Strength: Next sheriff's role is enforcement, not social work

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 10:33 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 8:51 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said whoever is elected to succeed him next year should concentrate on catching criminals and not worry about rehabilitating them.

Back | Next
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength speaks during a Good Government meeting at the Julian Smith Casino Barbeque Pit.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength speaks during a Good Government meeting at the Julian Smith Casino Barbeque Pit.

“The next sheriff is going to be elected to enforce the law, not to be a social worker,” Strength told those gathered at the Julian Smith Barbeque Pit for the monthly meeting of the Augusta Richmond County Committee for Good Government.

Strength, a longtime member of the group, was the group’s speaker Tuesday. He told those gathered that it would probably be the last time he spoke to them as sheriff before he retires in January. He encouraged the group to support his friend, Republican candidate Freddie Sanders, when they went to the polls in November.

“I would greatly appreciate it for you to get out and work for Freddie to make him sheriff,” he said.

Strength said other candidates have made juvenile crime and the problems facing the youth of Richmond County an issue in the sheriff’s race, but he said it wasn’t an issue the sheriff could effectively address.

He said there are other agencies and programs that are better equipped and staffed to deal with the causes of youth crime and its associated problems.

“My job has always been to lock ’em up and I don’t apologize for that,” he said.

Strength said most of the “hundreds of millions of dollars” spent every year on juvenile issues are focused on the wrong end of the problem. By the time most teens get involved in youth gangs and criminal activity, it is often too late to intervene, he said.

“We need to get started with the 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds,” he said. “We need to spend money on the 14-, 15- and 16-year-old girls who are having these babies. Somebody has to teach them how to raise these kids.”

Strength said American society was to blame for a lot of the current social ills because citizens failed to stand up when prayer and corporal punishment were removed from schools, when abortion became available to teens without parental permission and sexually provocative images became commonplace in the media, among other things.

“We reap what we sow,” he said. “The old school is gone, but I was lucky enough to be part of it.”

Comments (63) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
79084
Points
Riverman1 09/11/12 - 10:56 pm
6
9
I wonder how Sheriff Strength

I wonder how Sheriff Strength feels about Freddie Sanders' opponent's supporter, Scott Peebles, now that Peebles is supporting Richard Roundtree? Hilarious.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/11/12 - 11:41 pm
8
12
Well, based on his comments
Unpublished

Well, based on his comments at this forum, it's definitely time, maybe long past time, for Sheriff Strength to retire. I'm not sure I ever heard any top law enforcement officer care so little about crime prevention and what his office can do beyond locking people up...which is a proven ineffective and costly crime control strategy.

thauch12
6136
Points
thauch12 09/12/12 - 02:08 am
7
15
And we wonder why Augusta is going to the dogs...

And we wonder why Augusta is going to the dogs...
It's this kind of attitude that will get us absolutely nowhere. Locking people up after the fact doesn't change the fact that the crime happened in the first place. Add to that, you're throwing people into the very system that breeds the gangs that are the reason for a good part of these problems. Thank God this man is leaving.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 09/12/12 - 02:15 am
5
9
Exit stage right
Unpublished

Its about that time.

countyman
19048
Points
countyman 09/12/12 - 04:02 am
11
0
I would like to see cameras &

I would like to see cameras & substations in the urban core of the city(CBD, Harrisburg, East Augusta, Medical District/15th street, & Laney Walker/Bethlehem)... This would allow the other cops to focus on the suburban areas... Everybody would know the 'criminals' in their precinct, and the 'hot spots' for criminal activity.. It's much easier for lower income/working class neighborhood to work together with the police if they know them personally.. The city/RCSO throwing some type community gatherings in the different neighborhoods most affect by crime will also help..

I know cameras have been talked about for the CBD, but should include the entire core.. Then you can expand the camera system to the major roads in the suburbs were foot traffic exist(Wrightsboro, Wheeler, Washington, Peach Orchard, Gordon Hwy, Deans Bridge)We also need more foot & bike patrols alongside of car patrols around town.. My final suggestion is to pass out tickets to anybody caught with less than one ounce of marijuana, and not lock them up..

agustinian
671
Points
agustinian 09/12/12 - 06:57 am
11
7
We'll Miss You

Sheriff Strength, we will miss you. People need to hear straight talk. "Law enforcement" is exactly what the words mean.

To paraphrase an old line from a popular movie "some people can't handle the truth."

seenitB4
81016
Points
seenitB4 09/12/12 - 07:42 am
14
5
The man is RIGHT!!

He said...
Strength said most of the “hundreds of millions of dollars” spent every year on juvenile issues are focused on the wrong end of the problem. By the time most teens get involved in youth gangs and criminal activity, it is often too late to intervene, he said.

Some can't handle the truth....if the other way worked we would be living in heaven right now....
You have to start at the age of 2 or 3...& give discipline & love....

The Sheriff needs to be a Sheriff....let the social workers do the rest...
Thank you for your service Sheriff Strength....all I can say you are a tough dude......keep standing tall.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 09/12/12 - 08:35 am
8
0
Want to reduce crime in a community?

Just knock on a few doors and ask the residents or the Neighborhood Watch who their biggest problems are in the area. Many times the people already know the problems in the community.

Have the deputies on EVERY shift get the same info. on problems.

scratchthesurface
26
Points
scratchthesurface 09/12/12 - 08:00 am
0
1
Sherrif Strength's Comment
Unpublished

His comment was down right racist! He knew what he wanted to say, but is too much of a chicken to say it. Richard Roundtree will be the next sheriff, social worker or not. The RCSD needs some type of revamping to get rid of this Good Ol' Boy 1950's mentality that's been instilled by Strength and Webster. In My Most Humble Opinion !

lifelongresident
1317
Points
lifelongresident 09/12/12 - 08:02 am
0
1
people what good is it to
Unpublished

people what good is it to arrest the thugs when there is no where to put them???? they get arrested, tried, then given a short sentence or probation because of overcrowding...first you need very, very, very large jails designed for long term storage...say a 10,000 bed facility then start locking them up until they are dead or no longer a threat to society...which ever comes first

saywhatagain
409
Points
saywhatagain 09/12/12 - 08:11 am
5
0
What?

What? The Sheriff is leaving office, the primary is over, the selection of his successor in November is all but decided, so it seems a little late in the game to be handing out warning tickets. We wish him health and happiness in retirement, but we sure could have used his support back in May when the candidates first filed. Oh well. Life goes on I suppose.

seenitB4
81016
Points
seenitB4 09/12/12 - 08:14 am
8
3
To thauch12

What do YOU suggest we do....maybe pat them on the back & say pls don't do that again...haha

Get real...we have been playing social workers for YEARS...how is it working??

seenitB4
81016
Points
seenitB4 09/12/12 - 08:14 am
10
5
Sheriff Arpaio

We need you.....

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 09/12/12 - 08:17 am
2
3
Strange

Countyman wrote:

I would like to see cameras & substations in the urban core of the city. . . . This would allow the other cops to focus on the suburban areas.

I had to scratch my head on this one. Put cameras and empty offices in the urban corps and put the cops in the suburbs. The cops will keep the suburbs safe, but the cameras and empty offices will not protect the citizens in the urban core.

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 09/12/12 - 08:24 am
1
0
I Wonder
Unpublished

I wonder what would happen if the sheriff decided not to retire now, and continue being sheriff 4 more years? Is that possible?

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/12/12 - 09:20 am
8
11
The role of law enforcement
Unpublished

The role of law enforcement is to "protect and serve, members of the community. Not simply to respond and lock-up.
See it, give me one example of sheriff strength and his team doing "social work.". He deflects any responsibility for doing his job by pointing to deficient parenting skills and the lack of prayer in schools. Now, this man is in charge of the second largest police force in Georgia???

CobaltGeorge
149751
Points
CobaltGeorge 09/12/12 - 08:34 am
10
1
Facts

"He deflects any responsibility for doing his job by pointing to deficit parenting skills and the lack of prayer in schools."

That show that some will never accept true facts as a reason...

KSL
120857
Points
KSL 09/12/12 - 08:38 am
10
2
The sheriff is not elected to

The sheriff is not elected to do social work. It is not his job.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 09/12/12 - 08:51 am
4
0
Cameras

At one time I even set up my Security Camera DVR to allow RCSO Internet access. But they were and are spread so thin on the south side that they just didn't have the time.

Typically, Cameras are only good if mounted in areas that need them at the time and monitored 24/7 by enough people and if there is a RCSO patrol deputy nearby free to respond.

Heck try getting an RCSO Investigator to actually seriously investigate a Forced Entry Burglary for the average person without pull in the county. It just ain't gonna happen.

RCSO Sting operations are the only hope of recovering stolen items and that is a very anorexic hope at best.

KSL
120857
Points
KSL 09/12/12 - 08:46 am
11
1
Wonder how quickly this

Wonder how quickly this teenage lack of parenting skills would go away if the teenagers' parents were held responsible for the offspring's offspring and not the government (taxpayers). Stop paying for bad behavior.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 09/12/12 - 08:52 am
9
3
I actually completely agree

I actually completely agree with Strength. The sheriff is supposed to enforce the law, nothing more, nothing less. The social work aspect of it needs to be dealt with by social workers, but first and foremost, the parents need to be on the frontline dealing with problems of gangs and THEIR kids out in the streets all times of night. The decision on punishment is up to the judge, not the officer or the sheriff. It seems like everyone wants to leave the VICTIMS out of the equation. They have rights TOO.

curly123053
4188
Points
curly123053 09/12/12 - 08:53 am
9
0
Everywhere you look it has

Everywhere you look it has always been the Sheriff's job to lock up the offenders, and the court's job to provide for rehab for the criminal, if that is possible. Law Enforcement needs to be responsible to the victims of crime. Victims of crime feel left behind in today's justice system which tries to paint the offender as a victim of various circumstances. Victims need to feel that someone is backing them up and making them feel secure, and that someone is the sheriff offices and police departments who should be pursuing maximum charges against the offenders. It is not the law enforcers job to be coddling the criminals of the community.

seenitB4
81016
Points
seenitB4 09/12/12 - 08:53 am
8
1
palmetto

I resent your implication that he was not doing his job....

THE PARENTS haven't been doing THEIR job..
No...he doesn't need to do more---we need stakeouts & start shooting thugs when they breakin holding a dang gun & pointing in an innocents face...GOT THAT---I said KILLING PUNKS--Enough already.

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 09/12/12 - 09:10 am
5
0
Jessica Lang

She was in the bio-pic about Patsy Cline. Somewhere in that movie was a line that went something like this:

“You made that baby, now you've got to rock it.”

JRC2024
7926
Points
JRC2024 09/12/12 - 09:19 am
6
1
The sheriff is right. Why not

The sheriff is right. Why not care for the victim in the crime. Lock up the offenders, fix the mammas and daddys(if you can find them) who keep churning out kids with no means to support them. They do not care about them-only the few minuets it took to create them. Dranstic measures have to be taken against these kinds of people because they could care less what their children do, the morals they have because they have none and the crimes they committ. They only say don't put my baby in jail. Big deal, put them in jail if it keeps all of the law abiding safe.

JRC2024
7926
Points
JRC2024 09/12/12 - 09:18 am
5
2
thauch, maybe locking them up

thauch, maybe locking them up after the fact doesn't change the fact that the crime has been done but it sure keeps them from doing another. Protect the victim not the offender.

itsanotherday1
40032
Points
itsanotherday1 09/12/12 - 09:20 am
6
0
When I first read "forget

When I first read "forget about rehab" I agreed with Palmetto and others. After I read it all in context I know exactly what the sheriff meant. He was not saying "forget about rehab"; he was only saying that others are charged with that responsibility. His job his law ENFORCEMENT.

So, for the naysayers, what do you think the sheriff can do about 14 yo girls getting pregnant? Truancy? Sorry home life?

allhans
23181
Points
allhans 09/12/12 - 09:27 am
4
1
So what are are now doing is

So what are are now doing is working?

pooh2boo
22
Points
pooh2boo 09/12/12 - 09:45 am
4
2
Wrong office

If elected Mr Rountree would take a oath the enforce the laws. If he wants to change enforcement then he needs to run for office in the legislature or be a juvinal Judge. There are agencies that address the issues Mr Rountree wants but they are not effective and need to be readdressed

dstewartsr
20388
Points
dstewartsr 09/12/12 - 10:11 am
6
8
An awakening on hitting the door?

Umm, this clown has been in office how many years? And what, precisely, has kept him from doing what he's telling his successor?

Back to Top

Top headlines

Analysis: Voters want change

Jack Kingston and David Perdue each claimed to represent the biggest departure from business as usual in the federal government, but Kingston didn't convince voters.
Search Augusta jobs