Clayton County Sheriff’s Office reestablishes COBRA Squad

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced the return of its COBRA unit crime fighting unit.

In a message to residents on the Clayton Sheriff’s Office Nixle social media account, social media manager Carl Johnson said that Clayton interim Sheriff Levon Allen was reestablishing COBRA to combat what Allen said was an “all-time high” murder rate in Clayton in 2021.

“After reviewing the violent crime stats, Sheriff Levon Allen, a former commander of the elite fugitive squad, acknowledged the immediate need for specialized crime fighting units,” the Nixle post said. “Sheriff Allen has now reinstated the elite COBRA Unit that gained legendary status for ‘striking’ down crime.”

COBRA was an elite squad of deputies under former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. Hill was convicted in October by a federal jury of violating the civil rights of six detainees at the Clayton jail by strapping them to restraint chairs as punishment, which is illegal. He will be sentenced in late February.

It was not clear when the COBRA unit disbanded or if that disbandment was related to Gov. Brian Kemp suspending Hill from office in June 2021 because of the federal indictment against him.

Allen was sworn in as interim sheriff in late December, a position he will hold until a March 21 special election to fill the remaining months of Hill’s term in office. Allen and several other candidates are expected this week to file to qualify for the March election.