A new substation in Augusta’s downtown is officially open.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Monday held a grand opening and tour of the new substation inside the Unisys building on 7th and Reynolds streets .
The new Riverfront Precinct will house 50 deputies from Zones 1 and 2, as well as its team of community safety officers, referred to as the SMART Unit, who were previously stationed at the Daniel Village substation on Wrightsboro Road.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree said the new precinct provides a stable location for area residents.
“One of the things for the sheriff’s office is we train to move from a strategic point of having various substations throughout the county to having a more permanent location where people can access the sheriff’s office,” he said.
Roundtree, along with some of his staff, Unisys Director Dale Dye and Augusta Commissioner Sean Frantom were among those touring the substation. Part of the tour included the substation’s security office, which is is equipped with seven screens used for viewing 52 internal and external security cameras.
“Having the substation here in the building is a big win for us,” Dye said before the tour. “We’re just looking forward to a great partnership and great time with the sheriff and his staff here and the additional security and safety comes with that.”
A live feed from the cameras covers areas along the Riverwatch up to Fifth Street and helps ensure the safety of people attending major events downtown, Roundtree said.
The feed, which is recorded on a 24-hour basis, will also help with the sheriff’s office mission to maintain its presence along the Riverwalk following an isolated incident in summer of 2013 during which a couple was brutally attacked and the July 4, 2016 shooting that left two injured.
“By no means can anything we do make anything completely safe, but this is just one more step in our dedication to making a safer environment for our citizens and also taking away the stigma that people have downtown,” Roundtree said.
He said the next steps for the precinct is increasing the number of cameras and staffing.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase camera coverage to the downtown area to include the Commons and Broad Street,” Roundtree said. “We also want to expand personnel especially with our Cyber Command on one end and the new complex on the other hand. We’re right in the middle and we think it’s a perfect fit.”