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.

Comments (36) Add comment
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seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/23/12 - 07:21 pm
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Thanks

Thank you F Sanders for some good common sense way of thinking.....& thank you AC for this article...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/23/12 - 09:58 pm
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A Straight-up Man

He's not about to compromise his principles and run as a Democrat. Let those who support Obama beware. Sanders is going to be a real choice. First let's get him elected in the Republican primary, then onto November.

janderson1945
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janderson1945 06/23/12 - 10:00 pm
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Agree with Sanders this should be non-partisan

Our family is Republican and we have been to two of the forums for the Sheriff’s Candidates as well as the Good Government Meeting. In all three cases, Freddie Sanders turned me and my wife further away from even considering him as a viable choice. The other republican running for Sheriff isn’t an option either. Although there is little chance a Republican can win in November, I would still vote Republican if one of the two would be a good Sheriff. After the Good Government meeting and the first forum, we had pretty much decided to vote in the democratic primary. Not because we went as guests with our democratic friends because like Mr. Sanders stated, we believe the Sheriff’s race should be non-partisan as they don’t make laws, they only enforce them. The reason we decided to vote in the democratic primary is because Scott Peebles is best for the job, has the most experience, preparedness and best ideas for improving an already good Sheriff’s Office. Our area needs a Sheriff that is young enough to bring in more technology, fresh ideas, and current policing strategies and training, yet mature enough to handle this awesome responsibility. In all areas and in each question that all candidates were given, Scott Peebles provided the best solutions and a clear plan of action to reduce crime and work together with the community. We need the best Sheriff in our county no matter their political party and therefore our family will be supporting Scott Peebles in the democratic primary on July 31st and we encourage you do to the same. If you still aren’t sure, then don’t take my word for it or that of anyone else. Attend one of the many forums coming up and you will see why Peebles will be best for our area and for the department.

Riverman1
81250
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Riverman1 06/23/12 - 10:18 pm
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4
Peebles is Supporting Obama or Not?

Peebles is supporting Obama or not? Can we get a statement from him?

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 06/24/12 - 05:15 am
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Is Freddie thinking that, if...

Scott is the Demo nominee, enough supporters of Richard will not cast sheriff votes in the November election to throw the race his way?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/24/12 - 07:06 am
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First Freddie has to win the Republican Primary

First Freddie has to win the Republican Primary. Godowns is a serious contender.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/24/12 - 07:59 am
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I agree with jand45

My wife and I will also cross-over in July to support Peebles!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/24/12 - 08:53 am
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Silas is Picking up Support

Silas is getting some big name supporters and he is picking up support in ways I never thought he would. He appears to be the favorite of those out in the county, south and west. Charles Webster and others are getting behind him.

allhans
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allhans 06/24/12 - 11:46 am
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If, in the General election,

If, in the General election, we have Roundtree going against Sanders, what are the odds?

rational thought trumps emotion
2494
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rational thought trumps emotion 06/24/12 - 11:57 am
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Allhans

The odds are more that 70% in favor of any democrat beating the republican. Roundtree would win in November by a landslide as Sylvia Cooper and others have pointed out in previous articles. Sanders comments in at the West Augusta meeting about throwing all the thugs in jail, no to community policing, no to accreditation, and wanting to take the Sheriff's office back to the way it used to be placed the nails in his coffin for winning over any democrats and cost him many republicans as well.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/24/12 - 12:03 pm
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rational my behind

Evidently some didn't listen to his speech......you are beating a dead horse.......let it go........South Augusta is sick & tired of CRIME.....that comes in EVERY COLOR!!!
GEEZ.....you don't give the people in South Augusta enough credit.....why is that.....

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/24/12 - 12:07 pm
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blah blah

I can't stay & play on here right now......but things are changing in the CSRA....wake up bobbleheads & smell the coffee...:)

Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 06/24/12 - 01:37 pm
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My case for Scott vs. Freddie

I will NOT be picking up a Dem ballot in July....can't bring myself to do it...I believe Scott is the man for the job and he will probably win handily so I need not shame my conservative sensibilities by asking for a Democratic ballot.....I also agree with those that say this office should be non-partisan..We should be voting for a Sheriff. Not a politician. That's who we've had the last few years in my opinion. A politician not a law-enforcement official...
Although I believe Freddie is a conservative, I don't share his views on community policing. Three times as many deputies on the road is a bad thing? Sorry Freddie. You lost me on that one....To those who say we can't afford community policing....let me submit that, we COULD if we didn't have certain people within the business community feeding at the public trough for their "pet" projects....(see other threads)....If we had city leaders that said no to these people sometimes we MIGHT be able to afford public safety, which in turn WOULD feed the tax base and make everyone richer AND safer.......

HighSociety
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HighSociety 06/24/12 - 03:10 pm
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Riverman, I really would like

Riverman, I really would like to know where you get your information. Godowns will be lucky to get 5% of the vote. Silas is not picking up big name support. 95% of the department doesn't even respect him. I do believe that Peebles and Roundtree are closer in numbers than before. Sanders would be a good choice, but the votes won't be there. Ivey won't be able to gain enough support. The winner out of Peebles and Roundtree will be your next Sheriff.

allhans
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allhans 06/24/12 - 03:15 pm
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What High Society just

What High Society just said...

rational thought trumps emotion
2494
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rational thought trumps emotion 06/24/12 - 04:13 pm
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Conservative Man & HS

Conservative man, you make some good points. But, as high society points out correctly, it is going to be a close race between Peebles and Roundtree and the winner will very likely be your next Sheriff. Peebles is the best choice of all of the candidates and the Sheriff's election is far more important than getting to pick a congressional nominee to run in November. This is a very important election and we need to make sure Peebles gets elected by agreeing that it should be non-partisan and just asking for the democratic ballot in the primary and then voting for either party in the general election. And, most of us carry 30 on our belt and 16 in our weapon (46, not 60) and Freddie thinks we sould carry less? I guess he wants us to go back to 6 shooters but these comments show how far out of touch with the reality of today's policing he really is.

Riverman1
81250
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Riverman1 06/24/12 - 05:16 pm
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Let's be perfectly honest

Let's be perfectly honest here. If someone is going to run as a Democrat with absolutely no intent to support the state and national Democratic Party let him say so. In the past it may have been done, but it certainly isn't done in these times of the internet. Republicans don't need to give up their vote for anyone who supports Obama and Co.

Riverman1
81250
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Riverman1 06/24/12 - 05:18 pm
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High Society, I'd really like

High Society, I'd really like to know where you get your info, too. I get mine from RCSO officers.

Riverman1
81250
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Riverman1 06/24/12 - 05:23 pm
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High Society, I'd really like

High Society,I don't respond to personal inquiries. But I will respond to comments that stay on subject.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/24/12 - 05:47 pm
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Amazing

You know for someone you say doesn't have a chance to win (FS) why in the world do you spend so much time on here putting him down??

tgentry
231
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tgentry 06/24/12 - 05:50 pm
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5
Once again another Article showing out of touch

My mind was made up a while back. F Sanders you are lost and out of touch. Stay away from the department. Your thinking would destroy the RCSO. Every officer that becomes part of the RCSO know they are peace officers. The 30 on the belt and 16 in the gun = 46. Personally in some situations I would make sure they had another 45 to be safe. I will cross the line for Scott Peebles. 5 years before getting a car? Do you know how much money is wasted by that? Is this your version of community policing? Once again you have brought up the Justice Dept. for community policing. Ok so you do not have the money to do it the Justice Dept. way, so does that mean you don't do it at all? F Sanders is stuck in a old mind set and is out of touch with todays department needs. Scott is young and fresh and has great ideas to implement. How about the rest of you start telling us how you are going to change the department instead of election hoopla back and forth. Give us some answers instead of telling us what is not going to work with out even trying.

HighSociety
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HighSociety 06/24/12 - 05:54 pm
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My question was on topic. So

My question was on topic. So did you do some type of poll with the officers, or just getting the opinion of a couple of buddies you have on the department? As far as who the candidates support in the Presidential race, who cares?

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/24/12 - 06:02 pm
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1
The article says

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.

Sooo we will hear all of the candidates over the next weeks.....this will be interesting....

HighSociety
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HighSociety 06/24/12 - 06:09 pm
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Seenitb4, yep and I'm sure

Seenitb4, yep and I'm sure there will be some good debates on here each week. It will be nice to hear what each candidate has to say.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/24/12 - 06:21 pm
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About time too

Well I'm glad .....it is about time each man stepped up to the plate.....it will be interesting.....
we can't do all the work for them on here...(just joking):)

Most people work & can't see them in person ....this is a great way to learn more about each man..

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 06/24/12 - 06:34 pm
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Got mine!

Got my "Peebles" yard sign today, but it looks out of place with so many "Roundtree" and "Ivey" signs in the neighborhood. Made sure to focus a security camera on it, just in case someone messes with it!

rational thought trumps emotion
2494
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rational thought trumps emotion 06/24/12 - 06:57 pm
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SeenIt

No comments that I have seen, are putting FS down. All comments are directly related to what he is saying he would do with the Sheriff's Office and how he would run it. As a Deputy Sheriff, I don't know of anyone who supports the ideas he has put forth or many of the comments he has made, including those in this article. I do agree with your comments on each of the candidates being interviewed here as that does help people to make informed decisions. Most also have websites listing their agendas. Personally, from a law enforcement point of view, we simply need someone who is well prepared, well trained and ready to take us into the future instead of returning us to the past, that person is Captain Scott Peebles.

truthsetmfree
85
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truthsetmfree 06/24/12 - 08:32 pm
3
3
moving forward sometimes takes moving backwards

Sanders moto: put the criminals in jail, get community members involved in solving problems in thier community. Peebles motto: community policing I am an Obama democrat I voted for him and attended his inaguration, just didn't put a bumper sticker on my county car. Roundtree's moto:I have made many, many ,many mistakes but I have grown. I haven't learned anything but I have grown. One dream driving the one team train. Silas' moto: Strength for Silas, Patty that is. John Ivey's moto: I want to be sheriff, wow and I happen to be black, did I say I want to be sheriff? Godowns' motto: I want to redo the good old boy system, to my good old boy system....

I like the first guy.............sometimes going back to the old ways helps you move forward...Freddie for sheriff.

Khan'tB4Real
948
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Khan'tB4Real 06/24/12 - 09:56 pm
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1
High Society where is it that
Unpublished

High Society where is it that you get your on target information from? How do you think you are so much more privy to the facts as anyone else? You question what others know but your information comes from who exactly?

Rational, I hope you are prepared to reap what you so as a Deputy Sheriff. Because you are in for a huge surprise.

Time WILL tell and soon.

HighSociety
1840
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HighSociety 06/24/12 - 10:46 pm
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2
Kantb4, just going off a

Kantb4, just going off a hunch my friend.

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