the crime, its pattern and its foundation. Shortly after Det. Jackson transferred to the detective unit, he received an investigation of a theft from a vehicle. Instead of identifying and arresting the one suspect who broke the vehicle’s window and committed the theft, Det. Jackson dove deeper into the case and found a complex criminal organization commonly known as a Felony Lane Gang. He developed an extensive network of contacts ranging from various local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, car rental company security managers and bank and credit union security personnel. Several months later, he headed one of the largest investigations the department has ever seen, bringing to justice a wide criminal organization responsible for thefts, fraud, forgery and more.

In February 2019, Detective Jackson received an invitation from the South Carolina Gang Investigators Association to teach a Felony Lane Gang class to over 250 law enforcement officers. Det. Jackson presented a history of Felony Lane Gangs, insight into their operations and methods to combat the increasing problem.

With a deep backlog of exceptional performance, Det. Jackson is highly regarded as a top detective among his peers. He sits at the top of the podium when it comes to experience, performance and accomplishments. 

Blesener


Communications Officer Julie Johnson

Cobb County Emergency Communications

Operator Julie Johnson goes above and beyond the call of duty, including going out of her way to assist callers, providing assistance to new employees and helping the training division in acclimating new employees. She has received several commendations for her support of coworkers and dedication to her job.

Operator Johnson demonstrates quick thinking and sound judgment under pressure on a daily basis. Between April 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019, she received 122 positive documented occurrences of service calls that went above and beyond expectations. She stays calm during high stress situations, allowing her to ensure the caller is receiving the assistance they need.

On October 10, 2018, Operator Johnson answered a 911 call in which a male stated his wife was about to give birth. Johnson quickly obtained all the information needed to initiate a dispatch and began providing the caller with instructions on child birth. Although the caller was excited and scared, Johnson was able to calm him down and get him to follow instructions. The man was able to assist his wife with the delivery, but it became apparent the newborn was not breathing. Again taking control of the call and calming the new parents, Julie was able to get the couple to initiate infant CPR.  Julie provided the parents with instructions and kept reassuring them throughout the process. The newborn regained breath prior to first responders arriving on the scene, and the mother and newborn were transported to the hospital to receive follow up care. Both were released with a clean bill of health. Without Operator Johnson’s assistance, the mother and child could have had a much different outcome.

On an additional call November 15, 2018, Operator Johnson spoke with a man whose father was having difficulty breathing. Utilizing the Emergency Medical Protocols, Johnson determined the caller’s father needed to receive CPR, and was able to convince the caller to provide CPR. Because of Johnson’s actions and guidance, the patient survived the incident.

Blesener


Officer Michael O'Brien

Kennesaw Police Department

Officer Michael O’Brien is exceptionally committed to protecting and serving his community and beyond, often going above and beyond his daily duty. In 2018, Officer O’Brien took leave from the police department to travel to the areas affected by Hurricane Florence with Cajun Navy Relief. He and his crew navigated dangerous areas to recover people stuck in flooded places. In another sensitive situation, Officer O’Brien coordinated and purchased a bus ticket with his own funds for a woman to remove herself from a domestic situation. He is always a champion for those he comes in contact with, from helping underprivileged families during the holiday seasons to volunteering his own time and funds to ensure young adults have the resources they need to succeed.

Officer O’Brien’s dedication to his community expanded in October 2018 when he founded the non-profit organization Community Incident Response Foundation. When tornadoes devastated parts of Alabama and Georgia in March 2019, Officer O’Brien, backed by his community, delivered food, water and basic necessities to those who were affected.

Officer O’Brien has a heart for his community, and often goes above and beyond his duties even when no one is watching. His meritorious service to his community, personal initiative and devotion to duty reflect the highest standards of public safety service.

Blesener


Officer Nicholas Parker

Acworth Police Department

In just five years of service, Officer Nicholas Parker has made a large impact in his department and community for five years. Formerly serving in the security force with the Air Force Reserves, Officer Parker has a strong work ethic, an outstanding drive to achieve success and the experience and knowledge of a seasoned officer. His natural leadership abilities and positive attitude help make him a role model for his fellow employees.

Officer Parker is in charge of the Police Explorer’s program, and since taking over, he has doubled the involvement of officers in his department. The program is thriving, and officers’ desire to get involved can be directly attributed to Officer Parker’s leadership. The success of the program is due to Officer Parker’s leadership and passion for working with the next generation of law enforcement officers.

Officer Parker has a true gift when it comes to crisis intervention, and is often called upon to share ideas and methods with other officers. He was recently tasked with teaching a Crisis Intervention class for the annual Minister’s Day Training. The guidance he shares in this important area increases officers’ personal safety and the safety of the individuals with whom the officers come in contact, improving his department’s overall delivery of public safety.

Officer Parker demonstrates quick thinking, sound decision-making, and maintaining control under pressure on a daily basis. In one situation, a suicidal juvenile was armed and barricaded in her room at home. During the course of the interaction, he was able to evacuate the family members from the home, secure the weapon and convince the juvenile to consent to transport to a mental facility for evaluation. The positive outcome of this situation can be attributed to Officer Parker’s exceptional dedication to citizens and his exceptional skill in crisis intervention.

On August 24, 2018, Officer Parker responded to a call involving an emotionally disturbed juvenile. He made contact with the juvenile and his mother outside their home. The mother advised Officer Parker that her son suffered from bi-polar disorder and that he was having an episode. The juvenile then angrily approached Officer Parker with fists clenched. Officer Parker immediately started speaking with the young man, establishing rapport to calm him down. Then, the juvenile’s grandparents emerged from the house, which sent him into a tirade. The juvenile yelled and charged his grandparents. Officer Parker had to calm the young man and eventually safely restrain him. He did an exceptional job de-escalating the situation, and can be credited with ensuring both the safety of the citizens and police officers involved.

Officer Parker stands out for his dedication to service, exceptional motivation and unrelenting drive to help others. As a result of his patience and calm resolve under pressure, he has earned the distinction of being one of his department’s most gifted crisis intervention officers.

Blesener


Colonel Janet Prince

Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Retired Colonel Janet Prince began her successful law enforcement career 32 years ago in Florida, where she served as a Correctional Officer in Brevard County. She transferred to the Cobb County Sheriff's Office in 1990 and served under Sheriff Bill Hutson and Sheriff Neil Warren for over 28 years. She diligently worked her way through the ranks, moving from Sergeant to Lieutenant to Major before her final role as Colonel, serving as the Jail Commander before retiring in April of this year.

Col. Prince graduated from Columbia Southern University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration. She also graduated from two county-sponsored programs, Leadership Cobb and the Excel Supervisory Management Class. She has participated in several community endeavors, serving on the Board of Directors for the YWCA and as a member of the Juvenile Justice Citizens Review Panel.

During her career, Col. Prince was instrumental in obtaining several federal level certifications for the sheriff's office related to the Immigration 287g program and the PREA program, all while overseeing 440 employees and detention operations.

Col. Prince is a true leader, always leading by example with honesty, loyalty and integrity. She is always firm and fair in each decision she makes.

Blesener


Task Force Officer Paul Reynolds

Marietta Police Department

Officer Paul Reynolds has a true servant leader spirit gained from his extensive service in the United States Army, nearly a decade of service as a police officer within Cobb County and his current position as an FBI Task Force Officer (TFO) with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

Officer Reynolds makes himself available to all Marietta Police officers 24/7/365, and is always eager to answer questions and assist with investigations as they relate to gangs, gang members and gang criminal activity. He was a great asset in a homicide investigation that occurred at a local gas station in April of 2018. The MPD homicide team brought Officer Reynolds into the investigation when detectives learned the victim and his circle of friends were involved in local drug dealings. Some of the victim’s associates also had ties to gang members. With Officer Reynolds’ assistance, the homicide team was able to arrest the primary suspect within a matter of days after the incident. Officer Reynolds also serves on the MPD SWAT team and participates with all of the team’s training and deployment missions.

Recently, Officer Reynolds identified and virtually eradicated a budding gang of 14 students at a local high school. The investigation was incredibly in-depth and demanded a certain amount of tact due to the school venues affected. Officer Reynolds was also very aware that the students involved in this gang were teenagers and not hardened criminals. He first approached the situation as a collaboration between the police department, the school system and the families of the teens. He attempted to provide the students with the resources and avenues to steer them off the paths they were heading down. Some of the teens heeded Officer Reynolds’ advice, but when others failed to change their ways Officer Reynolds adjusted his actions to criminal charges and arrests.

Another example of Officer Reynolds’ ability to quickly and strategically problem-solve was a proactive enforcement detail called “Operation Root Cause.” In February of 2019, Officer Reynolds coordinated personnel and other resources, planned surveillance, processed real-time intelligence and directed assets in the policing of many metro Atlanta gang members who attended a local club. There was concern that rival gangs were going to attend the venue, potentially turning the concert into a dangerous event. Through his leadership, Officer Reynolds and his coworkers tackled this potential problem location, a root cause of local crime, by confiscating firearms, illegal narcotics and arresting wanted persons.

Even when his caseload is heavy, Officer Reynolds stays dedicated to fighting crime in Marietta and beyond.

Blesener


Advanced EMT Hallie Teague

Puckett EMS

Advanced EMT Hallie Teague, with six years under her belt with Puckett EMS, is known throughout her area and profession for her passion for patient care and her fellow EMS professionals. Dedicated, committed and caring, EMT Teague volunteers her skills time and time again, including volunteering her EMS capabilities with Catoosa County, deploying for hurricane relief in North Carolina, and even serving at the national level with FEMA during natural disasters. She has also volunteered her time for community events, reaching out to other communities and always being available to lend a hand to benefit others.

EMT Teague’s commitment to helping others is also represented by her involvement in EMS education within her organization. A long-time preceptor for EMS basics and AEMTs, Teague loves to share her knowledge and experience with students and first-time riders. She has also assisted with NREMT Registry at the Puckett EMS training center, and volunteers for EMT graduation from the Puckett EMS Training Academy.

Whether it’s serving for missions in other counties and states or helping a new EMT student understand the ins and outs while having fun doing it, Teague is always putting others first.

Blesener


Lieutenant Michael Wilson

Cobb County School District - PD

Lieutenant Michael Wilson is a perfect example of what an outstanding leader should represent. He promotes a positive example for employees’ reference to good morale. He is supportive to his peers and is eager to assist or find solutions to all issues which may arise.

Lt. Wilson played a significant role in producing and spreading the “Concerned COPS Program” within school districts. The program helps young adults learn and adapt to dealing with persons of authority and any pressures they come under in similar encounters. Lt. Wilson was the crucial driving force in developing the program, training participating officers and establishing the protocol for how the program is to be delivered to the students within the schools. The program has been presented to several student groups on many occasions with great success.

Lt. Wilson and the program attempt to help students understand that the majority of their actions dictate the level of involvement from authority figures such as police officers. It explains the responsibility police officers face as they deal with the public, and teaches young adults the best way to interact with police officers when approached.

It is Lt. Wilson’s goal to establish open dialogue with all students and answer the questions they have, furthering the confidence the public has in public safety officials.

Blesener


 

Public Safety Units

SWAT Team

Cobb County Police Department

 

 

On October 2, 2018, uniform officers from Precinct 2 responded to a report of suspicious activity and a gunshot fired at a residence in Mableton. Shortly after arriving, officers learned that an elderly female had been shot and was down inside the house. (The woman was later determined to have been deceased before officers arrived.) The victim had been shot by her granddaughter’s ex-boyfriend. The suspect then took his ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter to an upstairs bedroom, where he held them as hostages and refused to let them leave the room.

As officers from the SWAT Team began to arrive a short time later, they moved to the upper level to create an Emergency Response Team (ERT). As the situation progressed, the suspect could be heard yelling and moving things inside the bedroom. The volatile situation calmed somewhat once a member from the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) arrived and began talking to the suspect by cell phone.

SWAT officers in overwatch positions reported over the radio that there was movement at the windows of the bedroom. Moments later, a loud noise came from the bedroom—what many believed to be a gunshot.

The ERT members felt that the lives of the hostages were in immediate peril, and attempted to make entry through the bedroom door. However, they found that it had been barricaded from the inside with furniture and other items. The SWAT officers used their bodies to force the door open, and the first two inside, Officers Day and Carson, observed the child standing on the bed in the corner and looking at a closet to their left. As Day and Carson moved toward the closet, the third team member in the room, Officer Cavender, immediately grabbed and evacuated her to safety. SWAT Officers Gossett and Reid entered the room. Approaching the closet, Officers Day and Carson found the suspect sitting on the closet floor, holding his ex-girlfriend in a between his legs with a handgun held to her head. The officers acted quickly, incapacitating the suspect and quickly evacuating the victim from the room. She and her daughter were immediately taken to awaiting EMTs and found to be unharmed.

The courage of the five SWAT officers that bravely entered the room of an armed man having already committed one homicide is immensely commendable. Once the suspected gunshot was heard, they also knew that the danger to every person involved would greatly increase with each passing second. The time required to breach the barricaded door only gave the suspect more time to decide whether to retreat into the closet or to ambush the officers as they entered. Without knowing what actions the suspect would take, each of the five officers did everything they could to quickly enter the room. The officers’ selflessness and sense of duty led them to do whatever was necessary to protect and save the lives of the hostages. If any member of the team had acted incorrectly, they could have caused hostages and officers alike to lose their lives. Their strong dedication to long hours of physical and mental training enabled them to successfully complete the rescue and save the victims’ lives.

 


Officers Timothy Burns & Armando Sanchez

Kennesaw Police Department



 

During the summer of 2018, the Atlanta area was hit hard by multiple commercial burglaries being committed by a group identified as the “Yellow Crow Bar Gang.” The Kennesaw Police Department received a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) for a group of three-to-four individuals burglarizing convenience stores near Interstate 75. The suspects were known to be armed and dangerous, and reportedly had engaged Atlanta Police Officers with gunfire during an earlier incident.

On the morning of October 1, 2018, Officers Sanchez and Burns were patrolling the Jiles Road area and, as they approached Moon Station Road, they heard an alarm sounding at a Texaco station that was closed for business. They investigated and found several suspects inside the store matching the BOLO information.

After setting up a tactical approach, the officers attempted to confront the suspects. Disobeying all commands, the suspects got into their vehicle and drove toward Officer Burns. The officers gave loud verbal commands, as well as displaying their weapons. Upon hearing gunfire coming from the vehicle, Officers Burns and Sanchez returned fire into the driver’s compartment of the vehicle. The suspects continued to fire on the officers as they left the parking lot. Backup officers attempted to pursue the suspects, but discontinued after losing sight of the vehicle, which was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed.

Without hesitation, both Officer Sanchez and Officer Burns confronted these violent offenders who had been committing multiple crimes in the Atlanta area. Their courage and bravery is commended, as they did not hesitate in confronting these suspects, placing their lives in jeopardy for the greater good of the community.

 


Engine 55 - C

Marietta Fire Department



 

On the night of September 5, 2018, the Engine 55 C-Shift (E55) was dispatched to a roll-over vehicle accident on South Cobb Drive near Cobb Parkway. E55 arrived to find one vehicle upside down off the roadway and in the woods, smoke and flames visible from the engine compartment and rear of the vehicle, and with a female occupant trapped inside the vehicle. The crew of E55 immediately deployed a hose line to suppress the fire and gain access to the trapped victim. While Engineer Molinaro provided an adequate supply of water, Lt. Marvin and Firefighter Walker gained access through the flames to the victim at great risk to their personal safety. The crew worked rapidly and ensured the victim was safely removed from the vehicle without further injury.

Once the victim was moved away from the vehicle, a Cobb Police Department Officer assisted E55 with moving the victim over traffic barriers for further treatment. The victim was treated by paramedics from Marietta Fire Department and transported by MetroAmbulance to Cobb Hospital, where she was treated for burns and other injures. The victim was able to make full recovery. 

The crew of Engine 55 showed significant courage and decisive action in this rescue effort. They are a fine example of the selfless dedication of members of the Marietta Fire Department, as well as the overall public safety community.

 


Engine 2

Smyrna Fire Department



 

Smyrna Fire Department Engine 2 (E2) was dispatched to a structure fire at 2950 South Cobb Drive, Lexington Park Apts. Upon arrival, E2 took command and found heavy smoke from the Alpha side, division one. E2 conducted a 360 investigation and determined the cause to be a kitchen fire. E2, with a crew of two, made its entry on the Alpha side for primary search and fire control maneuvers. After quickly finding the source and knocking down the flames, E2 began searching the area closest to the flames. They found a victim 15 feet from the fire, semi-conscious on a sofa.  Lt. Romano and Firefighter Milican rescued and removed the victim, turning them over to MetroAmbulance for transportation. Due to Engine 2’s bravery, quick thinking and strict adherence to principle and operation, the victim was able to make a full recovery.