COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The people who keep Cobb County safe say they are understaffed and underpaid.
Cobb police officers, firefighters and deputies crowded a Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, and some said there's such a shortage, people worry about who is going to protect the public.
Speaker after speaker stood up for Cobb County's law enforcement officers, and many of the officers were there themselves to demand a fix.
"We can't wait until 2020, sir. We need action now," one of the officers said.
The standing room-only crowd expressed concerns about low pay and subpar benefits for police officers and firefighters.
This month, Channel 2 Action News reported that the starting salary for a rookie Cobb police officer is about $8,000 less than the starting salary for an officer in Brookhaven or Atlanta.
Nineteen Cobb police officers have quit within the first two months of 2019.
The president of the Local Fraternal Order of Police asked for raises to keep officers from quitting to go to better jobs elsewhere. "I recommended a 15 percent pay raise, just to sworn public safety."
The crowd of concerned citizens, business owners and law enforcement officers had the board's attention by the end of the two-hour meeting.
The chairman said that public safety remains 44 percent of the entire budget.
The police union said officers remain at risk because they will often respond to calls alone when they should have a second officer there.
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