Sanders has faith a Republican can win Richmond County sheriff race

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Although he hasn’t worn a uniform in 27 years, Augusta attorney Freddie Sanders says he has always stayed in touch with the inner workings of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Sanders said he is close friends with current Sheriff Ronnie Strength and has conversations with him almost daily about the department, as he did with previous Sheriff Charlie Webster.

Freddie Sanders  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Freddie Sanders

Sanders, a Richmond County native and graduate of Butler High School, was employed as a firefighter for about three years before getting a job as a sheriff’s dispatcher in 1969. He then worked briefly as an Augusta city police officer before returning to the sheriff’s department, where he moved up through the ranks, working in road patrol, vice and narcotics and violent crimes. He served as chief deputy under Sheriff J.B. Dyches.

During that period Sanders attended college and the Augusta Law School at night. He was admitted to the Georgia State Bar in 1981.

In 1983, he was named chief of the newly created Richmond County Police Department.

“The sheriff at that time had gone to jail, J.B. Dyches, and the commission created a police department on its own under home rule,” Sanders said.

In 1985, the county police department was dissolved, and Sanders took a job as a lawyer with Nixon, Yow, Waller and Capers. When the firm split in 1993, he became a member of Capers, Dunbar, Sanders, Bruckner and Bellotti, where he works today.

He has served as a prosecutor for the city of Augusta in Recorders Court and as a special assistant attorney general for the state of Georgia. He is also a certified polygraph examiner and a graduate of the Drug Enforcement Administration Academy.

Returning to law enforcement

Sanders said law enforcement is in his blood and he has always wanted to be part of it. He sees an opportunity to do that now that Strength is retiring, but it also is an opportunity to make some changes that he says are needed within the department.

For example, Sanders said the amount of training deputies receive before being sent out on patrol is insufficient.

“I think the pendulum needs to go back a little bit and we need to go back to some of the old ways,” he said. “I rode with a deputy for five years before I was issued a car, and I was never passed over. By the time I got a car I pretty much knew what to do.

“Now with the new ways, you go to school for about 10 weeks, you ride with a field training officer for a couple of months and they turn you loose with a car.”

Sanders said he wants to pair more experienced officers with younger deputies in “two-men” cars, especially in high crime areas. He also wants to change attitudes on the force.

He said sending deputies out with 60 rounds of ammunition is giving them the wrong message about their duty as police officers.

“I’m telling you these young men, as bad as they want to be in law enforcement and as good as they are, they need to go back and understand that they are peace officers,” Sanders said. “They don’t need to go out there thinking with a mind set they are going to get in some armed confrontation and that they are going to need 60 rounds of ammunition.”

Personal responsibility

Sanders said as sheriff there is little he can do to correct the problems that plague society. A sheriff’s responsibility is to enforce the law. He will work with residents to make a safer community, but without the help of parents it won’t be possible.

“I think the parents need to raise their children. I think the schools need to be supported. Instead of me trying to give the feeling that as the sheriff I’m going to go out and cure all these ills, that is not true.

“If you don’t go back to the basics and let the family raise the child it is not going to work.”

At the same time, Sanders said, law enforcement doesn’t need to be involved in many of the “minor infractions” with youth that deputies are often called to address.

“I hate to see a child got to school and they find a pocketknife in their pocket and they arrest them for a crime,” he said. “This is the new way to me. This is not to me effective law enforcement. If two kids get into a scuffle in school, you don’t need to call in law enforcement and lock them up.”

Community policing

Sanders said there are many misconceptions about the term “community policing.” He said other candidates are talking about their concepts of community policing, but none of those fall within the parameters set by the U.S. Justice Department.

“The Justice Department defines what community policing is,” he said. “There is no ‘my concept;’ there is one concept. There is what the Justice Department says is effective.”

Sanders said that standard involves creating small independent police departments in neighborhoods, such as the former “Weed and Seed” unit that was assigned to Barton Village several years ago but dissolved after the federal grant money ran out.

“You would have little police departments all over this county,” he said. “They have autonomy. They answer the call from beginning to end. They try to take care of everything without calling investigators. Instead of having a big sheriff’s department with 800 men, you now have under that concept little departments in every neighborhood.”

Sanders said it is a great concept and a very effective one, but it also would be too expensive and likely triple the number of deputies currently in uniform. Instead, Sanders said he wants to promote more active neighborhood watch programs and work with local groups to improve public safety and community relations.

Race relations

Sanders said he is sensitive to race relations and the problems of prejudice because he grew up in the era of segregation and has firsthand knowledge of what it was like.

“I hate racism. It is the most sickening thing I have ever seen,” he said. “But the difference between me and most candidates is I have seen it to the extreme. I understand how the minorities feel because I have seen it and I understand it. Nobody on my department is going to make any case against anybody because of them being a minority. I will fire them right where they are.

“It is nothing that I need to be patted on the back about. It’s just not in me. I will not put up with that. I will not condone that.”

Running as a Republican

Sanders said he is running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic county because that is who he is. He is a conservative, but he said law enforcement is nonpartisan.

He added that he can’t control whether people will vote against him because of his political party.

“I’m not going to believe that a Republican doesn’t have a chance,” he said. “I cannot say that I am a Democrat any more than I can say that if you break the law I’m not going to arrest you. I have enough faith in people, enough confidence that they know that I am a conservative and what I am going to do.

“I might be an idealist, but I still believe that people will look at me and say he is a viable candidate, and although he carries the stench of being a Republican, we might turn our heads and look at him.”

NEXT SUNDAY

Richmond County Sheriff’s Lt. John Ivey is next Sunday’s scheduled Newsmaker Q&A in The Augusta Chronicle’s series of interviews with sheriff’s candidates.

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Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/25/12 - 05:59 am
1
3
In the past, it may have been

In the past, it may have been somewhat feasible for a candidate in Richmond County to run as a Democrat, but those days are over. Every conservative I know has left the Democratic Party. Look at the Congressional race, who do you want a Republican or Barrow?

I could also listen if a candidate said something like, well, I have to run as a Democrat, but I in no way support Obama, statewide or national Democrats. Peebles doesn't do that. He brags about supporting Obama. That strategy is going to backfire. There is no need to waste a Republican vote for your Congressional candidate to help him.

Silas has a big backing of current RCSO officers and his popularity is growing as evidenced by his functions. He came out of nowhere. Again, the poll that's out there has Roundtree winning. If Peebles can't stop him, it's time to shift to a new leader in Silas and see if he can. I think that's what many officers are seeing and doing.

Lots of bombshells about candidates will be hitting before the vote.

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 06/25/12 - 06:06 am
1
4
Changes

I believe my opinion about this election changed like that of the public. I was first a Peebles' supporter. Then Republican Freddie Sanders got in the race and I immediately saw him as a viable alternative, especially if Roundtree wins the Democratic nomination. Lastly, Robbie Silas is gaining support from many, especially in the outlying county. His crowds have contained a good many blacks, too. He may be the one who can stop Roundtree.

Roundtee's name brings up another good point. He has been a capable officer and spokesman in the past. Ronnie Strength supported his police work previously. From everything I've heard, his escapades are no worse than that of the others and that was a long time ago. We all need to man up and get behind him as Sheriff if he does win. The best thing to ever happen to Charleston was hiring a black city police chief. It provides a certain dynamic with the black community.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 06/25/12 - 08:02 am
1
0
Let's get busy Freddie

Republican candidate Freddie Sanders appears to be lagging the farthest behind his opponents in digital campaigning.

He has yet to create a Web site or any other digital platform.

If you have one I can't find it......you have the $$$ to make a dazzling web site.......surprise us why doncha...

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 06/25/12 - 08:47 am
4
2
Some on here don't understand

This is what 1 of our posters endured for years.....I call this harrassment.....what did the police call it??
her story..in her own words...

Good luck getting anything done about foul language in Richmond County. I couldn't get anything done about being verbally abused with foul, obscene and racist language by neighbors when I stepped to the mailbox or on my deck or tried to take a walk or work in my yard, even right in front of my children. It was even witnessed and acknowledged that he heard it by at least one officer. We finally had to move after seven years of reporting and hoping and praying someone would help and the drug-trafficking and other criminal activity would cease or at least move to another area; since the verbal abuse was tied to my attempts to rid our area of crime. The most lame excuse I heard from authorities was "it's just their culture." and "just ignore it and eventually it will stop." I ignored it the whole time except for reporting it appropriately, and it continued for 7 years. so that is B.S. There was no way I would respond in kind to that kind of baiting behavior; because I knew if I did it would escalate. It escalated WITHOUT me responding. Apparently no response was still a response and led to adding threats, lies and worse! It is verbal assault and it is NOT acceptable.
----------------------------------------
Some punks don't care a rats behind about community police or community anything......
Why not file a complaint about this........the very reason decent people leave Richmond county & yall know this!!!

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/25/12 - 09:08 am
5
3
Peebles for Obama ... NOT!
Unpublished

Apparently I had a post pulled regarding my answer to RM1 when he asked about Peeples being an Obama supporter or not. Let me rephrase this answer to RM:

Running as a Democrat and bragging about going to the Obama inauguration appears to be a lure by Peebles to get the black communities vote in this year bid for Sheriff (“There’s no Obama sticker on my car because it is a county car, but I will tell you I was at the inauguration.” http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/elections/2012-03-17/qa-ric...).

However if you look at the voting record for Peebles, which is posted on the “Roundtree for Sheriff” Facebook page, it shows without a doubt that Peebles voted REPUBLICAN in the presidential primaries in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 .

Flip flop MUCH Peebles?

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/25/12 - 09:16 am
4
0
And even though I dislike the
Unpublished

And even though I dislike the cut and paste posts I feel this one should be repeated/reposted (sent to JAnderson1945 on City Ink article):

"I applaud you for going to the forums but I have a challenge for you & other voters. Instead of just going to the forums, which are limited on time due to a moderator, how about go to one event sponsored by each individual candidate where you can hear just that candidates vision & story? You also get the opportunity to speak one-on-one & ask questions of that individual candidate. It gives you a more informed opinion."

The forums are great for the limited questions that can be asked across the board. But the individual functions sponsored by each candidate are very informative on giving the candidate more time to interact with everyone and answer questions about their vision for RCSO. Even if you are not "for" the candidate at this time, hearing what they have to say individually may make you see them in a different light.

I especially encourage anyone and everyone who has a personal stake in the election (people who are employed by RCSO or have a spouse or family member who will be directly affected by the next Sheriff) to go to the one-on-one meet and greets of each candidate ... you may be surprised about what you think you know and what you find out. At least you are hearing it firsthand.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/25/12 - 12:42 pm
3
0
Does their websites list when

Does their websites list when and where these meet and greets are held? If not where can this information be found?

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/25/12 - 12:56 pm
2
1
Riverman, I will agree that

Riverman, I will agree that we should back whomever wins 100%, but I don't believe the color of his skin will determine his success as Sheriff. Were it would help would be on the political side. Which would be a benefit the deputies.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/25/12 - 02:02 pm
5
0
High Society ... I know that
Unpublished

High Society ... I know that Peebles, Silas & Roundtree all have FB pages that list events. And Sanders has his personal FB page that lists them (not sure if you have to be his friend on his FB or not to see it). Also I am not sure about Ivey or Godowns so far because I have only seen one Ivey sign so far on Wrightsboro Road, and no Godowns signs in the community. I did however see where Ivey had a meet & greet at Brigham Community Center. I wish the media would announce these things. It may be a good question to propose at the next forum Thursday night at Diamond Lakes.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/25/12 - 02:06 pm
4
0
To me you get so much more

To me you get so much more out of seeing someone in person. I will check those. Thank you!

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/25/12 - 07:25 pm
2
0
High Society ... checking FB
Unpublished

High Society ... checking FB it appears Silas will be on Comcast Community Concern with Ben Hasan at 10pm tonight. I don't have Comcast so let me know if anything good is said.

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