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Outside agency to audit Cobb Co. Public Safety Department | News

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Outside agency to audit Cobb Co. Public Safety Department

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with plans to have an outside agency audit Department of Public Safety policies.

Sam Heaton, Cobb County’s head of public safety, is calling for the county to spend roughly $100,000 to look into its police department. He said the department has “trust issues” with some in the community. He said several Cobb policies need immediate review, including body cameras and bias-based profiling.

Under the resolution approved on Tuesday, an independent agency will audit police policies,speaking with both officers and citizens.

"One, it involves the police officers and gets their point of view," Heaton said. "It also involves the citizens in our community and gets their point of view. From that, they'll make their recommendations. 

The measure comes after some criticism of the police department in recent months.

Cobb County Police Officer Maurice Lawson resigned from the department after an exchange with a black motorist was caught on camera. After the video surfaced, community activists called for Lawson to be fired. He was eventually suspended for two weeks without pay. 

As Lawson served his suspension, Cobb County Police Chief John Houser said his department "reviewed additional videos and additional policy issues were discovered." Lawson then submitted his letter of resignation.

Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who said she was a victim of racial profiling by Lawson, praised the audit proposal.

"This is a new day for policing in Cobb County that we should be very proud of," Cupid said after Tuesday's vote.

Cupid collapsed after an exchange with Chairman Tim Lee during a heated December commission meeting after the tape of Lawson's traffic stop was released.
Miguel Albarran was optimistic about the audit.

"It's a great step forward in making things better," Albarran said.






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