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Our Department

The Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) is a multi-jurisdictional consolidated emergency communications center located northwest of the city of Atlanta.

The DEC is currently the second-largest emergency communications center in Georgia. It serves as the primary public safety answering point (PSAP) in a county of over 760,000 citizens and millions of tourists and visitors. The agency is responsible for the processing and dispatch of emergency and non-emergency calls for service, with over 900,000 calls processed annually. The DEC provides dispatch services for six law enforcement agencies, two fire departments, and the county animal services department. To ensure that operations run 24/7, the department operates on a schedule of six twelve-hour shifts.

The Cobb County DEC is recognized as a leading 911 center at the national level, a testament to the team's hard work and dedication. The agency's success is attributed to its robust training program, positive organizational culture, and adherence to processes that meet or exceed national standards. The team's commitment to excellence, teamwork, and professionalism has set a benchmark for others in the industry to follow.


The mission of the Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications is to provide excellent and professional service to the citizens, visitors, and public safety responders of Cobb County. We fully understand the foundation of our profession is service, and we strive to provide this to our citizens at the most superior level possible. We will provide this service in a prompt, courteous, and professional manner, striving for efficiency. We recognize that our ultimate success in this mission is tied directly to the spirit of cooperation and teamwork between the public safety agencies, the Emergency Communications Center staff, and the residents and visitors of Cobb County.


  • Integrity
  • Service
  • Pride
  • Teamwork
  • Open Communication
  • Innovation
  • Diversity
  • Positive Work Environment

Director's Office

Director Melissa Alterio

Director Melissa Alterio

Melissa currently serves as Executive Director for Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications (E911) which is the 3rd largest Center in Georgia. She has a BS in Psychology & and MS in Criminal Justice/Public Safety Leadership & over 33 years of experience in the 911 community. She is an Adjunct Instructor with APCO International, Vice President of the GA 911 Director’s Association, Board Member for Georgia APCO & has achieved the Registered Public Safety Leader (RPL) and Certified Public Safety Executive (CPE) designations. Melissa is a recognized 911 subject matter expert who has presented at various national dispatch conferences around the Country, speaking on a variety of leadership principles. Her passions are to be a mentor, coach, leader and positive role model to members of the 911 community: encouraging and training the next generation of 911 leaders. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys family gatherings, volunteer work and quality time with her dog.

Deputy Directors

  • Deputy Director Kevin Gardner | Technical Services

    Deputy Director Gardner

    o Deputy Director Kevin Gardner joined the Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications in 2016. Before joining 911, he spent over a decade in law enforcement working in multiple positions. Kevin recently obtained a Master’s in Public Safety Administration from Columbus State University and a Certificate of Local Government Management from The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

    This division is responsible for managing and maintaining the technology infrastructure essential for emergency response operations. This includes overseeing 800 MHz radio system, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), telephone communications systems, and other critical technologies to ensure seamless coordination between emergency personnel and effective response to incidents. This division often handles system upgrades, troubleshooting, and stays abreast of technological advancements to enhance overall emergency communication capabilities.

  • Deputy Director Robbie McCormick | Professional Standards & Development

    Deputy Director McCormick

    Deputy Director Robbie McCormick is from New Mexico and came to Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications (E911) via Fort Worth, Texas where she served a district of 33 ECCs. She has served from front line 9-1-1 First Responder to regional communications center Director from 2009 to 2022.

    Deputy Director Robbie McCormick leads the Cobb County DEC Professional Standards and Development Division, which encompasses professional development and compliance, training, quality assurance and public records.

  • Deputy Director Tonya Poole | Operations

    Deputy Director Tonya Poole

    Tonya Poole has over 30 years’ experience in the public safety community. She began her career in Paulding County GA & joined Cobb County’s Department of Emergency Communications in 2001. Tonya recently completed the Professional Management Program at Columbus State University. This division handles the processing of emergency and non-emergency calls and dispatching the appropriate response. There are four primary shifts: two day shifts that work 0545 - 1800 and two evening shifts that work from 1745 - 0600. In addition to the Day and Evening shifts, we have two swing or ‘power shifts’ that come in during our busier hours from 11:45 - 2400. When fully staffed, the Operations Division will have more than 120 team members.

    Each primary shift is led by an operations manager: Sandra Minnick (Day A), Cherie Rhodes (Day B), Steven Hahn (Evening A), and Amanda Raines (Evening B).

Units, Specialized Assignments, and Committees

Training & Quality Assurance Unit
 The Training & Quality Assurance (QA) Unit is responsible for training new recruits and oversees current employees’ annual training, professional development, and quality assurance and is led by Training & QA Manager Todd Borowski.
Professional Standards Unit

The Professional Standards Unit is accountable for overseeing public records, agency compliance, and accreditation and led by Professional Standards Manager Marta Sorchik.

This unit is responsible for maintaining agency Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation and ensures policies are in compliance reflecting current operations as well as overseeing the Records Unit by ensuring records are released in compliance with state law.

Support Services Division
The Support Services Division is led by Support Services Manager Kathy Strickland. This division manages essential functions such as special projects planning, strategic planning, fleet management, community relations, and employee recognition. This division is dedicated to building positive community connections and helping shape the future of the DEC by leading the development of a five-year strategic plan.
Community Relations Unit
The Community Relations Unit was developed to support the DEC by educating the community about the world of emergency communications. This is done through community outreach, innovative recruitment, and our public education program. This unit serves as the coordinator for the Community, Outreach, Recruitment, and Education (CORE Team).
Employment Relations Unit
Cobb DEC applicants are subjected to a comprehensive hiring process managed by the Employment Relations Unit. This unit is responsible for all aspects of the hiring process such as filtering applications, administering pre-employment assessments, conducting background checks and interviews, as well as following up with new hires, completing stay interviews, and exit interviews.
Tactical Dispatch Team

The Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) Tactical Dispatch Team comprises a Team Commander, Deputy Team Commander, three Team Leaders, and twenty-three Tactical Dispatchers.

The Tactical Dispatch Team is always ready at a moment’s notice to respond to a SWAT Callout to maintain communications between Incident Command and the specialty teams on the scene. These highly trained dispatchers and supervisors are necessary to support Incident Command with accurate and timely documentation during high-risk operations. Having Tactical Dispatchers respond to the scene allows the 911 Center to resume normal operations.

The Tactical Dispatch Team routinely trains with police during SWAT and active shooter training. Additionally, each team member must attend at least ten hours of additional tactical dispatch training per year on top of the twenty-four hours required of all DEC employees.

Awards Committee
The Awards Committee aims to recognize outstanding performance by Cobb County Department of Emergency Communications employees. Meeting monthly, this committee reviews the award nominations made by fellow employees by reviewing calls and radio traffic. Support Services Manager Kathy Strickland leads the committee, comprising of an operations supervisor and an emergency communications officer from each shift.
Morale Committee
The Morale Committee is a select group of 911 professionals whose mission is to spread positivity, improve workplace culture, and boost morale in the Cobb County 911 Center. This is accomplished by doing small, thoughtful projects throughout the center, hosting events for employees, decorating during holidays and events, and having a positive attitude in the workplace.