Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Richmond County Sheriff's Office beefs up presence for Augusta's First Friday

Friday, June 7, 2013 11:05 PM
Last updated Saturday, June 8, 2013 8:07 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office beefed up its presence downtown for this week’s First Friday, Augusta’s first since the May 3 River­walk attacks.

Back | Next
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) polices the corner of Eleventh and Broad streets with Robert Partain during First Friday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) polices the corner of Eleventh and Broad streets with Robert Partain during First Friday.


Deputies patroled Broad Street in cars and on foot and blue lights dotted Augusta’s main strip as traffic law violators were stopped and ticketed, but the show of force was all in the name of creating a safer downtown.

“We’re doing whatever we can to make people feel safe downtown,” Lt. Calvin Chew said. “We can’t prevent every crime from happening, but we can show that we’ll try.”

Among the extra measures taken was the addition of having officers on foot. Officers walking among the crowd gives the sheriff’s office a distinct advantage over strictly using police cruisers, Chewadded.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree was one of the footbound officers, wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt as he shook hands with residents.

This week’s event gave the sheriff’s office two unique oppurtunities, Roundtree said.

“We wanted people to know that we are committed to downtown, not just for First Friday,” he said. “We also wanted to debut the high-visibility shirts and see what kind of impact it’s having.”

Roundtree said he is currently working on a plan to have more officers patrol the downtown area, particularly on foot.

“We’re looking at a funding source, and we’re pretty close to getting it,” he said. “We think we can have a continual presence downtown based on the direction we are going. But this is something that was in the works way before the attack.”

For some patrons, the extra muscle was just an added benefit.

Mary Cumber, of Martinez, said she doesn’t worry about her safety despite the recent violence.

The May 3 attack left Wesley Spires, 27, of Edge­field, and Ashley Solesbee, 25, of North Augusta, with facial fractures and head wounds after being robbed and beaten with a metal bat or pipe. Police have since made arrests in the case, but Spires remains hospitalized.

Violence at First Friday became an issue following a July 2012 incident involving a shooting wounding six people following a conflict that authorities later said was likely gang related.

“I’m not afraid daytime or nighttime to come downtown,” Cumber said. “I did notice the police, but when I haven’t noticed them I didn’t care.”

Sara Foshee, of Augusta, has attended First Friday for several years.

“I feel perfectly safe downtown,” she said. “This is a fairly large city, and we’re lucky we don’t have as many incidents as other cities do.”

Comments (20) 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.
Little Lamb
48010
Points
Little Lamb 06/07/13 - 10:21 pm
7
5
Downtown

Where all the lights are bright.

Well, if Sheriff Richard Roundtree, i.e., Shaft, puts all the new funding into patrolling downtown, how will that play out in the suburbs, in the rural south Augusta areas, in the Turpin Hill, Hyde Park, Bethlehem, Sand Hills areas?

Are we stomping roaches or merely playing “Whack a Mole?”

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 06/07/13 - 10:52 pm
0
0
Good job Sheriff
Unpublished

Good job Sheriff

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 06/08/13 - 01:33 am
13
2
Whistling Past the Graveyard

There’s something inappropriate about finding people who brazenly say they are not worried about their safety when we just had the brutal attack on the Riverwalk. Being aware of your surroundings and potential danger is not something to neglect foolishly.

curly123053
5188
Points
curly123053 06/08/13 - 06:24 am
10
0
Good!

It's good to see the added patrols downtown. Cops walk beats in a lot of major cities. Downtown should be no different. Even with the added police presence people still should be aware of their surroundings and still be looking out for their safety. Living in a type of tunnel vision in downtown, the southside, or anywhere can make you a vicitim of thugs.

nocnoc
47368
Points
nocnoc 06/08/13 - 06:42 am
9
0
Sheriff Roundtree is faced with a Conundrum?

Those us being honest with ourselves see it.
No matter which way he turns to address Downtown Crime there will be a side ripping him for when or what he did, or how he did it or did not do it something at their armchair cowboy pace.

Some will point to the fact Operation $$$ Thunder just ended a few days earlier.

Some will damn him for not doing it sooner.

Some will praise him blindly.

Some will just go negative because it is Sheriff Roundtree.

But those us being honest with ourselves see it for what it is, a Conundrum. Because there is no way any Sheriff can be in the right spot at the right time, every time, not even 50% of the time. Unless we want an Obama style Police State with people monitoring our calls, our internet sessions, our e-mail, our frequency of travel and mileage, what we buy, our places traveled, who we know and who we call and etc...

So I have chosen to take a different direction with this article.

I can't help myself to jokingly say.

Doesn't he look like a big Bumble-Bee in that outfit?

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 06/08/13 - 07:15 am
13
1
Action, not words ...

The Sheriff knows his job and it is obvious. He didn't have a meeting and talk about it, he organized a response and took action.

We are lucky to have a Sheriff young and healthy enough to get out of his office and hit the streets.

Actions not words; Thanks Sheriff Roundtree.

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 06/08/13 - 07:25 am
1
0
Finally, someone who knows the streets.
Unpublished

Someone who has walked or run in the shoes. Maybe if the ARC of No Covenant was just turned over to the "real people" things would improve all over. The kingdom builders could all move their projects over to CC and ARC could become the Detroit of the South. Mr. Bartram said it would be the center of the south. In the 19th century Augusta was the second largest city in Georgia, without consolidation.

countyman
21303
Points
countyman 06/08/13 - 07:44 am
3
15
Downtown

I live downtown, and feel perfectly safe all the time.. The crime at the Riverwalk was the first one in over 12 months.. The sheriff already released the crime stats, and showed their very low even comparable to West Augusta.

I bet somebody would have no problem telling us Martinez is safe, or would mind if certain residents said they felt safe in the area..

People have been robbed at the Kroger on Columbia rd, etc... The Martinez area has more homicides compared to the CBD since 2011.

Any crime taking place downtown, Augusta mall, etc will be sensationalized by the media. I have no problem with all of the focus on the Riverwalk attack, but I've never seen so much attention dedicated to any fight at 2:30 in the morning. There's probably a fight every single day in the CSRA.

just an opinion
2840
Points
just an opinion 06/08/13 - 07:44 am
11
0
Thank goodness for the rain

Luckily after First Friday officially ended the rain came. Thugs do not like the rain.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 06/08/13 - 07:48 am
14
0
countyman,

Your desire for your point of view desn't trump the perceived reality in people's minds.

I agree that downtown is pretty safe but you continuous mantra that it's completely safe or more safe than Evans is just laughable.

That kind of talk, even if true, will not change the perception of downtown. Only taking action like what Sheriff Roundtree did here will, and he deserves our thanks for DOING something instead of talking about doing something.

I notice you could not even bring yourself to acknowledge that this increased presence is a good thing.

Brad

Little Lamb
48010
Points
Little Lamb 06/08/13 - 07:49 am
4
3
Bumblebee Squad

:-) That's a good observation, nocnoc.

I wonder what will happen when some thug gang adopts the same getup for their gang colors? We won't be able to tell the good guys from the bad.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 06/08/13 - 08:20 am
13
1
Roundtree Picture of Law

"The Martinez area has more homicides compared to the CBD since 2011."

It's this kind of reasoning that takes credibility from everything. We could design a CBD for Martinez that's NEVER had a homicide.

But back to reality, Sheriff Roundtree, wearing the new shirt and packing a pistol, certainly gives us a good picture of law enforcement that promotes confidence and warns criminals. As Brad is saying, it's a much more active administration than we've seen in the past.

countyman
21303
Points
countyman 06/08/13 - 08:45 am
2
9
Credibility

I'm actually giving Martinez the benefit of the doubt, because it's not a real city with boundaries.. I could have easily added the homicide at the Belair Conference Center to the total amount.

The reality of the matter is how the CBD is real place, and not some made up area..
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Augusta,+GA+Central+Business+District&ie=...

Brad... I lived in the nicer part of Columbia County(Evans, Martinez), and now live downtown.. I have never once commented that downtown is completely safe.. I also fully support increased foot/bike patrols, security cameras, and hopefully a new substation on Broad. The majority of people already believe downtown is overall safe, and the private construction proves my theory..

I haven't even discussed Evans in any of the comments, and only brought up Martinez.. However, I would love to compare the crime rates in the CBD versus Evans..

I think people need to understand the younger generation is moving into the urban core..

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 06/08/13 - 08:53 am
8
1
Frist Crime Friday
Unpublished

Now, if we can get a judge to put the criminals arrested and convicted in jail and leave them there, we might be on to something. When a judge lets a convicted criminal off with short time he has violated citizens civil rights to life, liberty and the pursut of happieness.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 06/08/13 - 08:59 am
7
0
Younger moving into urban core

Thank you for doing that ...we oldies like our sleep & peace & quiet....so keep em moving on downtown....

Rtree does look like a bee in that suit.....he would probably smile at the comments.....:-)
I like what the RCSO has been doing under Rtree...keep going & Augusta will be a better place.

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 06/08/13 - 09:22 am
7
0
Are We Seriously Comparing Crime in the Counties...Again?

Some people just don't get it and go off on extraneous ways when the idea is thanking the RCSO for the increased police presence. I promise I can draw an area in Columbia County with more people and many businesses where crime is almost nonexistent. I could call it the CBD. And where the line would end, there wouldn't be many murders happening on the other side.

Sweet son
11096
Points
Sweet son 06/08/13 - 11:05 am
5
0
Hey Riverman!

That is a pretty neat picture of Robert and Richard! :)

Gage Creed
18920
Points
Gage Creed 06/08/13 - 11:59 am
7
0
Comment 1 0844 "I live

Comment 1 0844 "I live downtown, and feel perfectly safe all the time"

Comment 2 0945 "I have never once commented that downtown is completely safe"

Really?..... REALLY?

KSL
140451
Points
KSL 06/08/13 - 03:16 pm
5
1
nocnoc

Thanks for the laugh!

specsta
6775
Points
specsta 06/08/13 - 07:26 pm
5
2
Good Work, Sheriff

Hats off to Sheriff Roundtree for being proactive with community policing - his presence at First Friday is a positive indicator that he is serious about being a leader who understands that he was elected to serve the people.

It is also an indicator to the deputies under his command that he is the type of boss who is willing to get on the streets and do a task such as walking a beat, because he is a leader by example.

I hope the Sheriff continues to be an accessible leader who respects the citizens who elected him.

That being said, we'll allow him the misstep of "Operation Rolling Thunder" roadblocks - after all, nobody's perfect. And it was a state, not a local, operation.

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 06/08/13 - 08:55 pm
3
1
Someone remind Countyman...

...that the murder at the Belair Conference Center was committed by an Augusta thug...in response to a dispute because a gaggle of Augusta thugs crashed the birthday party of a 16 year old girl.

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 06/09/13 - 12:40 am
3
0
This CBD nonsense is laughable....

Of course I can cut out a few block area anywhere and say it has a lower crime rate than a whole town. Stop it already.

stacy2013
10
Points
stacy2013 06/09/13 - 08:38 am
5
0
downtown safety

I didn't vote for Roundtree however; he seems to be pro-active in defusing the crime rate in Augusta, especially downtown Augusta, a visible presence of police officers, especially those walking the beat is a good deterrence of crime. I also think that random ID checks should be made ,to ensure that anyone out after midnight is of legal age.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs