Alpharetta, meet your new public safety director

By returning to the city where his law enforcement career began, to replace the man who hired him, things have come full circle for John Robison.

Robison became Alpharetta’s new public safety director this month. Outgoing director Gary George, who will retire Jan. 31 after a 46-year law enforcement career, hired Robison as a police officer in 2001.

Robison, who considers his profession "a calling" and a passion, will lead Alpharetta's police, fire, 911 and emergency management services.  The full-service department has more than 250 positions, including more than 100 police officers.

The Cobb native left the Alpharetta department as a lieutenant in Sept. 2011 for a promotion as a major with Powder Springs. There he became the deputy police chief in Oct. 2014, and after serving as interim police chief, was named to the position permanently in early 2015.

Over the five-plus years Robison was with Powder Springs, the department was awarded state certification, saw an arrest in a cold-case slaying that was 2013's only Powder Springs homicide and the acquisition of more tasers and 24/7 drug testing.

It was a time when law enforcement was under a lot of scrutiny, which created a “major trust issue with the public and the police department,” he said.

"I learned quickly of the importance of doing everything that I can in creating a department (that's) in a relationship with the community we serve where they can trust us." In Nov. 2015, he addressed this subject in an op-ed.

Robison, whose desire to get into law enforcement began in high school, said he’s “very blessed” to work for Alpharetta’s well-established, well-connected organization.

Robison received his bachelor of science degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University, his master of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and—while working in Powder Springs—got his master's degree in Justice Administration from Columbus State. He's pursuing a Doctorate of Public Administration from Valdosta State University.

A previous job in a church that involved counseling training helped prepare Robison for working with the public. He attends West Cobb Church, but is looking for one in Alpharetta, where his family is moving.

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Robison has been married for 15 years and has six children— the youngest of whom is about to graduate high school—three grandchildren and a couple dogs.

The new director said he’s available to all citizens and can be reached at