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Life on the night shift not easy for deputies

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Life for a night deputy is lived in the dark. Criminals are harder to spot, drugs are easier to hide and citizens are more likely to be drinking.

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Richmond County Sheriff's Cpl. William McCarty and Deputy George Meyers exchange notes on the night shift.  Summer Moore/Staff
Summer Moore/Staff
Richmond County Sheriff's Cpl. William McCarty and Deputy George Meyers exchange notes on the night shift.


“Alcohol is big on the night shift,” said Richmond County Sheriff’s Cpl. William McCarty. “Fights after the bars close and domestic calls.”

McCarty is part of Richmond County Sheriff’s Office C shift. They work seven 12-hour shifts every 14 days starting at 6 p.m. and ending around 6 a.m.

McCarty has been a police officer in Richmond County for 22 years, including three years as an investigator and nine years with the motorcycle division.

His work day starts when the sun goes down, or as Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten puts it, after normal working hours when “a majority of our violent deaths happen.”

Here’s what happened on a recent night:

5:54 p.m.: An attempted armed robbery on Running Creek Lane. The woman is shaking and crying so hard she can barely tell her story. A man with a gun had come to her door to rob her. She caught him off guard by shoving him over her wheelchair ramp and sprinting past him to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor said she had actually run though their door. She didn’t remember that.

7 p.m.: A ride through Cherry Tree Crossing. Three police cars approach the public housing development together. They put their windows down and ride slowly, their eyes darting back and forth for trouble. One senses hostility from the residents. One day after shots were fired at deputies, the officers are back.

When someone darts off to the right, the first car speeds up to try and shorten the distance. He stops quickly at a dead end and two officers bolt from the car. Normally the deputies ride alone, but this car has a trainee.

The officers dart after the suspect behind a house and McCarty pulls up behind the abandoned police car. He is there as backup and protection.

McCarty scans the ground for drugs and finds a small bag of marijuana.

When the deputy and rookie return, they’re alone.

“He got too much of a jump on us,” says the trainee. However, they did find the drugs, and they will be back.

8:04 p. m.: A woman has apparently killed herself. There is a stroller in the doorway and a highchair in the kitchen. Deputies discover the child is with the father. Sgt. Perry Keith is on scene to supervise. This is not the first time they have seen a body, but that does not mean it’s easy.

After this call it’s time for a break. Lunch time is around 9:30. McCarty and Deputy George Meyers meet at a local police favorite, Logan’s Roadhouse on Robert C. Daniel Parkway.

Inside, at least three other deputies are finishing up. The waitresses recognizes the officers and brings them a Coke and an ice tea before they ask.

Meyers is only recently out of training. He spent 16 weeks with McCarty getting to know the area, and the shift. The two have grown close and since their beats are close, they often meet up for meals.

Both men never relax though. Their heads tilt to the left as they put an ear to their radios every time dispatch speaks. Good thing, because both officers get a call and have to cut lunch short.

9:48 p.m.: McCarty is called to a house off Almond Drive. He looks surprised at his computer. Dispatch is signaling a pornography call, which he doesn’t often see.

It turns out that a woman received a lewd picture that upset her.

10:15 p.m.: A domestic dispute on Ellis Street. When McCarty arrives, a woman is telling a harrowing story of her daughter’s boyfriend. There is a little girl, 7, who silently goes in the house and gets her laundry. She comes back out and stands next to Deputy Brett Espinosa. She has been through this before.

11:20 p.m.: Two accidents at Washington Road and Boy Scout Road. On the scene Deputy Bert Gates has a man in the back of his squad car. Suddenly the suspect starts kicking Gates’ car window.

“Why are you kicking my car?” he asks. Seconds later, the man is back at it.

Gates whips out the ankle cuffs and restrains the suspect in his car. His face is dangerously close to the man’s legs.

“Sir, if you kick me, you are going to have a really bad night,” he says.

12:51 a.m.: An accident at 15th and Branch streets. A man who says he was on the way to pick up his little boy has wrapped his minivan around a pole. He is slurring and can’t walk so he leaves in an ambulance.

McCarty and Keith try to piece together what might have happened. They check the vehicle for evidence of another car, to see if perhaps it was a hit-and-run. They ultimately decide there was not.

Next stop for McCarty is a trip to Medical College of Georgia Hospital to see the driver and get him to agree to a blood alcohol content test.

McCarty will see a fourth accident before the end of his shift where he will administer another alcohol test.

He and Keith admit that it is not easy being on the night shift. The hours make it difficult for a normal life, even on their days off. It can get depressing seeing people on one of the worst days of their lives.

“Sometimes it gets hard.” McCarty said. “But, I want to help people. After 22 years, I still get up every day and enjoy going to work.”

Comments (39)

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bclicious
468
Points
bclicious 11/28/11 - 09:31 pm
0
0

The first word that comes to

The first word that comes to mind here is "HERO" No, I am not giving myself a pat on the back, but let's be honest here. When all of you are sleeping, it is the law enforcement officers who are out there making every attempt to keep you guys safe. Yes, we choose this field of work, and nobody made us sign up for this line of work, but thank god for people like us. People who are willing to sacrifice our very lives just to ensure the public at large remain safe. People who agree to work long hours for peanuts.

I know, I know, there are a lot of you out there who have had bad experiences with the police in general; but hey, there are bad apples in every bunch. Believe it or not, the majority of us are all hard working people, with a good morale compass, and are just trying to stay above water on the money we make. None of us are rich, but we didn't join for the money. We joined to serve and protect each and every one of ya'll.

In closing, the next time you see a deputy or other law enforcement officer, shake his/her hand, and tell them how much you appreciate their sacrifice.

Merry Christmas

raul
3368
Points
raul 11/28/11 - 09:55 pm
0
0

I respect what they have to

I respect what they have to do. I don't think I could. I would however like to ride with a deputy for a shift to get a feel for what they go through. Be safe and Merry Christmas.

farawayinalaska
0
Points
farawayinalaska 11/29/11 - 01:06 am
0
0

You go bro....You are my

You go bro....You are my hero!

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 11/29/11 - 01:07 am
0
0

I would love to see the

I would love to see the Sheriff's Office bring back the citizen ride-along program. I know several Deputies and have heard all kinds of stories -good and bad. But it would be interesting to see their job through my own eyes. I think it would be an eye opener for many people in the county. I think our commissioners and mayor should be mandated to ride one full 12 hour shifdt on at least 3-4 occasions too see what our men and women in blue really do. Let them ride in the bad areas as well as the not so bad on the north and south precincts.

Black Mamba
0
Points
Black Mamba 11/29/11 - 01:11 am
0
0

I'll respect the RCPD when

Unpublished

I'll respect the RCPD when they stop allowing the good ole' boy system to allow murderers go free.

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 11/29/11 - 01:23 am
0
0

Black Mamba, that would be

Black Mamba, that would be the courts, not the cops you need to be concerned with. It's law enforcement's job to investigate/apprehend. It's up to the attorneys, judges and juries to prosecute/decide guilt.
It's logical, reasonable and courteous to respect a person until he/she gives you a reason not to. I understand that there are some bad cops out there. But the good far outweigh the bad. It makes no sense to judge hundreds based on the ill conceived actions of one. And that is applicable to all, not just police.

wildman
939
Points
wildman 11/29/11 - 05:33 am
0
0

Thank You! I would like to

Thank You! I would like to challenge everyone to give local police officers the same respect we give our military heros. Think what would happen if we didn't have the officers on patrol at night. Talk about a mess.

allhans
21945
Points
allhans 11/29/11 - 05:35 am
0
0

It is a dangerous world and

It is a dangerous world and especially at night. Thank goodness for those who give them coffee as they make their rounds.

alinfun
24
Points
alinfun 11/29/11 - 06:02 am
0
0

Thanks for keeping the

Thanks for keeping the community and it's citizens safer. Keep up the good work RCSD. Merry Christmas!

augusta citizen
7624
Points
augusta citizen 11/29/11 - 07:13 am
0
0

A big thanks to our law

A big thanks to our law enforcement for all you do! I have always thought it a shame that their pay isn't much better, it should be. Merry Christmas and we all sleep better because you're there!

david jennings
514
Points
david jennings 11/29/11 - 07:58 am
0
0

All respect and appreciation

All respect and appreciation to law enforcement, I love it when they ride through my nieghborhood, Thanks to the good guys, I'm on your side.

seenitB4
72625
Points
seenitB4 11/29/11 - 09:02 am
0
0

Thankyou--thankyou.....we

Thankyou--thankyou.....we should be buying your supper every night..

pkervin
0
Points
pkervin 11/29/11 - 10:31 am
0
0

Dedicated hero's day in night

Dedicated hero's day in night out..sacrifice is a understatement. I give these men and woman the utmost respect. ;)

kermit

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 02:55 pm
0
0

Here is the problem. Don't

Here is the problem. Don't think this is a slam at these officers because it's not intended that way. But the officers are both white and there is fear when they go into the black neighborhoods. I'd bet all their calls were to black areas except the woman with the porn on her computer on Almond Dr. All the officers meet to eat in a restaurant where I've never seen a black person. All this in a county that has more black people than any other race.

What's the number of blacks in the RCSO? I'm sure with as many as there are out of work and the job only requiring a high school education more black men and women could be hired. Are we doing everything we can to recruit in black areas?

Community policing would have an officer out among the people walking at Cherry Tree apartments. They wouldn't be driving into the neighborhood in a convoy with 3 vehicles and only getting out the car to chase a kid.

See how our law enforcement efforts are misguided in Richmond County?

seenitB4
72625
Points
seenitB4 11/29/11 - 03:15 pm
0
0

river....You know I

river....You know I very-seldom ever disagree with you.....but in this case I see the black officers doing the same thing the white officers are doing....going in bunches.....

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/29/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0

Riverman. Logans = no black

Riverman. Logans = no black patrons???????????? I see significantly more there than some other restaurants.

seenitB4
72625
Points
seenitB4 11/29/11 - 03:21 pm
0
0

I think river is colorblind

I think river is colorblind vito......recently in CSRA I saw plenty of blacks at the restaurants...browns-yellow-creams-reds-& tricolor.:)

Little Lamb
40138
Points
Little Lamb 11/29/11 - 03:30 pm
0
0

I'm not trying to be picky,

I'm not trying to be picky, RM, but I'm trying to make sense out of your own words:

All this in a county that has more black people than any other race. . . . What's the number of blacks in the RCSO? I'm sure with as many as there are out of work and the job only requiring a high school education more black men and women could be hired. Are we doing everything we can to recruit in black areas?

With your guidelines, if RCSO recruited anywhere in Richmond County it would be in a black area. Photos in the Chronicle of the many job fairs around the county show a good representation of both blacks and whites.

fatboyhog
1493
Points
fatboyhog 11/29/11 - 04:12 pm
0
0

Methinks someone has a

Methinks someone has a problem with law enforcement in general and the Richmond Co. Sheriff in particular. If some people think that can do better (and maybe some could), they should run for Sheriff and run the department the "correct" way.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 11/29/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0

Our law enforcement personnel

Unpublished

Our law enforcement personnel are great. Yes, there are "bad apples" mixed in there, but that is true of any profession. They do the best they can with what they have. My hat is off to them.

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 06:22 pm
0
0

Now come on guys. I put my

Now come on guys. I put my finger on the problem with our policing in Richmond County. Logans is hardly a restaurant in a diverse area. For goodness sakes, it's in the Target Shopping Center in West Augusta. Now if anyone wants to show me the numbers as far as white and black officers I'll listen. Again, the blacks are the predominant race in the county. Admittedly, most of the crime is going on in their community. Convoying into any black neighborhood is as far fetched from community policing as anything can be.

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 06:31 pm
0
0

Maybe Shrimp can comment here

Maybe Shrimp can comment here because he lived in Charleston after me. But the city of Charleston hired a black police chief, Rueben Greenberg who went among the people of the downtown area daily on roller skates if you can believe that. He had all his officers park the cars and get out on foot getting to know the people. Now, this is a guess, but Charleston also had a lot more black officers than white ones it appeared to me. Chief Greenberg absolutely turned the crime statistics in Charleston around. He was hired as a consultant by other cities after the amazing results he obtained. (He also had some personal problems later, but that's out of the scope of this comment.)

Al Cannon is the Charleston County Sheriff and he used to be a good friend when I lived there. He will be the first to tell you policing the city of Charleston is much different than the outlying county. That's our problem here. We have a Charlie Webster designed county police force unsuited to city policing.

seenitB4
72625
Points
seenitB4 11/29/11 - 06:35 pm
0
0

Nope...not letting you off

Nope...not letting you off that easy rm....I was in the Target shopping center this past week.....many blacks in the restaurant-----(with babies I might add).....watching Ga. play.
It is just as unsafe on them as it would be for the white officers...are you living in Mayberry----with Barney Fife??..:)

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 11/29/11 - 06:44 pm
0
0

Having more black officers

Having more black officers used in community policing is not going to be any different than having white officers or having none at all. Looking at the negative end of it, I don't think community policing will solve problems in an area like Cherry Tree Crossing. If the police are to really ACTUALLY do their job of enforcing the law, that means that they would be making many arrests in that area, of the same folks they are trying to get to know and build trust with. It will end up being no different than it is now in many communities where the police don't make an arrest unless it is a well-to-do neighborhood of a predominantly different socio-racial-economic backround. Then we are back to square one.

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 07:12 pm
0
0

It's the same reason police

It's the same reason police officers are given low cost housing in bad areas in some communitities. You want the boots on the ground among the people. Do y'all agree we have to try something different?

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 07:15 pm
0
0

Maybe we should only go into

Maybe we should only go into some of the black areas with squad size forces in tanks? Speak to people via a loud speaker only, a gun swiveling on a turret and only get out of the tank to grab someone.

bclicious
468
Points
bclicious 11/29/11 - 07:31 pm
0
0

Riverman, I have to disagree

Riverman, I have to disagree about the whole racial issue of not enough black officers working for RCSO; however, I do like the idea of community policing. Community policing has been proven to bring the citizens and police closer together. I mean, it definitely couldn't make the situation any worse.

As far as RCSO responding to calls in force, it's called, "A desire to go home at the end of the shift" Riverman1, once you have been shot at a few times, let me know how you feel about strength in numbers.

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 08:43 pm
0
0

BClicious, as I said, I mean

BClicious, as I said, I mean no disrespect to you, Fatboyhog, or any other officers who may read this. I think you get what I mean from your comments. Like I say, something has to be done and community policing is the answer.

Sure you may have to enter Cherry Tree three at a time now and then, but something needs to be done to work with these people. Considering the black population of the county, those neighborhoods have to join with the RCSO if we want to stop crime to any significant degree and it's up to the RCSO to make it work. That's just how it is.

I know you are a combat vet also and I appreciate that.

Riverman1
70563
Points
Riverman1 11/29/11 - 08:46 pm
0
0

BClicious, would you say 90%

BClicious, would you say 90% of the crime you deal with in the county involves blacks? If so, don't you think it would be better to have more blacks involved in law enforcement? Wouldn't that create a certain dynamic that would also help the white officers?

Willow Bailey
20251
Points
Willow Bailey 11/29/11 - 11:14 pm
0
0

Doing the same thing and

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result?!? Not ever worked for me.

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