VanHoozer named new police chief for Cobb County

New Cobb Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer addresses the media after the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve his appointment on May 10, 2022, in Marietta.

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New Cobb Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer addresses the media after the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve his appointment on May 10, 2022, in Marietta.

Cobb Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to promote Stuart VanHoozer to chief of police, replacing retired Chief Tim Cox.

VanHoozer, who had been serving as acting chief since the start of the year, has worked in law enforcement for 32 years — as a beat officer, precinct commander, and most recently deputy chief of special investigations.

At a Tuesday press conference to introduce the new chief, Chairwoman Lisa Cupid praised VanHoozer’s empathy. It’s a quality Cupid said was not necessarily associated with the stereotypical police officer.

“This was a tough decision made in a very tough climate when it comes to policing,” Cupid said.

“One of the things that captivated us was his level of empathy for everyone ... His ability to be able to recognize the humanity — yes of the victim — but also those involved in the act of crime.”

In comments to the press, VanHoozer stressed the importance of community policing, saying that relationships with Cobb residents have to be front of mind in the department’s every day work.

“We don’t realize what a traffic stop means to a citizen,” he said. “We can make their day better, even if we write them a citation, or we can make their day worse, just by our attitude.”

He reflected on his career, recalling that when he was promoted from a South Cobb precinct, he couldn’t stop thinking about a day care he used to visit. Across the street, drugs were often peddled and a shootout once sent a stray bullet to the school.

“I would go out and look at that bullet hole and I tell you, the motivation to do your job could not be greater than that,” he said.

Jackie McMorris, the county manager, said VanHoozer was selected among 5 or 6 finalists out of more than 50 applicants for the job.

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