Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree spent the first full day of his administration implementing what he calls a “culture of change” within the sheriff’s office.
After spending some time Wednesday morning meeting and greeting staff members, Roundtree toured the county jail facility on Phinizy Road. Next, he held a promotions ceremony for 10 officers appointed to new positions or promoted from other positions within the force.
Roundtree said the informal ceremony, held in a conference room with the officers surrounded by friends and family, was part of a new way of doing business in order to create a more inclusive and open department.
“As I’ve said all along, this is a community effort,” Roundtree said. “That means including family in what we do.”
Roundtree said the centerpiece of his administration was going to be the creation of a Community Services Division, headed by newly promoted Capt. Wendy George.
The new division will include a Citizens Advisory Board and a volunteer services department, among other initiatives he said were designed to bring the sheriff’s office into a closer relationship with the public.
“We’ve got so many resources in this area, and we are going to try to utilize all of them,” he said. “This is how members of the community will get to be directly involved in this administration.”
Roundtree said each officer being promoted to positions of responsibility in his administration had expressed a desire to help him implement his vision for a better, community-oriented sheriff’s force.
That included his former opponent in the sheriff’s race, Scott Peebles, who was promoted to major in charge of criminal investigations. He said the two men ran a spirited campaign that was “never adversarial.”
Roundtree said that after the election was decided, he asked Peebles whether he wanted stay on with the new administration.
“Without hesitation, he said he wanted to be a part of it,” the sheriff said. “Our vision was about moving this agency forward. That’s it.”
Roundtree finished his day by attending part of an Augusta Commission meeting and taking a walking tour of the Harrisburg neighborhood before attending a community gathering at Eastview Community Center.
Roundtree said his goal is to build the best law enforcement agency in the state by the time his term of office is up four years from now. Then, if re-elected, he wants to elevate the office to one of the top agencies in the country.
“People will be coming to see what we are doing in Augusta,” he said. “This agency is going to be on the cutting edge of law enforcement in the nation.”