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2011 Public Safety Employee of the Year

October 10, 2011

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce honored Cobb County’s finest on Monday morning during the Chamber’s annual Public Safety Appreciation breakfast at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The sold out event drew a record-breaking crowd of 600 guests and kicked off Public Safety Appreciation Week, a community-wide effort to say “thank you” to the men and women who work tireless to keep Cobb County safe.

Several awards, including the Public Safety Employee of the Year, were presented. Nominations were received from public safety agencies throughout Cobb County, including police, fire, sheriff’s office, campus police and EMS.

Public Safety Employee of the Year

Officer Brett Gossett of the Cobb County Police Department was named the 2011 Public Safety Employee of the Year.

Officer Gossett’s conduct both on and off duty sets an example for fellow employees to follow, plus he is supportive and works to promote staff morale. He enhances the department’s reputation through working with schools and advocacy groups across Cobb County.

As the shift trainer for active shooter drills, Officer Gossett has helped line up training facilities and developed training for his fellow officers to initiate some of the most challenging contingency plans.

In his law enforcement career, Officer Gossett has performed life-saving measures, his thorough police work and investigation skills brought about the end of a major local drug operation and he has displayed decisive action and calm under pressure in response to a domestic violence call.

A young family man, Officer Gossett is also a dedicated professional who has made cases and performed deeds in his short career that many long-time veterans have not. He is an exemplary model of the young law-enforcement professional who has already “been there and done that,” working every day to make the community a better place to live.

Award of Merit

The Award of Merit recognizes an individual for an act of courage, demonstrating genuine care and concern for the citizens of the community and going above and beyond the call of duty, often resulting in a life being saved. There were two deserving recipients this year.

Congratulations to the following:

  • Cobb County Fire & Emergency Medical Operations Team, Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services
  •  Crimes Against Persons-Crimes Against Children Unit, Cobb County Police

Distinguished Achievement Award

The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes an individual whose service and performance has exceeded the real of the job. For 2011, the Cobb Chamber honored two public safety officials:

  • Major Cliff Kelker, Marietta Police Department
  • Officer Nicholas Leone, Cobb County Police Department

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is the highest award recognizing an individual for an act of bravery in a life-threatening situation. The award is only presented when a deserving candidate is found. This year the Medal of Valor was presented to:

  • Patrol Lieutenant Cliff Yeager, Southern Polytechnic State University

The breakfast was sponsored by Cobb EMC and Northside Hospital.

A committee of community, business and public safety leaders planned the breakfast and appreciation week. Ray Rodriguez, vice president of Human Resources and Risk Management at C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. was the chairman of the Cobb Chamber’s Public Safety Committee. Companies and citizens with a Facebook page are encouraged to change their profile pictures for Public Safety Appreciation Week to a special image. The image can be found on the Chamber’s profile page at

For more information on Public Safety Appreciation Week visit

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