The Richmond County School Safety and Security Department named Lt. Richard Roundtree the 2011 Officer of the Year, Chief Patrick Clayton announced Tuesday.
The annual recognition goes to an officer who does outstanding work in improving the safety of the district’s schools, Clayton said.
Roundtree was credited for solving an arson at Glenn Hills High School, cases involving $60,000 worth of copper thefts and expanding the gang task force.
“He’s very deserving of it,” Clayton said. “He’s done an outstanding job for me and every job I gave him, he’s gone above and beyond to do.”
Roundtree was given the award at the Richmond County Board of Education meeting Tuesday. He received a plaque, a letter from the superintendent and an off-duty gun donated by United Loan and Firearm.
Clayton said the Officer of the Year is chosen from candidates nominated as officers of the month throughout the year. Safety department members vote on a year-end winner, and the votes are counted confidentially by Clayton and his captain.
Roundtree revealed his intention to run for Richmond County sheriff earlier this month after spending three years as a school safety officer and 16 years before that with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite the award, he said he sees his new title of Officer of the Year as more of a “testament to my work than a stepping stone.”
Roundtree said he focused last year on reducing violence in the school system, which is dependent on the safety of the neighborhoods where the students live.
He said he wants to continue a relationship between the school system, the community and the sheriff’s office in the future.
“That’s one of the biggest things I’m going to do is continue that partnership,” he said.