Richmond County sheriff candidates make their cases

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The candidates for Richmond County sheriff explained how they would tackle the tough issue of reducing crime in Augusta at two community forums Monday.

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Sheriff candidates Scott Peebles (from left), John Ivey and Robbie Silas say the Pledge of Allegiance before a forum at the Warren Road Community Center. Several of the candidates addressed community policing.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Sheriff candidates Scott Peebles (from left), John Ivey and Robbie Silas say the Pledge of Allegiance before a forum at the Warren Road Community Center. Several of the candidates addressed community policing.


Most of the six men – two Repub­licans and four Democrats – addressed the issue by explaining their vision of “community policing,”
and how they thought it could contribute to solving endemic problems in the city’s crime-plagued neighborhoods.

Sheriff’s Lt. John Ivey told those gathered at the Carrie J. Mays Family Life Center in the Turpin Hill area that in his concept of community policing, officers would need to be more involved in the community.

“When we go out instead of passing you on the street we are going to stop and start talking,” Ivey said. “We don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to do this.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Robbie Silas said he also believes in the community policing model, but that without additional money to put more officers on the street, it couldn’t be done.

“To do community policing by the federal guidelines, we can’t afford it,” he said, saying he supported more community involvement and youth programs instead.

Republican Freddie Sanders agreed, explaining the term “community policing” has a specific set of guidelines set by the Justice Department, that basically requires small, autonomous departments to be set up in problem neighborhoods.

“If they tell you that they can do this without any money, they’re fooling you,” Sanders said. “It’s a buzz word, a media gimmick and it is not going to work.”

Sanders said if elected he would be accessible and accountable, but he would concentrate on law enforcement and “put the thugs in jail.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles said putting people into jail wouldn’t stop under his watch as sheriff, but that wasn’t the only solution.

He said sheriff’s deputies are not empowered or directed to solve the chronic problems that they encounter on their beats and end up being “report takers.”

Peebles said he would implement a system in which deputies are expected to know what is going on with their communities and to come up with plans to make an impact.

“Community policing is a problem solving method for crime,” he said.

Mike Godowns, the other Republican candidate, didn’t make it to the Turpin Hill forum, but he did appear later at the Warren Road Community Center at a forum sponsored by the West Augusta Neighborhood Alliance.

Godowns said he, too, is a proponent of community policing, but said he wanted to address problems affecting morale within the department first, such as ending nepotism and improving deputy pay and benefits to stop “the revolving door” of officers leaving for other departments.

School Public Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree arrived late for the Warren Road forum after attending the Board of Elections hearing on a challenge to his eligibility. The challenge was denied.

“We are still in this race,” he told the crowd, before briefly addressing the last question about crime in some neighborhoods.

Roundtree said each area has its own problems and different resources to deal with those problems.

He said that as sheriff, he would work individually with community leaders and organizations to come up with solutions.

“It’s all about dialogue and partnerships,” he said.

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Riverman1
93449
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Riverman1 06/12/12 - 04:13 am
8
0
Excellent Synopsis

Excellent synopsis of the candidates' viewpoints from Steve Crawford. He has a good feel for local politics.

I'm supporting Freddie because his views echo my conservative Republican principles. But I have to admit Peebles voiced best the idea of community policing. Roundtree has also said he's in favor of the idea in various forms. The others appear reluctant to admit it's possible and something has to be done.

I do believe Freddie will come around. He knows policing and has held about every position there is in the department from the bottom to the top. His goal to keep thugs off the street is best met by knowing what's going on in the communities.

csraguy
2395
Points
csraguy 06/12/12 - 04:59 am
7
2
Two Good Forums

Each candidate did well expressing their views at both forums. The questions at the Warren Road Gym allowed candidates to go further with their philosophies and make it clear as to what they would do if elected.

In such an important election to see so few citizens engaged is a bit disappointing. No matter whom you support and especially if you don't know who to support as of yet, come to one of the many community forums to hear from the candidates and make an informed decision.

In my opinion, Scott Peebles is the clear choice for ensuring experienced leadership progressively moves the Sheriff’s Office forward in the right direction. From changing the current philosophy of reactive policing to pro-active community policing to ensuring the Sheriff’s Office becomes a Nationally Accredited agency, what he has put forth is an excellent plan for greatly improving an already good agency.

seenitB4
97203
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seenitB4 06/12/12 - 05:06 am
4
7
I think Freddie is right

He said...

“If they tell you that they can do this without any money, they’re fooling you,” Sanders said. “It’s a buzz word, a media gimmick and it is not going to work.”

Buzz words won't get the job done & cutting staff won't make it happen....I think FS is brutally honest---some don't want to hear that!

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/12/12 - 06:49 am
0
0
Never
Unpublished

I'm not sure who the best candidate is but I know who is not. Anyone who left police files abandoned in their apartment when one of these files led to solving a 26 year old cold case should not be in charge of the sheriff's department. If it wasn't for responsible people turning these files in, a murder would have never been solved. Doesn't sound like a smart choice to me....

tgentry
277
Points
tgentry 06/12/12 - 06:57 am
8
1
Media Gimmick?

Ok maybe I'm lost here. Number 1 since when does the Federal Justice System know anything about my community or Sheriff's office? You can have community policing with what you have now. No you do not need extra money. Use the resource you have. You do not need to setup a sub-station in the neighborhoods for community policing. All you need to do is have your beat officers stop and walk and talk. How many times have I seen Deputies ride in and out of my neighborhood and wave or stop to see how things are going? The answer is 0. I like most of my neighbors would like to know who is patrolling my area. I know it will not be the same officer on every call but I would like to know the ones that are the primary officers. This can be done now. I listen to the scanner all the time. Our officers are not responding to calls every minute of the day. They can take the time to get to know areas in their beat. Media Gimmick? I think not. To have 2 candidates say it cant be done is 2 candidates that do not know how to think outside the box. I myself am a Republican. I'm very disappointed in the republicans running for Sheriff. I would think being a Republican Conservative that you would see how to make things work with less spending. Scott Peebles is the best candidate in my opinion. Its to bad he is running on a Democratic platform so I can not really vote for him. However if the Republican party doesn't get it act together and soon, I may have to go the Old Democrat way.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 06/12/12 - 07:39 am
8
1
Peebles is the man...

Has the best plan for the area, knows the area, willing to make changes if necessary, all the while dealing with the issues 100% to make the streets safer. He's accessible and wants the community policing to work. I have my faith in him and he's the man.

toldyaso
595
Points
toldyaso 06/12/12 - 08:33 am
7
0
As I see it, one of the most

As I see it, one of the most pressing issues is rising crime in the outlying areas of the county. There has been and always will be issues in the city per se. As more people move into the "county" the crime rates rise in those areas. The police simply cannot be right there when a problem develops. People need to start taking personal responsibility for their neighborhoods. Know your neighbors, walk your streets. People need to take personal responsibility for their own safety and stop hiding in their homes and expecting a police officer on every corner, it's just not practical.
I'd like to see a impartial list of questions submitted to each candidate covering a broad spectrum of issues.
But mostly folks, get off your couch and into your neighborhood. Thugs hate it when people sit on their front porches.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/12/12 - 08:44 am
5
2
Riverman, I agree with

Riverman, I agree with Sanders doing a great job, but his age is a big factor. I don't see him running over two terms, if that. The Sheriffs Department needs someone to come in and lay the foundation for their purpose. It will take the first four years just to get going good. It would be a shame to go through this again in the near future. Then there is Godowns, his shady insurance past will be brought to light very soon. So those looking to vote on the republican card may need to consider the best candidate from the democratic side. As far as community policing goes ,it can be done without breaking the budget.

janderson1945
1950
Points
janderson1945 06/12/12 - 09:35 am
5
2
Good Points

Many good points are brought out in this article and even in the comments today. TGentry, our family is also made up of conservative republicans. However, neither republican running for office has shown to me that they would be best for our area. In fact, Freddie Sanders attitude of lock up the thugs shows how out of touch with today’s society he is. The leader jailer was at the forum last night and he said that most non-violent criminals are back on the street prior to the deputies even filling out the reports because of jail overcrowding even with a new jail. Sanders would spend far more on incarceration efforts instead of prevention and patrol which is not in the best interest of this community. Peebles has a clear plan of action changing the officers from waiting on calls before they take action to being held accountable throughout the day for interacting positively with community members and determining with the community the main issues for their coverage area since many areas in our community have different needs. He plans on getting the agency accredited and making it a premiere agency to work for. While he has said it will not take more funds to change to community policing, he is also the only candidate who clearly stated that he would stay on top of the commission to get the deputies pay raised so that it is within guidelines of other agencies where Richmond County continually loses their deputies to. This is the kind of man we need, someone who has a plan and will take action and isn’t pandering but telling us how we can make our community safer and take better care of our deputies at the same time. Why pay to train them and then lose them to other counties because the pay in Richmond County is so poor? Godowns also discussed this issue as part of his platform to improve the poor morale within the agency. I will be able to vote for a congressman to beat Barrow in November but this election is to important. It certainly is in our best interest to vote in the democratic primary on July 31st to make sure Peebles is elected.

seenitB4
97203
Points
seenitB4 06/12/12 - 10:06 am
5
0
Oh my oh me

Now let me see....

They talked about Freddies hair & now his age.....what is wrong folks....nothing juicy to report....like not paying taxes---??......oh ---the community policing thingy.....well keep in mind many didn't jump on that band wagon until just lately......I wonder why??

Watch what a man does not always what comes from the ole mouth....
I will try to go thru my memory bank & come up with something juicy about FS....but it won't be easy.....but some seem to relish the juicy info.----heck...that might put him ahead of the pack!!

I'll rack my brain today & see what I can come up with...heh heh :)

rebellious
21814
Points
rebellious 06/12/12 - 10:07 am
5
2
Freddie is a good man, but I

Freddie is a good man, but I agree today's problems require a new solution. Every citizen locked up cost more money on an already strained budget. Better to identify potential criminals and turn them or deter those thinking of committing the crime. I like Silas's approach to using attrition to trim the upper ranks and use the savings for more uniforms in cars. His experience outside of an office and behind the wheel of a cruiser make him most appealing in knowing how to maximize officers effectiveness and improve community interaction with officers. I will be "crossing over" to vote due to the importance of this office. I am also alarmed anytime the "big money" folks start dumping contributions and in kind donations on one candidate. That's a lot of favors to pay back and makes a sheriff "beholden" to the benefactors. Opens the door for corruption, which God knows we have enough of in Augusta now. Possible conversation at 401 Walton Way in 2013..."Yes Mr. Morris, I'll put your call through after he hangs up with Mr. Boardman, and Mr. Blanchard is on hold ahead of you. Mr. Thompson is sitting in his office now, yes sir..."

seenitB4
97203
Points
seenitB4 06/12/12 - 10:12 am
4
1
Need some help B4Real

I might need your help B4Real .....did FS ever drive his mustang too fast.....hot ride it .....race on the back roads maybe??

He was young once upon a time...surely he messed up as a teen....we need to feed the lions --yaknow!

seenitB4
97203
Points
seenitB4 06/12/12 - 10:19 am
1
0
This race

This race reminds me of this --

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eazesi2szhk

hot-hot hot!!!:)

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/12/12 - 10:19 am
5
1
Snb4, FS is a good man and I

Snb4, FS is a good man and I doubt you will find any dirt on him. Like i said he would do a great job but there are other factors that should be considered.

seenitB4
97203
Points
seenitB4 06/12/12 - 10:21 am
5
0
Other factors

THAT should be considered for all---doncha think!!

seenitB4
97203
Points
seenitB4 06/12/12 - 10:26 am
3
0
Thanks a lot

Now I will have that hot tamale song in my head today.....dang...

don't make me put bad to the bone on here to!!!!
:):)
seeya later in day ---I know this will be going strong!

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/12/12 - 11:10 am
2
1
I agree.

I agree.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 06/12/12 - 12:39 pm
0
2
Can you dig it?
Unpublished

SHAFT!

rational thought trumps emotion
2682
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 06/12/12 - 01:45 pm
4
1
Well Rounded Experience

Scott Peebles not only has experience on the Road and most every other division but in the office where the majority of any Sheriff's business in conducted. He has already proven he can put complex operations together daily and long term to reduce crime and remove criminals from our streets. When he took over Criminal Investigations, he increased the clearance rate on violent crimes to one of the highest in the nation. His proven leadership combined with his willingness to show that this department does need to use more technology combined with community policing strategies helps to make him the best candidate for the job. He has done a great job under Ronnie Strength and is prepared to lead this agency into the future. He has made it clear that he will seek to become an accredited agency with systems, checks and balances that takes care of the men and women working there as well as the public. Augusta deserves the best and Captain Scott Peebles is the man to make it happen.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/12/12 - 02:45 pm
3
0
DC, Thank you for the

DC, Thank you for the information!

Lori Davis
1006
Points
Lori Davis 06/12/12 - 03:43 pm
3
0
West Augusta Alliance Forum

I was the moderator at the West Augusta Alliance forum last night and all of our questions were out of the box questions. One question that was asked was,"What is the single biggest problem that you see in ARC that is not of a Law Enforcement nature?" The answer that impressed me was the apathy that is in Augusta. I had to agree. This problem is all over the city except for those who have everything their way. One thing about forums and neighborhood meetings, it that people see no need to attend when there are no problems surrounding them. Same for the WAA. Slim turnout for 15 neighborhoods for such an important election. Don't think that things are always going to be,"hunky dory," in your neighborhood.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/12/12 - 06:40 pm
1
0
I'm here SeenIt
Unpublished

So are you telling me that Scott Peebles is going to stay on the Commission until they give him his way? Isn't that like implying that the current Sheriff is like Austin likes to say "derelict of duty"? That he has not been doing his job to the fullest capacity? Do you really believe that our current Sheriff has not done everything within his power to make sure that HIS department has every available dime? Wow ... ain't that a slap in the face to the current Sheriff!

And FOUR years to get things straight? Are you kidding me? I guess we may as well just skip the general election this November and let the current POTUS have FOUR more years. Evidently he hasn't had enough time to gets things straight!

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/12/12 - 06:41 pm
1
0
But hey you may know more
Unpublished

Because I guess if he has one commissioner donating $1,000.00 of his HARD EARNED MONEY to the Peebles campaign maybe Peebles won't have to throw too big of a temper tantrum or hold his breath while he stays on the Commission.

Riverman1
93449
Points
Riverman1 06/12/12 - 07:43 pm
1
0
"his HARD EARNED

"his HARD EARNED MONEY"

Ha...I'm not saying a word. Geez, I wonder why CSRAGuy didn't comment about this Commissioner supporting his man?

TheBigBonk
116
Points
TheBigBonk 06/30/12 - 10:34 am
0
0
A Question:
Unpublished

Hey gentlemen running for sheriff, here's a straightforward question: If a non resident were passing through your town of Augusta (he does not live here nor intends to live here) and lets say he is 70 years old with chronic arthritis and insomnea and carries a weed card from California where a licensed medical doctor (who probably has 5X the education than you and knows 100X more about the human body than you do) and has a few grams of cannabis on him, whould you throw him in jail and do the very best you could to make his life miserable??

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