Strength won't seek re-election

Well-known Richmond County sheriff will leave office this year.

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Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he has only one regret in his career in law enforcement.

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Sheriff Ronnie Strength stands with his wife, Patti, and stepdaughter Heather as he announces he will not seek re-election.    ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Sheriff Ronnie Strength stands with his wife, Patti, and stepdaughter Heather as he announces he will not seek re-election.

“Many times over my tenure with the sheriff’s office, I put my job first and my family second,” he said. “This was not the right thing to do.”

As he said it, his voice cracked and his eyes became teary. He seemed more surprised than anyone at his reaction.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I’m not like this.”

Surrounded by his wife of 14 years, Patti, and stepdaughter Heather Disher, and wearing thick black-rimmed glasses pushed down on his nose, the 66-year-old announced he will not seek re-election this year.

Strength said he was “just tired” after 35 years with the department, the past 11 as sheriff.

“Everyone should know when it’s time,” he said. “And I think the time has come.”

Another factor Strength said went into his decision was the death of his father. Howard Strength was a career officer with the Augusta Police Department – first as a motorcycle

officer, then as a traffic officer and later as a road lieutenant. Strength said his father often worked two to three jobs while he was growing up and he rarely saw him. Finally, at age 69, his father told his family he was going to retire.

“I thought, my father is finally going to get some rest,” Strength said.

Instead, his father had a stroke and died before he was able to do so.

“You’re not promised tomorrow,” he said.

The two women flanking Strength during his announcement are not ready for him to be done working.

Patti Strength, an administrative assistant at juvenile court, said she has to work 12 more years before she can retire, so she’s concerned how he will fill his days.

“Maybe he’ll still change his mind,” she said. “His health is good. The community needs him.”

However, Strength said he has spent the past 35 years being on-call nights, weekends and holidays. Phone calls at 3 or 4 a.m. were not uncommon.

“I want to have somewhat of a life for myself,” Strength said. “I have dedicated my life to this agency and this community. Everyone needs to know when to quit.”

His career has seen a fair share of accomplishments. His department was responsible for three large undercover operations – 2007’s Augusta Ink, 2011’s Fox Hunt and the recent Smoke Screen – that yielded more than 300 arrests.

He was instrumental in the expansion of the Webster Detention Center, which included the addition of 484 beds in two
male pods, an expanded kitchen and laundry area, a medical area and a video visitation center.

At the end of 2011, crime in most categories was down significantly, some the lowest in four years. Strength created the metal and burglary task forces and got holiday pay for deputies. Even through the worsening economy and city budget cuts, he managed to avoid losing any road deputies.

Lt. Robbie Silas, Strength’s brother-in-law, has expressed interest in running for sheriff, as has Capt. Scott Peebles. Education Public Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree, a former sheriff’s investigator, also has said he would run if Strength stepped down.

Silas and Roundtree both attended Fri­day’s announcement, but neither would talk about a run for the office.

Strength said he will not endorse anyone until after the primary July 31.  

He said he has two pieces of advice for whoever replaces him: Get the support of the department, and get the support of the com­munity.

“You got to have the community to do this job,” he said.

Comments (22) Add comment
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EyeMaeNo
20
Points
EyeMaeNo 03/09/12 - 03:20 pm
0
1
Farewell Sheriff Strength.
Unpublished

Farewell Sheriff Strength. Let the games begin!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/09/12 - 03:49 pm
5
0
There isn't enough room from
Unpublished

There isn't enough room from me to show my appreciation and gratitude for Sheriff Strength!

Such a GREAT man. . . I thank you for ALL that you have done for me and my family. May God be with you and your family! Thanks Sheriff Strength!!!!!!!!!!!

csraguy
2274
Points
csraguy 03/09/12 - 03:56 pm
7
0
Sheriff Strength has given 35

Sheriff Strength has given 35 years of dedicated professional service to this community with a mere couple of sick days. Anyone who serves such as this, like him and/or his policies or not, deserves our appreciation.

Prior to Sheriff Webster and Strength, we had many arrogant and non-law-abiding Sheriff's that put this community in a bad light. That is the last thing we need now. Sheriff Strength, thank you very much for your dedicated service to our community.

david jennings
590
Points
david jennings 03/09/12 - 04:08 pm
6
0
Yes Sheriff Strength you have

Yes Sheriff Strength you have been a blessing and best wishes for the years ahead. Thank You sir.

TruthJusticeFaithHope
218
Points
TruthJusticeFaithHope 03/09/12 - 04:40 pm
6
0
Hero, stablizing factor,

Hero, stablizing factor, fair, honest, tough, and a great guy. He will be missed. What a great tenure that Sheriff Ronnie Strength has had. Sheriff Webster was excellent as well... Let's hope the next sheriff is as good. THANK YOU RONNIE.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/09/12 - 05:39 pm
4
0
THANKS, Ronnie.

THANKS, Ronnie.

seenitB4
86577
Points
seenitB4 03/09/12 - 05:48 pm
5
0
I'm sure you do need a

I'm sure you do need a rest....good luck to you...you have done a great job..

Newsflash
1883
Points
Newsflash 03/09/12 - 07:58 pm
5
0
A fine man who did a fine job

A fine man who did a fine job ! Wishing you and yours many years of health and happiness.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/10/12 - 12:18 am
0
0
Thank you for your service
Unpublished

Thank you for your service Mr. Strength!! Wish you many happy great years to enjoy your retirement, you deserve it!! =)

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/10/12 - 07:39 am
3
0
If I ever see Mr. Strength in

If I ever see Mr. Strength in town, I will buy him and his family's dinner. A great man and a a great Augustan.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/10/12 - 07:51 am
2
0
Just watched the video. Sir,

Just watched the video. Sir, please enjoy your family in your retirement. Watching the video just enhanced my viewpoint that Augusta really does have great people.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/10/12 - 07:53 am
4
0
One other thing.. About 8

One other thing.. About 8 years ago I was in circle K on my way to work at 4:30 in the morning and our sheriff was at the counter buying a cup of coffee. I could tell by the look on his face that he had a bad night. I wanted to give him a hug, but in Augusta, GA as a male, that was probably not the right thing to do.

seenitB4
86577
Points
seenitB4 03/10/12 - 07:51 am
3
0
nnnaahh...don't think so

nnnaahh...don't think so either Bonk...HEH...even the Sheriff might think ya were after sumthin else...BUT YA got me LOLLOL....thanks

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/10/12 - 08:06 am
0
0
seenitB4: that Shar Pei is

seenitB4: that Shar Pei is coolest looking dude I've ever seen! Is it a girl or boy?

seenitB4
86577
Points
seenitB4 03/10/12 - 08:10 am
0
0
Thanks...she is a she....we

Thanks...she is a she....we had 2..he passed away 2 years ao...I'm still missing him...
She is an ole lady now....about 10 years old...she looked like that pic when she was apup though...
Some on here have said that many like my posts because of her great looks...LOL...prolly right.:)

seenitB4
86577
Points
seenitB4 03/10/12 - 08:12 am
1
0
Come over to r/rs

Come over to r/rs sometimes..Sean Moores wants us to stay on topic on the rest of the articles......r/rs are a hodgepod of EVERYTHING....really best of the paper IMO.....because the posters are VEEERY SMART!

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/10/12 - 08:15 am
1
0
seenitB4: Please apologize to

seenitB4: Please apologize to her for me saying "dude" I'm trying my best not to misjudge anymore--so I guess I screwed up again.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 03/10/12 - 01:38 pm
2
0
WHOMEVER the next sheriff

WHOMEVER the next sheriff is.............he or she have an EXCELLENT example to follow in Ronnie Strength; he may have his critics, but nobody can say that he did not look out for Richmond County citizens. My late father-in-law, former city councilman James P. Tarver once told me that the best thing he did in his career was to support Ronnie Strength for sheriff. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR RETIREMENT SHERIFF STRENGTH...............

Riverman1
83421
Points
Riverman1 03/10/12 - 01:47 pm
1
0
SCGator, I know your daddy

SCGator, I know your daddy was respected by law enforcement. He showed me the gold badge they gave him once. He was the old City Councilman liason with law enforcement in the city.

Ron Martin CPP
2
Points
Ron Martin CPP 03/10/12 - 02:16 pm
2
0
Ronnie, I wish you all of the

Ronnie, I wish you all of the best. After retiring from the US Army (at Fort Gordon) and recently retired from the US Federal Government I found that teaching the craft at a college or university is a way to give back even more to the law enforcement community. After staying as active as you have and coming to a stop is the quickest way to go into heaven's waiting room. So, enjoy your retirement years and stay involved. Sincerely Ron Martin, CPP

Sweet son
10309
Points
Sweet son 03/10/12 - 06:08 pm
1
0
Thanks for all of your hard

Thanks for all of your hard work Ronnie!!! But Roundtree??????????? Give us a break!!!!!!!!!!!!

whyme
1766
Points
whyme 03/10/12 - 08:09 pm
1
0
Sheriff Strength has earned

Sheriff Strength has earned his retirement and was quoted as saying that he was "tired". I'm sure his wife supports his decision but it should have come across in the press conference rather than indicating that since she will continue to work, he shouldn't quit now. Perhaps she just meant that they wouldn't be able to spend time together like they should, but does she really need to work or just wants to? She and her brother Robbie are hard workers so maybe it's just their way. At any rate, the best to them all!

Patriot
52
Points
Patriot 03/10/12 - 11:58 pm
2
0
Sheriff Strength is a lawman

Sheriff Strength is a lawman that has served with honor, dignity, and respect for his fellow man. His shoes will be a big pair to fill. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors. I wish he would consider writing a book covering his career in law enforcement.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 03/11/12 - 12:25 am
1
0
Best of luck to Sheriff

Best of luck to Sheriff Strength. He leaves behind very big shoes to fill. Let's hope Augustans will measure his replacement candidates by experience and leadership rather then political bias. Augusta has tremendous potential but safety and security must be a high priority in order for progress in all other areas to be made.

spartaninsc
1
Points
spartaninsc 03/11/12 - 12:29 pm
1
0
I was appalled to hear his

I was appalled to hear his wife say that she didn't want him to retire because she had to work severl more years!! Talk about not supportive - maybe she should have thought about that when she married him. Best of luck to Sheriff Strength

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