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Sheriff History

History Of The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

The information below is believed to be accurate and has been gleened from various resources.

Tandy Martin

The first sheriff was Tandy Martin. Martin served as the first sheriff of Cobb county in 1833. Martin was elected by the first recorded vote of Cobb County. The entire population cast their vote at the residence of John Pace. In contrast, today there are 179 polls used by the citizens of Cobb.

Tandy Key Martin was born in Ireland and died in Sabine County, Texas, around 1841.

George Baber

George Baber was sheriff in 1834. The act of the state legislature appointed, essentially, a special election to fill the constitutional offices until the regularly scheduled election of county officers for the state. Martin, the initial sheriff, served only for the first year. Baber became the first sheriff of Cobb County to serve the full term for the office.

Historical Collections of Georgia — During the session of one of the Courts at which Judge Warner presided, a man somewhat intoxicated, or pretending to be so, became very boisterous, disturbing the business of the Court. The judge ordered the Sheriff to take him away, and request his friends to keep him away, but in a few minutes he returned more vociferous than ever, cursing the Court and its officers, telling the judge to put him in jail. The judge hesitated for a moment, and then very deliberately ordered the Sheriff to take the disturber of the public business and place his head under the horse lot fence, until he became sober. The Sheriff promptly executed the order, and shortly afterwards, when he was wanted in Court, he could not be found, and it was ascertained that, in obedience to what he considered the order of the judge, after putting the man’s neck between the heavy rails of the fence, about two feet from the ground, his body on one side, and his head on the other, he had taken his seat on the top rail of the fence above his prisoner, that he might be securely kept. The prisoner, however, soon reported himself sober, and was released. The next morning he met the judge, and after thanking him for his imprisonment, said that he had made a sober man of him for life.

Daniel May

Daniel May became sheriff in 1836.

Samuel N. Maloney

Samuel N. Maloney became sheriff in 1838.

Joseph Chastain

Joseph Chastain became sheriff in 1840.

Samuel N. Maloney

Samuel N. Maloney once again occupied the office of the sheriff in 1842.

Joseph Chastain

Joseph Chastain became the sheriff in 1844. This was the first instance of such a contest in Cobb’s politics. Chastain and Maloney switched back and forth on being sheriff. It would later be duplicated by other individuals vying for office of the sheriff.

John S. Anderson

John S. Anderson became sheriff in 1846.

M.W. Green

M.W. Green became sheriff in 1848.

John S. Anderson

John S. Anderson became sheriff in 1850.

James B. Blackwell

James B. Blackwell became sheriff in 1852.

John Anderson

John Anderson, once again, became sheriff in 1854.

The city of Roswell was originally a part of Cobb County. It became incorporated in 1854 as the Town of Roswell. The Sheriff’s Office provided the law enforcement for the city. In the 1870’s the city of Roswell created a constable position that further provided local law enforcement.

James B. Blackwell

J.B. Blackwell gained the office of sheriff, a second time, for the term of 1856 through 1858.

John Anderson

John Anderson, for the fourth time, became sheriff in 1858.

James F. McCleskey

James F. McCleskey became sheriff in 1860.

J.F. Robertson

J.F. Robertson became sheriff in 1862.

Jesse Oslin

Jesse Oslin was sheriff in 1864.

A.F. Johnson

A.F. Johnson was sheriff in 1866.

A.A. Baldwin

A.A. Baldwin was sheriff in 1868.

William P. Stephens

William P. Stephens served as sheriff for five terms. Stephen’s tenure began in 1871 and lasted through 1881.

Alex T. Caryell

Alex T. Caryell was sheriff in 1881 and served through 1887. Caryell won four consecutive elections for office of the sheriff.

Peter O. McLain

Peter O. McLain served as sheriff from 1889 through 1893 winning three consecutive elections for the office.

T.J. Davenport

T.J. Davenport was sheriff in 1895.

A.A. Bishop

A.A. Bishop was sheriff in 1896.

T.J. Davenport

T.J. Davenport was sheriff in 1898.

A.A. Bishop

A.A. Bishop became sheriff in May of 1899 to complete the term of office through 1900.

D.D. Dunn

D.D. Dunn became sheriff in 1900.

W.J. Frey

W.J. Frey served as sheriff for three terms from 1902 through 1908.

William McKinney

William McKinney served as sheriff from 1909.

J.H. Kincaid

J.H. Kincaid served from 1910 until 1912.

R.S. Lindley

R.S. Lindley served from 1912 until 1914.

W.E. Swanson

W.E. Swanson was elected as sheriff in 1914, 1916, and 1920. In 1920, the State of Georgia expanded the terms of the office for Sheriff from two years to four years.

The Cobb Times, 11/20/1919 — Sheriff Swanson makes the rounds at the jail and discovers three inmates missing. The inmates had “sawed” through the bars and escaped at night. The escapees left Swanson “sassy” letters. The three letters were published in the paper. The Cobb Times, 12/11/1919 — Deputy Sheriff T.M. Sanders and Officer P.M. Groover pursue a vehicle. Nine gallons of moonshine and one Ford vehicle are seized. The occupants are arrested and released on $250.00 bail each. The Ford is held and noted that it will probably be sold in a sheriff sale. The Cobb Times, 5/18/1920 — Sheriff Swanson is called to the scene of a motorcycle wreck. Swanson discovers “booze” being transported. The motorcycle is seized by Swanson. The owner calls the sheriff the next morning to claim the motorcycle. The owner is arrested by Sheriff Swanson and released on bond, the motorcycle is held as the bond. In 1924, two officers were added to the Sheriff’s Office for the purpose of traffic regulation. It is held these two officers were the beginning of the Cobb County Police Department.

E.M. Legg

E.M. Legg was sheriff from 1933 through 1938. Legg’s terms would have had him as acting sheriff until 1940. However, Legg passed away in 1938 after being stricken with pneumonia.

The Marietta Journal, 7/20/1936 — 26 involved in car crashes, 1 reported dead It was a common theme in the 1920’s for the county organ to report the number of weekend machine, today known as automobiles, accidents. The deputy sheriffs were investigating many of these accidents. The Marietta Journal, 8/12/1936 — 2 Camp inmates escape and deputy sheriffs are searching for the escapees. The Marietta Journal, 9/21/1936 — Sheriffs investigate an accident about one mile north of Marietta with two (2) dead.

Thomas M. Sanders

Thomas M. Sanders served from 1925 through 1932. Sander’s terms represented two four year terms. Prior to becoming sheriff, in 1920 Sanders was a deputy sheriff, under Sheriff Swanson.

The county policemen were John Stone Fowler, Eugene Edward Keefe (1925), and James E. Williams (1927). In 1932 the city of Roswell and Milton County merged into Fulton County, it was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

George H. McMillan

George H. McMillan served as sheriff from 1938 through 1940 completing the unexpired term of sheriff left by Legg’s death.

McMillan after leaving the office of the sheriff ran successfully for a county commission seat. He is credited for being instrumental in the Bell Bomber Plant being located in Cobb County.

J.F. Hicks

J.F. Hicks became sheriff in 1941 but died in May of 1944. Hicks was commonly referred to as “Babe.” It had been reported that Hicks was sick with influenza prior to the election of 1944 and could not leave his “sickroom.”

The primary election was held on February 16, 1944. Two individuals were vying for the office of the sheriff, J.F. Hicks and T.M. “Tom” Sanders. Hicks won the election but it was contested by Sanders. Another election was scheduled for July 4, 1944. It is interesting to note, each candidate named their personnel that would assume office with a successful bid. Sheriff Babe Hicks named Mrs. Mary Legg Miller as one such deputy. This is the earliest known record of a female deputy sheriff for Cobb County. The rest of Hick’s personnel named were Chief Deputy M.D. Gable, J.E. Marler, H.L. Strickland, Arthur Mitchell, and Cecil F. Bullard. This represented six deputies versus the nine deputies named by Sanders. This list was published in The Marietta Journal dated January 6, 1944.

Martin D. Gable

Martin D. Gable, called Dewey, was installed as sheriff on May 5, 1944 to complete the unexpired term of Hicks.

Gable had indicated to the Marietta Journal that he would run for the office of sheriff in the election scheduled for July 4, 1944. On May 3, 1944, work began on the county prison. The foundation was being laid according to The Marietta Journal. An earlier Grand Jury report had suggested relocating the existing camp away from the city and the Bell Bomber Plant.

Thomas M. Sanders

Thomas M. Sanders was elected sheriff again and took office in 1945. Sanders’ term would end in 1948, however, Sanders died in 1946 of a heart-attack. Sanders had been sheriff for two consecutive terms from 1925 through 1932. He also had served as a deputy sheriff.

Harry R. Scoggins

Harry R. Scoggins in 1946 filled the unexpired term of Sanders. Scoggins remained sheriff through 1956 winning two elections for the office.

Harry Scoggins had been named as a deputy sheriff for Sanders’ unsuccessful bid for the office in 1944.

Kermit C. Sanders

Kermit C. Sanders became sheriff in 1957 and served an illustrious 20 years until 1976.

Kermit Sanders was son of Thomas Sanders, an ex-sheriff of three terms. A wealth of information can be obtained about Thomas and Kermit in Interview with Kermit Sanders conducted and written by staff of Kennesaw College.

Bill M. Hutson

Bill M. Hutson was first elected as sheriff in 1976. Hutson marks the forty-first sheriff of Cobb County. Hutson has served succeeding terms since this time. It marks the longest service record for sheriff in Cobb’s history. W.P. Stephens was successful in five bids for sheriff. The tenure for sheriff was only two years during the time of Stephens. Hutson has led seven successful bids for sheriff spanning some 27 years through December 31, 2003.

Marietta Cobb Smyrna Narcotics Squad, 3/1980 — An interagency squad became operational to combat the issue of drugs in Cobb County. DUI Task Force, 12/1982 — An interagency task force funded by the Office of Highway Safety was created; composed of the Sheriff’s Office and six (6) other law enforcement agencies. The efforts were a county wide traffic enforcement program targeting offenders driving under the influence. Bad Check Unit, 1983 — In an effort to minimize monetary losses that are associated with the criminal issuance of bad checks, the Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the courts to establish this unit. The focus of this unit is to apprehend the artist of the bad check instrument. Cobb County Department of Corrections, 1984 — Sheriff Hutson leads the office in assuming total responsibility for the management and operation of the Cobb County Stockade. The efforts continued with the appointment of new management for the stockade. The Sheriff’s Office assisted the new staff with the transition. The result was the emergence of a new department, the Cobb County Department of Corrections. Adult Detention Center, 1987 — A $12,000,000 pretrial detention facility was built and became operational. It was constructed at a cost of just over half the national average per cell.

Neil Warren

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren was a law enforcement professional for over forty years. Fulfilling the unexpired term of longtime Sheriff Bill Hutson, Warren was sworn in as the 42nd Sheriff of Cobb County January 1, 2004. He was employed with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office since 1977. Sheriff Warren worked his way through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office starting as a Sheriff’s Deputy. He was promoted to ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain. Sheriff Warren was appointed as Chief Investigator in 1984 and to the position of Chief Deputy Sheriff in June of 1994 where he served until taking over the Office of Sheriff. He remained sheriff until December 31, 2020.

Craig Owens

Sheriff Craig Owens is a law enforcement professional with more than 30 years of service to his local community and the United States military.

Following family tradition, he enlisted in the Army upon graduating high school. After four years in the military, he joined the Cobb County Police Department and transitioned his military service to the Army Reserves, with a stint in the Army National Guard. He retired from the Army Reserves in the summer of 2020, achieving the rank of command sergeant major.

In 2020, at the urging of community leaders, Owens filed paperwork to run for Cobb County Sheriff. A political newcomer, he was able to build bipartisan support by running on a platform of restoring trust to the sheriff’s office. On November 5, 2020, the voters of Cobb County overwhelmingly elected Owens as their new sheriff.