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Michael Register, Former Cobb police chief, appointed to lead GBI


Michael Register has been appointed to head the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The former Cobb Police chief and current second in command with the Cobb Sheriff’s office was tapped by Gov. Brian Kemp this week to lead this state agency as its Director. 

Per Kemp’s office, Register’s appointment is pending approval by the state’s Board of Public Safety. Register will fill the vacancy in the top position that occurred after former Director Vic Reynolds was appointed by Kemp to serve as a Cobb Superior Court judge. The agency is currently being led by GBI Assistant Director John Melvin, who is serving in an interim role until Register is sworn in.

Said Register on his appointment, “I’m humbled by the opportunity Governor Kemp has given me and I look forward to serving this great state as its GBI Director.” 

When he was named the new GBI director, Register was serving in the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office as assistant chief with oversight of the internal affairs division, community engagement, and uniform field operations. Prior to that, his law enforcement background includes serving as Cobb’s public safety director and the Chief of Police for Cobb County and Clayton County.

Register’s career in law enforcement began in 1982 in Bibb County following 23 years of military service in the U.S. Army Special Operations, which included combat operations in Afghanistan. He is a former member of the Georgia POST Council, the Judicial Qualification Commission, and served on the executive board of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces. Register is working on his doctorate in strategic leadership and has a master’s degree in public administration. He is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute.

As he prepares to lead the GBI, he will be heading up a state agency that is often asked to assist local police departments that may lack the manpower or resources to conduct certain investigations. The GBI has seven labs across the state of Georgia and is often asked to use investigators and scientists on their team to perform autopsies and conduct toxicology and ballistics testing. It also handles the majority of the state’s police shootings. Information from those investigations is compiled into use-of-force reports that are turned over to local district attorneys. 

As Register exited the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for the GBI role, his former boss, Sheriff Craig Owens congratulated him as the office issued the following statement: 

“Assistant Chief Michael Register is a dynamic leader and law enforcement professional. He has been instrumental in helping Sheriff Owens transform the culture at the sheriff’s office,” the statement said. “Sheriff Owens and the men and women of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office express our appreciation for his service to the people of Cobb County and we wish him all the best in his new role serving our great state.”


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