Citizen police academy starts in Richmond County

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Members of the newly formed citizens police academy gathered Tuesday at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office administration building for their first meeting and tour of law enforcement facilities.

The first class will participate in a 12-week program, learning about each sheriff’s office division.

By the end of the program, participants will have the opportunity to visit and shoot firearms at the training range, ride along with road deputies, and participate in a mock crime scene analysis. They’ll also observe demonstrations from the bomb squad and SWAT team.

Roundtree advocated for the citizens police academy when he ran for office and said it was one of the first programs he wanted to implement as a way to “bridge the gap” between sheriff’s office personnel and citizens.

“Y’all are going to be my ambassadors,” he said. “Y’all are going to be the ones to say this is the direction that the sheriff’s office is going.”

The program is overseen by the sheriff’s Community Services Division. Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and commission members each appointed a person to participate in the first academy.

Academy member Sammie Sias, who retired from the Army after 28 years, has served on neighborhood associations in Richmond County and said he wants to contribute his “neighborhood viewpoint.”

“I’m a firm believer if you don’t have a great neighborhood, you won’t have a great city,” said Sias, who was appointed by Augusta Com­missioner Alvin Mason.

Roundtree said he wants to provide the group with the resources to improve the community.

“I could easily send 30 deputies into your neighborhood in 30 days and drop your crime rate, easily done,” he said. “It’s a temporary suppression of crime. What happens when I’ve got to pull those officers out and move them somewhere? What happens to your neighborhood then?”

Lenzell Ponder said he hopes to learn about the sheriff’s office and help build relationships between officers and the public.

“Anything for the betterment of the community, I’m a willing participant of,” said Ponder, who was appointed by Corey Johnson.

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just an opinion
2351
Points
just an opinion 02/27/13 - 09:28 am
5
1
Sheriff Roundtree

The more people who get to hear the Sheriff the better. Two different TV reporters covering this event last night said on the air that they want to sign up for the class after hearing and seeing his impressive team. He cares about this community and has surrounded himself with a great staff who are very capable of doing the job. As he said in this video, he needs as many citizen ambassadors behind him as possible in order to keep this city great. I'm onboard Sheriff.

David Parker
7921
Points
David Parker 02/27/13 - 10:23 am
2
0
I call Mahoney's part. j/k I

I call Mahoney's part. j/k

I wish all a prosperous experience with regard to the citizens police academy. My hope is that crime rates will drop and folks will take more pride in their community and develop it positively.

Riverman1
79153
Points
Riverman1 02/27/13 - 10:48 am
3
1
Nice Program

I viewed the video, too, and was impressed. This is exactly what I’ve been talking about forever with community policing. These folks will know the officers and procedures and will be ready to become involved quickly. Before I viewed the video I assumed it would be all white people signing up for the course, but I was pleasantly surprised that most were black.

I have commented previously about the positive effects black Police Chief Rueben Greenberg had on Charleston’s law enforcement. I will once again lay out the facts and it’s going to make EVERYONE mad.

Charleston’s true downtown area had demographics similar to Augusta, especially when Greenberg took over in 1982. He served for over 20 years and crime decreased drastically. The fact is the majority of the population in Augusta is black and THEY ARE committing and having committed against them about 90% of the crime. A leader who can go into the black community, build trust and get the people to become involved helping law enforcement is an asset.

The Sheriff being a black man brings a positive dynamic to the position. Remember the Cherry Tree Crossing riots when ALL our leaders ran away? What do you think would have happened if Sheriff Roundtree, black officers and these auxiliary officers had gone down there and calmed the people?

This latest incident where a white officer killed a black man inside his house didn’t result in demonstrations and I have to believe it was in large part due to the Sheriff’s office going to the area, explaining the facts, reassuring the people and, yes, carefully controlling the news releases to the public. Roundtree did visit the area unlike past mayors and sheriffs when things were dangerous.

Dudeness
1543
Points
Dudeness 02/27/13 - 10:44 am
2
0
Will this program be made

Will this program be made available during "off hours" for working folks (nights/weekends) or is it targeted more towards a retired, nonworking, crowd? Perhaps a part-time program could be considered in the future?

just an opinion
2351
Points
just an opinion 02/27/13 - 11:37 am
2
0
Dudeness

6:30 p.m to 9:30 pm on Tuesday nights. 12 weeks. A couple of retirees but mostly working class folks who are already very involved in the community. Several neighborhood leaders.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 02/27/13 - 02:33 pm
0
3
Joke of the Day
Unpublished

Welp, Strength didn't think of this nor non lethal weapons (tasers), so I say Roundtree has lived up to his salary increase request already...

Just going for laughs, you guys.

Seriously, because of the size of RC, shouldn't his salary be increased? Welp, there isn't anything we can do about it now, BUT GRIPE.

Itsallnew11
523
Points
Itsallnew11 02/27/13 - 03:03 pm
3
0
Waynesboro PD

Chief Williams created the Citizens on Patrol in Waynesboro and it has worked tremendously well. I hope the citizens of RC take advantage of this opportunity and allow it to work as well here as it does there.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 02/27/13 - 03:30 pm
2
0
It Is A Great Thing
Unpublished

We have had the Citizen's Law Enforcement Academy in Columbia County for several years. I'm guessing around seven or so. It is a fabulous program, so that taxpayers see how their tax dollars are being used. It is a great thing. As a matter of fact, I took my notebook, and there is a knock-off of the CLEA now in Forsyth County, unless the new Sheriff has discontinued it. If you are a taxpayer in Augusta Richmond-County, you owe to yourself, to see how your tax dollars work. Congratulations to you all !

triscuit
2831
Points
triscuit 02/27/13 - 04:08 pm
2
0
my husband tried contacting

my husband tried contacting our commissioner to ask to be signed up for this. no response. he is a neighborhood leader and was interested in this. maybe next "class"...hopefully the commish will answer him this time or just contact the SDept.?

Young Fred
15724
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 07:01 pm
1
0
Kudos to Sheriff Roundtree

Kudos to Sheriff Roundtree for keeping a campaign promise and implementing a program that sounds like it can only help the community!

Horizon5521
7
Points
Horizon5521 02/28/13 - 01:35 am
0
0
Our New Sheriff will be Richmond Counties Best Ever

The reason I say this is that this has been a long time in the coming. With the New Citizens Police Academy will be an advantage like none other and will prove to be an asset to the department and communities within Augusta and Richmond County. It will embolden citizens with the knowledge that they too can make a difference as trained observers that can relay information back to Law Enforcement personnel giving them factual events and intelligence on suspicious or even visually witnessed events occurring in communities. Collect valuable information on actors in the community which may be involved or influencing crime in the neighborhoods. Be able to collect needed information such as tag numbers, descriptions of actors and vehicles, description of clothing and other identifying marks or scars, even video discreetly suspicious activities or photograph certain targets for nescessary intelligence gathering to compile needed information for Law Enforcement to act lawfully.
With then crisis in our economy, it is time that the citizens help their Law Enforcement Officers in a capacity that will enhance it's efficiency, build it's strength within the neighborhoods, give added volunteer assistance to our warriors in our streets which because of budget shortfalls has weaked our enforcement system giving criminals the upper hand. By citizens giving of their time and effort to build numbers within Law Enforcement, we as a steadfast community can tell those that would love nothing better than to hold communities hostage by adding fear and disallusion, that those days are over and We the People will add numbers to our streets and communities taking them back and pushing CRIME OUT.
Once out in the open and out of communities and neighborhoods, they will once again look for new places to conquer. It's time citizens be able to enjoy their yards again, walk the streets with other neighbors and exercise, children be able to play without being improperly approached by people that aren't even from their neighborhood or community, street racing or hotrodding or just speeding in communities where children can not even ride their bicycles or throw hoops to the curb.
Our Sheriff and His Department is givng each citizen the opportunity to be empowered and emboldened and to say We Will No Longer Live in Fear, but is solidarity with our neighbors to help our Law Enforcement bring about all needed changes. Our Sheriffs Department can also assist by helping neighborhood set up neighborhood watch zones, but the citizens and home owners must do your part to take back what has been taken from them and that is to be able to enjoy what is yours and be free from crime around your streets and communities.

I Applaud You Sheriff Roundtree, Much Success to You and Your Teams SIR...

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