Cobb Police Chief Mike Register speaks with renters in South Cobb at the South Cobb Recreation Center in Austell on May 9. Register has been in his position for almost a year and has made it to a priority to address community-police relations. (REANN HUBER/REANN.HUBER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cobb’s public safety director to step down

Cobb County will launch another search for a public safety director, after the man who was appointed to the post four months ago said he will step down from the position.

Public Safety Director Mike Register’s last day on the job will be Aug. 31, according to an email sent late Tuesday by the county government. 

The county cited “urgent family issues” as the reason for his sudden departure and said these “personal matters will require his immediate attention and will force him to move out of Cobb County.” 

“I was deeply honored to be police chief and public safety director and appreciated the support of the board and county manager,” the county quoted Register as saying. “I regret personal issues are tearing me away from this job, and I leave with a sense of accomplishment.”  

In an email sent to Department of Public Safety employees, Register said his decision is a “painful one” and is based on the need to address issues that have become more urgent.  

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“Recently, I have been forced to be away intermittently from my duties, and it has become apparent an adjustment is necessary,” he said. “I will be transitioning to another opportunity, which will afford me the necessary resources and freedom I need at this time.”  

County Manager Rob Hosack said Cobb leaders understand that family comes first for Register, but are “saddened” that he will resign at the end of the month.  

County spokesman Ross Cavitt said the Board of Commissioners will determine a timeline to find Register’s replacement.  Cobb County spokesman Ross Cavitt said there is speculation going around that Register is leaving because of political reasons. “He’s adamant that’s not the case,” Cavitt said. 

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Register said in his statement that county commissioners and Hosack have been supportive of him. He also used the opportunity to thank the men and women of the department for allowing him to serve as police chief and public safety director.  

“Your hard work and dedication to the residents of Cobb County is something I will always remember,” he said.

Register was appointed by the Board of Commissioners in April as public safety director after serving nearly two years as Cobb’s police chief. He took over the position at a time when tensions ran high between elected officials and public safety employees who said their agencies experienced staffing and retention “crisis” caused by inadequate pay and benefits.

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Steve Gaynor, the president of the local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, said Register has been “instrumental” in employees’ fight for better pay and benefits. County Commissioners in May approved a one-time, $1,475 payment to public safety employees as a first step in address those concerns.

“He’s really made a difference in this fight, and I hope we are not going to take a step back with his departure,” he said. 

Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said Register will be missed, as he’s done “so much to turn the ship around” with helping the county address the issues raised by public safety personnel. She also said he’s well-respected in the community, among the command staff and with the rank-and-file members of his department.

“I really hate to see him go,” she said. “He’s been a tremendous asset to the county.”

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