Augusta residents stuffed into the bleachers of Warren Road Community Center on Tuesday in the first of two town hall-style meetings with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office– but most kept their questions themselves.
In fact, many took the opportunity to shower Sheriff Richard Roundtree and his command staff with compliments at the meeting hosted by the Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Board, a collection of citizens from each district in Richmond County appointed by city commissioners.
Cassandra Harris, a Summerville resident, said she came to the meeting without any concerns that needed to be addressed.
“My concerns were all with the last sheriff,” she said. “I’ve been impressed with the changes that I’ve seen in the community as far as crime and safety go. In (the Harrisburg and Summerville area), I’ve seen a huge change.”
L.A. Green Sr., who was appointed to the Citizens Advisory Board by Commissioner Bill Lockett, said the town hall meetings serve as a platform for the sheriff’s office to engage Richmond County residents and hear their concerns.
“We feel that every community in the CSRA needs to know what the sheriff’s office is all about,” he said. “They need to know who the sheriff is and what he is doing. What he is really creating is a more friendly sheriff’s office.”
During the hour-long meeting, Roundtree addressed many of the same concerns that he said he has heard in his first year as Richmond County sheriff. Among those were the addition of deputies on foot patrol in the downtown area and the addition of the traffic division to cut down on bad driving.
Flanked on both sides by members of his command staff, Roundtree emphasized that the sheriff’s office can only remain successful through building relationships with the community.
“It’s about exchanging ideas between the community and law enforcement because, like I always say, we can’t do it by ourselves,” he said. “This cannot be successful without community involvement.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, attendees were given the opportunity to “mix and mingle” with the sheriff’s office command staff to ask any specific questions that they may have. Roundtree said he was only met by well-wishers, however.
“All of the questions that we knew people were asking, we tried to address,” he said. “By the end, I didn’t really get any specific questions because a lot of the things we talked about a lot of people seem to be really pleased with.”
Green said he thinks the meeting achieved its designed purpose.
“When the citizens know how the sheriff’s office is operating, they can better communicate with the people inside the sheriff’s office,” he said. “We’re trying to get the community and the department to have great rapport. We want crime to be smashed in all communities.”
Before the event’s conclusion, Roundtree left a simple reminder for anyone who may have a question in the future.
“Just call us,” he said. “We always answer.”
A second town hall meeting will be held at Diamond Lakes Community Center on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.