Richmond County sheriff's Deputy James Paugh was always on duty, friends say

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Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 6:58 PM
Last updated Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 7:22 PM
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James D. Paugh’s friends say he was never off duty.

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Deputy Paugh  Special
Special
Deputy Paugh

When the Richmond Coun­ty sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed a little after 1 a.m. Sun­day, he was doing what his friends describe as typical behavior: trying to help. This time, however, he was met by an M4 assault rifle.

“It was a sad, senseless thing that happened,” said Jimmy Vowell, a retired Rich­mond County deputy and friend of Paugh’s for 25 years. “Eighty percent of guys coming home from work would have passed right by that vehicle and not stopped. Not him. He died doing what he did, which was trying to help someone.”

Vowell worked for the sheriff’s office from 1984 to 2004 and came to know Paugh through his work. They rode motorcycles together when they were off duty.

He described Paugh as a committed officer, one who was always on duty, even when he wasn’t.

“I don’t think you could find anybody who didn’t like him. He could defuse any situation with just his words,” Vowell said.

Paugh was divorced. His mother, brother, ex-wife and 13-year-old son all live in the area. He received the department’s Meritorious Ser­vice Award in May 1997.

Jerry Vest, who was a sheriff’s deputy from 1987 to 2001 and rode with Paugh in the motorcycle division from 1998 to 2000, said the deputy’s dedication impressed him.

“He was always a die-hard cop,” Vest said. “He will be missed by everyone from the department.”

Paugh would hang out on Mondays, the only day he didn’t have a special assignment, at Crazy Turks on Wash­ington Road. Monday is the restaurant’s unofficial bike night, where a lot of local motorcycle enthusiasts congregate.

He also was into camping. Vowell would see Paugh at Petersburg Camp­ground at Thurmond Lake with his family. He had recently finished restoring an old boat.

Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay described Paugh as a longtime motor officer who loved the sheriff’s office and riding motorcycles.

Gay said Paugh also loved to cook. He would cook for the deputies every once in a while, including fried turkey, which was a favorite.

Vowell described Paugh as a “guy’s guy.

“He would give you the shirt off his back. As a guy, if you have one choice to pick a friend, he would be it.”

Paugh was described as never being in a bad mood, and friends said he always loved what he was doing.

Vowell said law enforcement officers understand their lives are on the line every day, but it is hard to imagine losing someone so close to you.

Friends and co-workers have put up crosses and left flowers on Bobby Jones Expressway at Gordon Highway, where the shooting happened.

Some of Paugh’s motorcycle friends will gather at 6 tonight at Crazy Turks, 2910 Washington Road.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Taylor B
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Taylor B 10/23/11 - 07:14 pm
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So sad. Prayers.

So sad. Prayers.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 10/23/11 - 07:43 pm
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He seemed to be a very nice

He seemed to be a very nice person. Smiled a lot. I'm sure he will be greatly missed. Prayers to his family and friends.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 10/23/11 - 08:23 pm
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Sounds like Officer Paugh was

Sounds like Officer Paugh was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed by many. My condolences to his family and fellow officers.

dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 10/23/11 - 08:29 pm
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It is a sad day to think that
Unpublished

It is a sad day to think that someone would do this, but it is a war
going on in the streets of Augusta and it is time for it to end. My
prayers go out to the family and to all law abiding citizens. It is time
for action against stupidity!

galink
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galink 10/23/11 - 09:40 pm
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I know this is no consolation

I know this is no consolation but I hope it helps some of the pain. The good ones are always taken. His job here was done. Now he can help in different ways. I't is what I tell myself everday after losing my oldest son who had the same funloving and helpful attitude. Even though we don't understand the reasons God has a purpose for all actions.

tambell35
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tambell35 10/23/11 - 10:17 pm
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My condolences to Paugh's

My condolences to Paugh's family and close friends of the S.O. J.D. was always nice to us in dispatch and we will definitely miss his voice over the radio. May God comfort those touched by this sad occasion and give everyone the strength to make it through this bereaving time.

R.I.P. T-31, we in dispatch will always remember you.

scott-hudson
10
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scott-hudson 10/23/11 - 10:19 pm
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Ga Link you are right on my

Ga Link you are right on my friend. Now, we as a community have to do what we can to give this man the honor he deserves....I will be standing out on Walton Way Extention with my friends saluting this man when the funeral progression comes by...Austin is also calling for his listeners to come out and support the family and our Sheriff's Office. I hope all of you will join us in giving JD a final salute. He deserves it.

bresa2006
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bresa2006 10/24/11 - 08:45 am
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My prayers go out to the

My prayers go out to the family and to the brothers and sisters in uniform. As the daughter of a former Richmond County Deputy, my family and I send our deepest sympathy to you all. I no longer live on Augusta, so I am unable to attend the memorial, but I shall be there in heart and spirit. God bless you all.

sid2279
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sid2279 10/24/11 - 09:09 am
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All my sincerest condolences.

All my sincerest condolences.

Note to the Author: Thanks for writing the article it is nice to learn about this caring man who passed before his time. Having “I don’t think you could find anybody who didn’t like him. He could defuse any situation with just his words,” immediately precede "Paugh was divorced." seems to be an oversight and I understand articles of this nature get pushed out quickly.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 10/24/11 - 03:34 pm
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What a loss, we salute Paugh

What a loss, we salute Paugh now. The shooters background needs to be gone over with a fine tooth comb. Perps don't just carry around machine guns & murder nice cops without some sort of root cause.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 10/25/11 - 11:52 am
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sid2279....not sure what your

sid2279....not sure what your point is. I'm sure the author is letting the reader know what family he leaves behind. My condolences again to his family and friends. He will definitely be missed.

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