Augusta criminal sweep might yield as many 80 arrests

A three-day initiative to take criminals off the streets of Augusta might yield 80 arrests.

The goal of the Augusta Community Impact Initiative, according to Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay, was to focus on probation and parole offenders in the county with new warrants.

The Georgia Department of Corrections, the parole board and the probation office assisted the sheriff’s office in the operation.

The initiative began after the sheriff’s office noticed a growing concern among residents about a lack of police visibility, authorities said.

Deputies blanketed the streets over a 72-hour period in order to put as many people behind bars as possible.

It was the first initiative the sheriff’s office has conducted with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

By midday Friday, authorities had made more than 50 arrests and were anticipating at least 30 more by the end of the day.

“What is great about this initiative is that if they’re on probation or parole, they instantly become wards of the state. They go directly to prison,” Gay said. “It actually saves the residents of Richmond County money, and we’re cleaning up the streets.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Marshal’s Office assisted as several agencies focused on offenders with older warrants.

On Thursday, the Richmond County Narcotics Division joined to focus on offenders with new drug charges.

On the final day of the initiative, the focus was taken to the neighborhood level with officers blanketing Harrisburg and Barton Village.