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Roundtree seeks culture of change in new administration


Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 10:23 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 1:48 AM
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Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree spent the first full day of his administration implementing what he calls a “culture of change” within the sheriff’s office.

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Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) speaks to people gathered during a promotion ceremony at the sheriff's office.  "We've got so many resources in this area, and we are going to try to utilize all of them," the new sheriff said Wednesday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) speaks to people gathered during a promotion ceremony at the sheriff's office. "We've got so many resources in this area, and we are going to try to utilize all of them," the new sheriff said Wednesday.

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After spending some time Wednesday morning meeting and greeting staff members, Roundtree toured the county jail facility on Phinizy Road. Next, he held a promotions ceremony for 10 officers appointed to new positions or promoted from other positions within the force.

Roundtree said the informal ceremony, held in a conference room with the officers surrounded by friends and family, was part of a new way of doing business in order to create a more inclusive and open department.

“As I’ve said all along, this is a community effort,” Roundtree said. “That means including family in what we do.”

Roundtree said the centerpiece of his administration was going to be the creation of a Community Services Division, headed by newly promoted Capt. Wendy George.

The new division will include a Citizens Advisory Board and a volunteer services department, among other initiatives he said were designed to bring the sheriff’s office into a closer relationship with the public.

“We’ve got so many resources in this area, and we are going to try to utilize all of them,” he said. “This is how members of the community will get to be directly involved in this administration.”

Roundtree said each officer being promoted to positions of responsibility in his administration had expressed a desire to help him implement his vision for a better, community-oriented sheriff’s force.

That included his former opponent in the sheriff’s race, Scott Peebles, who was promoted to major in charge of criminal investigations. He said the two men ran a spirited campaign that was “never adversarial.”

Roundtree said that after the election was decided, he asked Peebles whether he wanted stay on with the new administration.

“Without hesitation, he said he wanted to be a part of it,” the sheriff said. “Our vision was about moving this agency forward. That’s it.”

Roundtree finished his day by attending part of an Augusta Commission meeting and taking a walking tour of the Harrisburg neighborhood before attending a community gathering at Eastview Community Center.

Roundtree said his goal is to build the best law enforcement agency in the state by the time his term of office is up four years from now. Then, if re-elected, he wants to elevate the office to one of the top agencies in the country.

“People will be coming to see what we are doing in Augusta,” he said. “This agency is going to be on the cutting edge of law enforcement in the nation.”

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CobaltGeorge 01/03/13 - 04:26 pm

Isn't that getting pretty close to a "Rush To Judgement" comment.

You could be putting yourself into a Red face position, Lets wait a few months and then make that statement. You may be 100% right and then you may not be.

Patty-P 01/03/13 - 11:58 pm

Great things are happening for those areas of Augusta (Harrisburg, etc.). But don't forget, there's a whole 'nother world Southside of Augusta, and these areas experience a good bit of crime too. Everything seems to be about money. I'm wondering if the homes of Harrisburg bring in much tax revenue anyway.

Erayzer 01/03/13 - 06:44 pm
Good Luck Sheriff.

Good Luck Sheriff.

Brad Owens
Brad Owens 01/03/13 - 09:48 pm
Does anyone know the "drivers"?

Can anyone tell me what beat they were pulled off of to drive the Sheriff?

Also, Sheriff Roundtree owes no one an apology or explanation for his comments on Jan 1st. He is under no obligation to give press people comments. I was thinking back to when I saw Sheriff Strength treated this way, seems to me he would call a press conference if he had something to say...I guess Sheriff Roundtree is going to be held to a different standard that the folks that came before him huh?

"Molehill? What molehill? That thar is Roundtree MOUNTAIN!"

kat30815 01/04/13 - 01:26 am
I suspect he is riding with

I suspect he is riding with officers to learn their patrol route. So far he seems motivated.

Just don't call him for comments on major events after office hours or on holidays.

Riverman1 01/04/13 - 07:54 am
After the radio guy ranted

After the radio guy ranted for hours Wednesday about Roundtree having two drivers assigned, there was dead silence on the matter yesterday, so I assume there was nothing to it. Whoever the "respected RCSO" people were dropping the dime may have been a little hasty.

rmwhitley 01/04/13 - 03:48 pm
One priority is

to cut the black community more slack for committing crimes. I mean the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Affirmative Action have on had, what, 49 years?

RMSHEFF 01/05/13 - 12:25 pm
Time will tell..

He must be given a fair chance to make necessary changes. I hope he will be judged based on performance, honesty and integrity by all and not on words or perception. The sheriff's job is to make sure all employees have what they need to keep us safe while controlling cost. Media attention is fine but thats not what gets the job done.

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