Ga. sheriff looks to recruit former soldiers through new Army program

Sheriff Craig Owens says the program makes for a good pool of quality candidates

By Zach Edmondson
Marietta Daily Journal, Ga.

AUSTELL, Ga. — After signing a partnership agreement between the Cobb County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Army this week, Sheriff Craig Owens said he had tapped a new pool of quality law enforcement officers for his office.

"We're looking for quality people to come work at the sheriff's office," Owens said. "Being a former Army man, I know the Army produces quality people that are dedicated, determined and have core values, which is what we're looking for in our agency."

Owens enlisted in the Army after high school. After four years in the military, he joined the Cobb Police Department and transitioned his military service to the Army Reserves, with a stint in the Army National Guard. As a command sergeant major, he led a division of 14,000 personnel across 34 states. Owens trained soldiers and military police to investigate wrongdoings in conflict zones, including Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay before retiring from the service in 2020.

Wednesday's event was the latest in a series of efforts Owens has made to fill open positions in his office. When he became sheriff in 2021, his office had more than 70 vacancies among sworn positions.

The signing ceremony was held at the Cobb County Public Safety Training Center in Austell. Community members, local police officers, and past, present and future members of the Army were there to witness the partnership's beginning before sharing slices of a celebratory cake.

Lt. Col. David Hensel, commander of the U.S. Army Atlanta Recruiting Battalion, joined Owens in signing the partnership between the sheriff's office and the U.S. Army's Partnership for Youth Success Program.

Hensel wanted the program to partner with the Cobb Sheriff's Office so that a connection could be built between the Army and local police department, among other institutions.

"From an Army perspective, (this partnership) creates this connection that will persist over the years between the local community and the Army," Hensel said. "It's also an incentive for soldiers who are joining because, when they're done with their first term of service, they have a strong likelihood of jobs waiting for them."

The Army's program is a partnership between the Army and both private and public institutions that help soldiers find employment once they finish their service. Soldiers are made aware of the program when they join the Army, Hensel said. Through the program, soldiers are guaranteed five job interviews, making a successful job search more likely.

Depending on a soldier's interests and their role in the military, Hensel said, they will be paired with companies, law enforcement agencies or other local government agencies that make sense for them.

The program aims to encourage business owners to consider the Army a reliable recruiting source, and 1,067 employers have partnered with the program since it began in 2000.

(c)2022 Marietta Daily Journal, Ga.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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