Kristi Cobb says it was a tragic act of crime that victimized a member of her family that first led her into the law enforcement field.
Now, Cobb is Midway’s first ever female chief of police, as well as the first female police chief in the Big Bend Area.
“My mom was raped when I was 10 and the man left her for dead,” Cobb shared. “Nothing was done to him.”
The perpetrator beat Cobb’s mother so badly that she has had to spend the rest of her life in a nursing home, Cobb said.
“I made a vow that day…I have to be able to help people,” Cobb said. “When a crime is committed against them, I want to be that one person that people can call on.”
After Cobb’s mother was attacked, she was raised by her grandmother.
Her mother didn’t get to witness any of Cobb’s (many) accomplishments.
Born and raised in Tallahassee, Cobb attended Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Developmental Research School from kindergarten through 12th grade.
She then continued her education at Florida A&M University, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in applied social science in criminal justice.
The newly sworn-in police chief said her grandmother got to see her granddaughter graduate high school and university, but was not here to see Cobb become chief.
Regardless, Cobb says she knows her grandmother is proud of her accomplishments.
Cobb, who has been on the force since 2010, said being appointed as the permanent chief is a well deserved vote of confidence from the City of Midway’s elected leaders.
“I’ve been the interim chief three different times for the City of Midway,” Cobb said. “I think this position is going to allow the citizens to see this is not just a male-dominated field.”
Cobb said this is the ‘year of the woman’.
“Women are being placed in high-ranking positions,” Cobb expressed. “Not just being placed there, these are positions we are earning because of our dedication to law enforcement.”
She said women have had to sit on the back burner for long enough.
“It’s time for women to come forward and be the front face of the departments,” she added.
Cobb said she’s not just a chief, she’s also a community leader.
“I’m not a chief that’s scared to get out and get my hands dirty and my knees scraped up,” Cobb said.
Now that she’s chief, some of her goals are developing more transparency in the community, growth within the department, and making Midway Police Department a popular agency for people to work for.
She’s looking to fill at least four positions in the department.
The chief said she wants officers to know she’s not a dictator; she’s hitting the streets with the officers and answering calls right alongside the patrol officers in her agency.
Chief Cobb also recently pushed a $42,000 starting salary for new officers – $10,000 more than the current starting pay – in the upcoming 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, in addition to take-home service cars.
In addition to taking care of her officers, Chief Cobb said citizens’ concerns are also a priority.
She said citizens can reach out to her for anything they feel needs to be addressed in the city, whether it is more traffic control or more law enforcement presence in certain areas.
“I’m just a phone call away and I always have an open door,” Chief Cobb said. “I’m always available; if they can’t get to me, I’ll come to them.”
Mayor Ella Parker Dickey said she is elated to have Cobb as Midway’s new police chief.
The mayor said the city has had several chiefs while Cobb has been on the force, but it was time for Cobb to rise to the top and claim the leadership position for herself.
“She’s been with Midway for 13 years and stayed there through the transitions of police chiefs,” Dickey said. “It’s a blessing to see a black female cop make history in the City of Midway.”
Midway’s City Manager Dr. Henry Grant said the Midway Police Department needed stability.
“We felt like she was a stable force,” Grant added.
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service