The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will hold its fifth annual Burgers and (Hand) Shakes event Saturday.
The event, which moves to a new location within the county each year, will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brookfield Park at 2740 Mayo Road.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree said he started the event after he took office in 2012 to “connect with citizens in a nontraditional fashion.”
During the event residents are offered free burgers and milkshakes, and given the opportunity to talk with the sheriff and his staff. Attendees will also learn about the sheriff’s office K9 unit, kid workshops, and other yearly events where they can meet the sheriff and his staff.
“A lot of people, if they don’t engage in criminal activity, may never have the opportunity to meet me or some of my staff,” Roundtree said. “So for those who haven’t met me in person this will give them an opportunity to do so and just have fun.”
Residents are urged to share their gratitude and concerns regarding the sheriff’s office at the event, Roundtree said.
“When I hear a citizen say that they can see a change in their neighborhood, or that they can sit out on their porch again where they couldn’t before, that is the measured result that we want to see,” he said. “that people feel safe and feel better in their neighborhoods.”
He lists this as a major benefit of the event.
“We accomplish a whole list of things by doing this,” Roundtree said.
The sheriff said the event has helped in building a stronger relationship with his office and the community.
“It’s a key to our success,” Roundtree said. “That trust that we feel may have eroded some in the past, I think that we’ve built those bridges back up and we’re just trying to reinforce that we are a service agency and that we are here to help.”
Another accomplishment — made after several concerns shared during the sheriff’s office third annual event — was the reconstruction of zones.
“Originally the town was broken down into 32 beats, so everybody had the same particular amount of area to cover,” Roundtree said. “You can’t police the entire county the exact same way so this gave the latitude to address problems with zoning at the time.”
Roundtree said the sheriff’s office will introduce “Sheriffie” which invites residents to take a selfie with the sheriff, wherever he is spotted in the community, and share it to social media using the hashtag SHERIFFIERCSO.
Roundtree said the introduction of “Sheriffie,” along with Burgers and (Hand) Shakes are significant efforts in keeping the community alert and involved with the agency.
“It seems to be working and we are enjoying that it is something that people look forward to every year,” he said. ”Especially with the Georgia heat, what better way to do it than outside with a good burger and a milkshake.”
Reach Nefeteria Brewster at (706) 823-3486.