Sheriff candidates state case for office at event

Committee for Good Government holds forum

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 11:17 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:08 AM
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All but one candidate for sheriff made his case for office at the Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government on Tuesday evening.

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Freddie Sanders said he would get out of the office and talk to people who are dissatisfied with the department.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Freddie Sanders said he would get out of the office and talk to people who are dissatisfied with the department.

Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. John Ivey, Lt. Robbie Silas, Capt. Scott Peebles, lawyer Freddie Sanders and school public safety Lt. Richard Roundtree all addressed a crowd of more than 100, presenting their ideas on what they would do if elected to replace Ronnie Strength. Strength is retiring after 11 years in office.

Republican candidate Michael Godowns, a former road deputy for the sheriff’s office, did not attend. The event was held at the Julian Smith Barbeque Pit on Milledge Road by Lake Olmstead. Each man offered why he should be voted into office.

Ivey said he saw his children grow up in Augusta only to leave and never return.

“I want to change that,” he said.

He also said he would put into action early-prevention programs based on discipline. He said there is a lack of “teeth” in Augusta’s schools that leads young people to not respect the law or law enforcement.

Community policing was the foundation of Peebles’ candidacy. He said there are some falsehoods about that form of law enforcement, including that it is easy on criminals.

“If someone tells you community policing is not hard on crime, they haven’t done their homework,” Peebles said.

Through community policing, he said, officers are held accountable for their beats, which pushes them to become more involved with the people who live in these neighborhoods. He would also create a community advisory board and push the department to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, a national organization that sets standard operating procedures for police departments.

Roundtree said he would like to see people in the community work together, not against one another.

“Together, we can build a better community,” he said.

He said he would purchase the latest law enforcement technology, including facial recognition software. He said his experience with the Richmond County Board of Education puts him in a unique position to work with the schools.

“We need to promise less and deliver more,” he said.

Sanders said he doesn’t believe in community policing. He said the concept would require about “15,000 more police officers.”

“It’s a great concept, but I’m not behind it,” he said.

Instead, he said he would focus on putting criminals behind bars and getting two-man cars for deputies to make the job safer. He also would get out of the office.

“If you’re dissatisfied with your treatment by my department, I will come see you about it,” he said.

Silas focused on putting more road deputies on the street by eliminating some higher positions in the department. There were 40 fatal accidents last year and by increasing road patrol, he thinks that number will diminish.

“The budget is already set when we are sworn in,” he said. “So we have to make do with what we will have.”

He would also like to see the office bring back some of the youth programs cut in the last few years. Those will show deputies as people.

Richard Isdell, the president of Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government, urged the crowd to vote in the primaries.

“We have six good contenders for sheriff,” he said. “It is very important all of you get out and voice your support in July.”

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David Hopper
46
Points
David Hopper 05/09/12 - 04:31 am
3
0
It was good to hear from 5 of

It was good to hear from 5 of the 6 candidates for Sheriff. I understood the time constraints, but I had hoped they would have allowed a Q&A session. I wanted to know what exact programs from other jurisdictions that the new Sheriff would emulate when they speak of community policing.

However, I wanted to thank the candidates for speaking and the Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government for hosting the event. I signed up as a member after the event and was able to speak one on one with most of the candidates as well.

PS, The Chronicle videographer filmed me in the dinner line. :)

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 06:35 am
2
0
Slanted

This paper promotes a certain candidate.....yikes....ca you tell....big pic....quotes ......please try to be fair .......

Freddie ya gonna have to run harder ....let the people see what you can do to make Augusta safer....more secure...
Go to the people .....skip over the you-know-whos!!!

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 06:56 am
1
0
Barbecue

Freddie have your next meeting at Sconyers Barbecue.....with people who love you......know you...get Larry to give a few samples of his barbecue.....(great btw)
I should be your pr person---I have some ideas that will turn south Augusta into what it can be...
Folks....please think for yourself.......too much crime is infested in certain areas....putting the same people in office year after year hasn't worked...now has it??

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 07:51 am
0
0
pic ??

Hahaha....keep changing the pic...ya might show FS someday.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 08:09 am
2
2
Not aware

You know what High....years ago some qualified men rode with the police...esp. on the weekends...retired police-firemen....they didn't get pay for this btw...they did it because they loved the county & wanted to help...I know because I lived the wifey part while my husband helped the county...
There will be nay sayers coming on here telling you what can't be done.....some men know what CAN BE DONE.....THINK for yourself!

Little Lamb
45256
Points
Little Lamb 05/09/12 - 08:17 am
2
1
Partners

HighSociety believes it is a bad idea for officers to work in teams of two, partners riding in the same car. Actually, it would be a good idea. You can cut the fleet of cruisers in half, cut maintenance in half, and drastically cut down on fuel consumption.

My observation is that if someone makes a crime call or has a traffic accident, there are nearly always two patrol cars that answer the call, each one with one officer inside. If we used the partner concept, you would need only one cruiser to respond, because there would be two officers inside to back each other up at the scene.

Go, Freddy!

FriedFacts
61
Points
FriedFacts 05/09/12 - 08:56 am
0
0
The biggest opponents of two
Unpublished

The biggest opponents of two officers per car is usually the officers. Lots of reasons why.

augustahistorybuff
49
Points
augustahistorybuff 05/09/12 - 09:40 am
3
0
Community policing and other issues

A couple of candidates have the right idea on the direction the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Office should go. The first is community policing. Captain Pebbles is spot on when he states the community policing model will work. Sanders seems to be a naysayer, and one has to understand this is a different era than what he dealt with as a law enforcement officer may years ago. Crime needs to see more crackdowns and operations as have occurred under the current administration with the addition of community policing and strong educational program for juveniles and adults. The G.R.E.A.T. program is the best model out there at this point in time.

Second, a community board to assist the VISION of the sheriff's office is important for the community. It's not one that should be used to take advice on disciplinary action against law enforcement.

Third, the importance of having the sheriff's office certified under an accrediting body to direct it toward professionalism is of the utmost importance in today's society.

As for having two man officers, in larger cities it is preferable. But, in rural and midsize communities, the one-man car allows for the better deployment of resources. When one takes to two-man cars, they have eliminated half of county patrol. Making beats bigger for this purpose will defeat the cause. If one has two-man cars on every beat, the number of patrolman will have to double to keep up with coverage, therefore, costing the taxpayer extreme public safety amounts.

There is something to be said about having experience with children in the schools where one understands the issues at hand because they are on the frontlines dealing with juvenile problems in the schools every day.

As for technology, any updated equipment is pertinent in fighting crime. Unless you are one who has been behind the wheel of a patrol unit and done your homework on these issues, don’t judge!

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 05/09/12 - 09:49 am
2
0
Huh?

High society didn't say it was a bad idea for there to be two deputies per car. It's not possible with the budget constraints the department is trying to work with. Peebles and Silas realize they are being asked to do a lot with limited funds. Making the most of those funds is the key. Facial recognition software is as useless in Augusta as the airport.

allhans
23523
Points
allhans 05/09/12 - 09:56 am
0
0
Sanders photo depicts him to

Sanders photo depicts him to be unhappy...hmmmm

Dr. Craig Spinks.Georgians for Educational Excellence
106
Points
2
0
Lt. Ivey said, "There is a

Lt. Ivey said, "There is a lack of 'teeth' in Augusta's schools that causes young people not to respect the law or law enforcement."

I'm sure that many, if not most, current and former RCSS public school teachers would agree with this veteran law enforcement officer's assessment.

I sure do.

csraguy
2220
Points
csraguy 05/09/12 - 04:33 pm
4
0
Captain Peebles by far has

Captain Peebles by far has the best vision and direction for the agency and clearly stated that direction last night. There is no doubt who the most prepared leader for the RCSO is.

Prior to last night, Freddy Sanders would have been my second choice. However, wishing to take us back 20 or more years is not the direction the department needs to go. I do agree with 2 man cars and bet every candidate up there would love that as well but not when you would have to cut the beats in half, greatly increase response times of deputies, etc. because there is no way anyone is going to come in as Sheriff and double the force. As for him not seeing the need to improve the agency, set good standards, etc. through tested methods of community policing and accreditation – both PROVEN to work, well that speaks volumes.

LL, good points on putting 2nd persons in cars but not the way Sanders wishes to cut the beats in half and greatly increase response times. Even with all of the cars now, calls are often pending. Peebles properly addresses this through Community Policing to include certified and well trained reserve officers augmenting full time deputies without cutting any beats.

rational thought trumps emotion
2549
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 05/09/12 - 12:38 pm
3
1
As a deputy with the Richmond

Having worked as a deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office for 10 years, the upcoming Sheriff's election is something that I consider to be very important. Having worked with all but one of the candidates, I have gained firsthand knowledge of their work ethics, orginizational and managerial skills. Although I considered Captain Peebles the only democratic candidate capable of taking the helm of the department, I had my reservations because I believed the department would remain virtually unchanged.
Lt. Silas is just not capable of leading this orginization as he currently struggles in the position he is in. Lt. Ivey has some good ideas but is more ready for retirement than the new challenge of being the Sheriff. Richard Roundtree is lucky to still even be a police officer and should take the blessing he was given and continue working with kids as he is more suited for that. Captain Peebles is very capable, detailed, a strong leader and has brought forth some good additions to the agency over the years and takes good care of the men and women under his direct supervision.
The Sheriff's Office, in my opinion has some morale issues, needs to aggressively move into the technology age and needs to have more standards set in place for promotions, etc. instead of being promoted because you are a relative or friend of the Sheriff or department supervisor. Due to my thoughts, I was leaning towards possibly supporting Freddie Sanders even though I honestly believe he wouldn't be much different from what we have now because he simply hasn't been in policing for nearly 30 years. All of this changed after the meeting Captain Peebles held for those within the agency to hear his views and answer any questions.
Most within the agency are very appreciative that he invited everyone, listened to all in attendance, answered every question and was very informative and clear that this would be his policy as Sheriff as well. Although I am not completely sold on community policing, Captain Peebles seems very passionate about it and I did like the majority of what he had to say. Either way, I agree with him that it is time for the department to make changes into pro-active policing. He explained how it will bridge the gap between the police and many within the community as well as reduce crime while still being tough on criminals, especially violent ones. He has a goal of getting the department accredited, which I am a firm believer in. By doing so it will professionalize the department and change the ways promotions are achieved as well as many other positive things for the agency and community. He made it clear he will stand up for the men and women in the agency no matter which division they work in, no matter what race they are or their age so long as they are working toward the goal of bettering the agency and Augusta by reducing crime. He didn't make any silly promises to get our support and made it clear that if we didnt support him we would still have a job if he became Sheriff so long as we were giving a good days work for a good days pay. He kept the meeting very professional and as promised non-political by not asking for support or handing out campaing materials. Some were nervous at first to attend but were very glad they did. I now have absolutely no doubts as to who is the best candidate for Sheriff. That person is Captain Scott Peebles.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 12:37 pm
2
0
Rational

Try this for rational thought..

Freddie bypass this paper & go to the people...esp. in south Augusta.......if all these great ideas worked like some say on here....why is the crime rate out of sight in the county?
Ask the people on Meadowbrook--Glenn Hills--Lumpkin Rd--Peach Orchard .......I dare you ......ask them how safe they feel.....ask some of the posters on here......
Big talk but not much action...

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 12:43 pm
2
1
30 years ago

30 years ago I lived off Wheeless Rd. ya know what...I felt safe.....so say what you please but going back to the old ways would probably suit a lot of people.

countyman
19707
Points
countyman 05/09/12 - 01:48 pm
1
0
I don't know who I'm voting

I don't know who I'm voting for yet, but atleast there's some very good candidates this time around...

The sheriff can't really do much in terms of making people 'feel' safe when they don't control the media... The Sheriff can help lower the crime rate like the former sheriff did in 2010 and 2011... If you want to make certain people 'feel' safe then you have to demolished abandoned homes, clean up trash, etc....

Augusta is already safer than Durham, Charleston, Columbia, Savannah, Greensboro, Chattanooga, Macon, Columbus, Greenville, Jackson, Little Rock, etc...

The local media makes some people believe the crime rate is so high.. That's why happens though when 95% of the crime reports or tribunals are dedicated toward Richmond County.. Yet 95% of the new stores, restaurants, businesses, etc or positive news are never directed towards the main county..

EyeMaeNo
20
Points
EyeMaeNo 05/09/12 - 02:13 pm
0
0
"There are none so blind as
Unpublished

"There are none so blind as those that will not see."

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 05/09/12 - 02:24 pm
0
0
Those rose colored glasses...
Unpublished

Those rose colored glasses...

csraguy
2220
Points
csraguy 05/09/12 - 04:42 pm
1
0
Countyman, you are correct.

Countyman, you are correct. Statistically, the CSRA has a lower crime rate than many areas not to mention that violent crimes have decreased the past 7 years. However, far more does need to be done in bringing the agency forward for the times in which we currently live. I would venture to say everyone everywhere felt “safer” 30 years ago but that has nothing to do with policing styles and most methods used 30 years ago would land officers in federal prison now. From how crimes are investigated to the laws and even the needs of the employees and community, it is far different than “the good ole days”.

As for whoever the next Sheriff is, it will also take action from the commissioners as Public Safety must become a priority for this county. The Deputies and staff need fair and comparable pay for similar sized agencies, the furlough days need to end, reductions in force and continued decreases in the budget also should end, especially when they have money for non-essential items.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 05/09/12 - 04:59 pm
1
1
Seenit and LL, I never said I

Seenit and LL, I never said I disagreed with two officers to a car or that it was a bad idea. The reason is the budget. Im sorry, but this isn't the 70's, things have changed. We need to move forward not backwards. The crime is not as bad as you make it sound. Yes for those who chose to live a certain lifestyle around the criminal element the chances of being a victim is higher. There are innocent people who become a victim of crime, but not as many as you think.
RTTE, I agree with your comments, and thank you for your service.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 06:36 pm
1
1
Too funny

Yall are to funny on here....

It really is suspicious that some only come on to promote a certain candidate .....too bad you didn't show up on here when the articles were about the break ins---murders---shootings....& they have been on here every week......why oh why would thousands leave Richmond county for Columbia county & elsewhere....
I know first hand how much some have suffered from crime...I don't need stats or any so called comparison with other cities or etc.....You seem to "care" so much about Richmond county........why not do what I suggested.....find out from the citizens in the areas I mention just how they feel about their safety....or just walk down any of the streets during the night ........
When you say the police would end up in jail for policing like they did years ago...WHAT are you talking about?? Geez

No ...I can't stay here & guard this article all night & reply...sigh...but I am at peace with myself because I know the truth ......I have nothing to gain either way.....I am not looking for anything for myself.....I want the quality of life I once knew in Augusta...some of my family still live in Richmond county....some of my friends still live in the county.....some friends on here (posting) live in the county.......I hear from them ........that is the reason I want the best possible protection & police force in Richmond county....

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 06:43 pm
1
0
heh

BTW csra....countyman lives in the downtown area...you couldn't give him a house on Meadowbrook...I tried!! hehh heh
goodnight.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 05/09/12 - 06:57 pm
1
1
They move to Columbia County

They move to Columbia County for the school system. Crime doesn't have a zip code its everywhere. Stop complaining and expecting the police to do everything. Team up with your neighbors and come up with a lawful plan. Commenting on every crime article obvisly isn't the solution. You may need to try a different approach.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/09/12 - 09:05 pm
1
1
Get real high

I live in Gwinnett county high....I don't have the crime in my neighborhood that Richmond has...btw..I will speak about crime there any time I please...yes they do move because of the schools.....but that isn't the only reason...
but since you seem to doubt what I say...here goes...

My sister business on Telfair has had 3 breakins in 2 years..
My good friend was assaulted inside the restroom at MCG...
My friend on Willis Foreman had to bolt down her farm equipment to keep them....& has had attempted breakins at her home...
Friends on here have had multiple breakins & trouble near Glenn Hills...
My sister moved from Meadowbrook years back because of crime & breakins..
My daughter near Wheeler & Walton Way had tvs taken from patio area..
Another daughter had a breakin & guns taken,,
Parents had breakin near Hephzibah area
Grandmother had 3 breakins on Heph McBean Rd..
house near Wheeless had breakin & guns taken..
Sister on Brown Rd had multiple items taken from garage..

This is just a sample from 1 family & I'm still forgetting some things...

No...I don't need a different approach...THE POLICE NEED FUNDING & NEED TO COMBAT CRIME IN RICHMOND COUNTY.

Also a sister had her purse taken from a Kroger store..
another friend was robbed while walking around Baker Ave near her home...

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 05/09/12 - 09:24 pm
1
0
I agree 100% with supporting

I agree 100% with supporting law enforcement and combating crime. You have the right to support who you chose to be the next Sheriff just as everyone else here. I support Scott Pebbles for sheriff, and I believe he is the best man to address all the problems you listed.

AutumnLeaves
6971
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/09/12 - 09:27 pm
1
0
I agree with seenitB4.

I've lived in several of the areas seenitB4 has ties to, including Wheeless Road area, and I agree with her. 30 years and more ago, I felt relatively safe here in the subdivisions. But I noticed crime increasing after that and by 1988 it began to hit us personally. Between the late 90's and up to about 2006 we were hit regularly by various types of crimes and misdemeanors. I reported everything I had time to report and am sorry I showed mercy in at least one case. I put the word out that if the item was returned I would drop the charges and I did, even though the memory card with the item was not returned. Considering what happened next I regret trying to give them a break.

countyman
19707
Points
countyman 05/09/12 - 10:09 pm
2
1
People moved to Columbia

Let's be real people moved to Columbia County or Aiken because of white flight.. Certain parts of Richmond County were becoming to black in the eyes of some, and CC was the new area.. The same thing happen in tons of cities across the united states of america.. That phase is definitely over with, and Richmond County is the one with the real downtown/urban core in the metro.. Of course some neighborhoods will suffer if a portion of the disposable income moves out of the area, and the businesses soon follow.. Parts of South Augusta may have lost their some of their white population, but parts of inner city/downtown Augusta will lost it's black population..

There are several schools in Richmond County who are better than the schools in Aiken or Columbia County.. There are places/areas in Richmond County who are safer and more expensive to live than areas in both of those counties..

Seenitb4.. I can think of places in Gwinnett much worse than Meadowbrook.. I bet a million dollars you don't live around Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Gwinnett. There's multiple neighborhoods along Meadowbrook, and it's not like it's Sunset or some inner city neighborhood.. Plenty of homes in the area have two cars in the drive way, and it's working class..

I'm sure you probably live in the east of northern part of the county. Western Gwinnett or South Gwinnett wasn't always in the middle of a drug cartel, and the residents weren't used to hearing gun shots.. White people have left Gwinnett County for Forsyth and Cherokee.. The same thing will happen to Columbia County over the next decades, and Mcduffie will be the next 'new' area..

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 05/09/12 - 10:30 pm
1
0
Once again countyman speaks
Unpublished

Once again countyman speaks for everyone that moved from RC...except me. I moved from RC because the area was no longer safe to raise a family and the schools stunk. Unless you were in a magnet school every high school was under performing. RC had over 30 murders and close to 40. The neighborhood I moved from had a drive by shooting and the police did absolutely nothing about it because nobody was shot. They advised me to move. So I guess I'm the one white guy that moved for different reasons.

seenitB4
85139
Points
seenitB4 05/10/12 - 06:22 am
2
0
countyman

countyman...you are correct about where I live & what will happen in Columbia county...see sometimes I can agree with you..:)

Little Lamb
45256
Points
Little Lamb 05/10/12 - 09:56 am
0
1
Community Policing

I wonder what “community policing” will look like at the practice rounds just outside the gates next year?

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