Sheriff candidates address voting records, diversity

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Augusta resident Earnest Rich­ardson said he is still not sure who he will vote for in the Richmond County sheriff primaries at the end of July. He is not alone.

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Attorney Freddie Sanders addresses the crowd at a sheriff candidates forum at Broadway Baptist Church.  SUMMER MOORE/STAFF
SUMMER MOORE/STAFF
Attorney Freddie Sanders addresses the crowd at a sheriff candidates forum at Broadway Baptist Church.

“Most of my friends are undecided,” he said.

Five of the six candidates spoke at a forum Saturday morning at Broadway Baptist Church on Barton Chapel Road. Republican Michael Godowns did not attend.

The session got heated when the first question addressed party affiliation. Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles and Lt. Robbie Silas have voted for candidates in both parties, and both are running as Democrats. One moderator, Tanya Barnhill, said Peebles had been called a flip-flopper. Both candidates said they had voted for the person, not the party.

Richmond County schools Pub­­lic Safety Lt. Richard Round­­tree addressed Peeb­les’ voting record, saying he had voted Republican in the past. Peebles said he has voted Democratic more times than Roundtree, because Roundtree only started voting six years ago. Roundtree then addressed the issue again, saying Peebles has only voted Democratic twice because he was going to run for sheriff.

Sheriff’s Lt. John Ivey and Roundtree both said they had always voted as Democrats.

The only Republican cand­idate at the forum, attorney Freddie Sanders, told the audience he had voted Repub­lican his whole life.

“If I have to be tarnished because I’m a Republican, then I have to tell you that’s what I am,” he said. “I will not lie to you to get your vote.”

Another issue raised was diversity in the department. Barnhill asked what the candidates would do to address concerns that the sheriff’s office does not reflect Augusta’s majority minority population.

Peebles and Silas said the department had to be better about recruiting minorities. Ivey, Round­tree and Sanders said the promotion process would change under them.

All the candidates except Sanders said they would start a citizen’s advisory board within their first 100 days in office.

When asked whether they would consider putting someone on the board who had “been through the (penal) system,” Ivey, Silas and Roundtree said yes. Peebles said no.

A question from the audience concerned whether racial profiling exists.

“Is it out there? Sure it is,” Silas said. “It’s not just in the officers, it’s in the community.”

He said education is key.

“Perception is a dangerous word. It implies so many things,” Ivey said, adding that to avoid racial profiling, the department has to diversify.

Peebles said profiling is not the biggest racial problem in Augusta. He said he has heard some mostly black communities feel deputies treat them differently than white neighborhoods. He suggested sensitivity training and psychological assessments during the hiring process.

Roundtree said he had profiled in some situations, such as when there is a group of working-age men hanging on a street corner.

“It makes no sense for a 22- or 23-year-old, black or white, to be standing on a street corner when they could be working,” he said.

Sanders said he would address racial profiling during deputy training.

“I want those men to know that everybody’s life is of equal value,” he said.

Richardson said he is waiting for the candidates to give specific answers, and to be honest about their policies and affiliations.

“We have all heard what they said today before,” he said. “What I am waiting for is a truly honest answer.”

Comments (28) Add comment
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CobaltGeorge
159259
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/30/12 - 06:03 pm
9
2
If I Was Sheriff

and in one month there were 1000 crimes committed and I arrested someone for all 1000 crimes. Now it so happened that of the 1000, 910 were black and 90 were white, would I be accused of racial profiling?

Riverman1
84125
Points
Riverman1 06/30/12 - 06:13 pm
4
6
Peebles A Democrat

With Peebles proudly admitting his recent Democratic votes, including for Obama, I see no reason for conservatives to waste votes on him.

Riverman1
84125
Points
Riverman1 06/30/12 - 06:16 pm
4
3
Freddie Went in the Lion's Den

Freddie Sanders went in the lion's den at the church and stood tall and unapologetic. You have to admire him.

toldyaso
595
Points
toldyaso 06/30/12 - 07:34 pm
9
0
White criminals, black or

White criminals, black or whatever. Do the crime, do the time. You know--- a little common sense would go a long way.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 06/30/12 - 07:53 pm
6
0
Arrest whoever is committing

Arrest whoever is committing the crime. Shouldn't matter what color they are. Every person that robbed/burglarized me was black - and I'm black. Who's profiling who?

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 08:26 pm
0
4
Mr. Richardson some others of
Unpublished

Mr. Richardson some others of us are still waiting for the REAL truth about the candidates to come out also. Thank you madam moderator for having the gumption to ask ONE of many questions that keep getting sidestepped. I applaud you.

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 07/01/12 - 05:14 am
4
2
How about more women in

How about more women in supervisory positions? And not just in the jail or records, but on the street. There are black and white Lieutenants, black and white captains, and black and white majors, but none are women.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 07/01/12 - 05:31 am
2
2
CobaltGeorge if you searched
Unpublished

CobaltGeorge if you searched 2000 blacks and only 100 Whites to get those stats then yes you are profiling. Take New York's Stop and Frisk Law, Whites use more Drugs than Blacks , but Blacks have a search rate 10 times more than whites. I'm not for anyone getting away with crime but I think you missed the point.

Riverman1
84125
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 05:57 am
2
1
OwensJef, not to get this

OwensJef, not to get this into a racial discussion, but keep in mind there are many more whites than blacks.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 07/01/12 - 06:34 am
0
0
What a community. Were any
Unpublished

What a community. Were any questions raised except race? How about: Are you going to do something about the boom-boomers, Is the sheriffs dept going to continue to be the broker for private security services, Is our focus going to be speed traps or neighborhood security, Are we going to stop and frisk known loiterers in known drug selling spots? It appears that the majority of Augustans are so self centered about their race that nothing matters as to what their race is doing to the community. SAD.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 07/01/12 - 06:36 am
0
0
P.S. I could care less how
Unpublished

P.S. I could care less how many times my candidate voted in the past.

constituent
164
Points
constituent 07/01/12 - 08:16 am
0
1
Voters do not be decieve

Voters do not be decieve Scott Pebbles is a Republican inside a Democrat turtle shell, who supported George W. Bush and now Mitt Romney.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 07/01/12 - 09:16 am
1
1
That was a varible in the
Unpublished

That was a varible in the study.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 07/01/12 - 09:34 am
2
2
"I'm black." really...lol.
Unpublished

"I'm black." really...lol.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 07/01/12 - 09:40 am
2
3
Why not?
Unpublished

As always, the conversation turns to race. Also noted, there is a serious problem with the number of young African American males arrested in Augusta, Ga

Why not have a sheriff who can relate the most to these individuals?

Richard Roundtree.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 07/01/12 - 09:47 am
2
0
Geez half the article was
Unpublished

Geez half the article was about race.

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 07/01/12 - 11:44 am
0
0
Poor,poor blackman must have
Unpublished

Poor,poor blackman must have something to do with Slaveryyyyyyy !75 to 80% of the calls the sheriff dept gets are black related.Check the stats

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/01/12 - 01:25 pm
4
0
Why is everyone making this a

Why is everyone making this a race issue? I'd be more concerned with the person who is going to take the murderers, drug dealers and felons off the streets. If the person elected can relate to the persons committing the crimes in the community cool, but I hope he's slapping the cuffs on them while they are 'relating' to one another. People get tired of crime and killing. Relating to the entire population of criminals in Augusta isn't going to help the crime rate. The purpose is to do a JOB, and that is to deal with crime. To heck with all the social services aspect of it. There are other community programs set up for that.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/01/12 - 01:32 pm
3
0
iLove, there is a serious

iLove, there is a serious problem with the number of African-American males committing violent crimes. Why is that? And why is their primary target another black person? Why do the drug dealers sell drugs to their own communities, destroying them and at the same time creating the next generation of druggies and dealers who will eventually have a criminal record, no education, and no real job skills? Why are the (black) teens and young adults killing other teens and young adults in cold blood? Can somebody in Augusta answer those questions?

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 07/01/12 - 01:44 pm
2
0
"Why is everyone making this

"Why is everyone making this a race issue? I'd be more concerned with the person who is going to take the murderers, drug dealers and felons off the streets." Patty-P, this is what I call an intelligent statement and truly non-racial.

On the other hand....

"Do you honestly think that a republican or a candidate that vote republican and beleives in their rascist KKK principles would be the right person to be the top law enforcement officer in Richmond County during 2012? I could see if they beleived in equality but do you ever see and inclusion of African Americans with Romney or any of the other candidates that were on the Republican ticket except for UNCLE Herman Cain who is a sell out by he way?" This is a perfect example why RACISM is still alive.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/01/12 - 01:54 pm
2
1
Icl, I felt the same way

Icl, I felt the same way after reading that post. Its full of ignorance and racism. PattyP, you are correct. We don't someone to be Sheriff because of the color of their skin, and who they relate to.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 07/01/12 - 02:04 pm
3
1
I don't understand how

I don't understand how someone can say "It is extremely important that the sheriff's office reflect the population it serves, not only race, but gender, age, and other areas as well"

To me, it's extremely important that the sheriff's office upholds the law and the race, gender, age, or anything other shouldn't matter. When we care more about diversity than who is the best qualified, there will always be issues.....doesn't matter if they are white, black, asian, etc.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 07/01/12 - 02:15 pm
2
1
Good Banter Everyone: No One Seemed to get mad!

Patty P you made two great comments with a lot of intelligence and forethought!! Why does it matter whether the sheriff is black or white as Patty said. The only thing that should matter is the job at hand.

investigator we are all happy you are in Atlanta. Stay there. How dare you call all Repbulicans racist and I think we might know how you feel by calling Herman Cain: Uncle Tom! If this offends you or someone else, report me! Some will get to read it before it is pulled!!

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/01/12 - 02:21 pm
1
1
SS, I read it, and you are

SS, I read it, and you are right on target.

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 07/01/12 - 02:40 pm
0
0
InChrist no most of the
Unpublished

InChrist no most of the blacks want to live there lives on the Demos tit they don't want to stand on there own.They don't even realize they are still a slave to the Demos and thats great,get paid and don't have to work.

investigator
28
Points
investigator 07/01/12 - 03:00 pm
1
3
Another thing

I in anyway mentioned anything about the sheriff being white or black! My concern is Republican vs Democrat, the 2012 democratic party is for all people and every semi intelligent person knows exactly what the Republican party stands for! It's simple, I would not encourage anyone to vote for a candidate that doesn't unite all people rather black or white! So for you people that got the impression that I said vote for a person because he's black, I didn't and deeply apologize! I know a lot of wonderful white democrats and only a handful of republicans that share the same beleifs and core values that I share! I stand by what I said about the sheriff office and any other local, state, and federal office should reflect the community that they serve and if you feel that's a problem then shame on you attend more cultural events!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/01/12 - 04:40 pm
0
0
haha! wowowowow! Get off my

haha! wowowowow! Get off my what and start helping who??? Never, ever assume you know what anyone is doing when they go to work in the morning or what they do in their spare time!! For your info I worked with 'youth' until it got to the point where they were disrespectful and violent to no end! I can't do what a parent SHOULD be doing. I have my own to raise! Tired of this blame-game mentality where people think all is well when they see violence, drugs, gangs all around them and people put the blame elsewhere. If I were hateful I wouldn't be so hard on drug-dealers and gangs and thugs whose primary goal is to ruin yet another young mind. You have to draw the line somewhere and give hope to those who have not yet been afflicted with the disease that affects the communities. And I say get rid of the criminals that won't change (repeat offenders) and let the sun shine in on people that CAN be helped and are willing to try to head down the right path. I don't hate the person, I hate the behavior.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 07/01/12 - 06:08 pm
2
0
Blinded
Unpublished

Isn't everything ELSE in Augusta based around race.....I don't get your point. Did you read the article.....half of it was about race. Race is the heart beat of Augusta. Always has been.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 07/01/12 - 07:05 pm
2
0
"Barnhill asked what the

"Barnhill asked what the candidates would do to address concerns that the sheriff’s office does not reflect Augusta’s majority minority population."

Augusta will NEVER be anything more than it is, as long as people like Barnhill keep attempting to stir up the race issue; I am not saying that there never was racism in and about the city of Augusta;

"Peebles and Silas said the department had to be better about recruiting minorities. Ivey, Round­tree and Sanders said the promotion process would change under them."

I agree with this, but you don't get quality candidates by simply implementing a policy to do so; what you get is "people" who are hired, not based on qualifications, but classifications. You satisfy the "over zealous" local citizens but do nothing to improve the quality of the product you are supplying to all of the public. The way to correct this issue is not by simply implementing a minority hiring policy.......it is rectified by a consistent recruiting and training program that will make more minority candidates WANT to become police officers. When you simply hire someone as a "token" you destroy their dignity and self worth...........and you NEVER recover from that.

BOTTOM LINE is this.......we ALL know racial prejudice still exists on BOTH sides of the coin; NOTHING will improve, as long as we succumb to the liberal "numbers game" We need to elect a new sheriff, let him control the ship, without having to pamper the local "minister's group"; then let him build a quality, efficient police force; and if that turns out to be 65% minority or 30% minority, or 90% minority is totally irrelevant as long as we have a quality police force.

The people who keep bringing up the race card only do so, in order to keep their names "out in their community" for their own influence. Augusta needs to completely ignore these people and concentrate on bigger problems like getting rid of Fred "forked tongue" Russell.

The ONLY time Republican or Democrat should be an issue; is if you intend on working for the "party" instead of the citizens of Augusta. I don't care which is in office, if he is "focused" about law enforcement. And don't worry about whether more minorities or whites are getting arrested.....let the man just arrest CRIMINALS; ONLY AN IDIOT cares what color they are !!!

Riverman1
84125
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 07:11 pm
0
0
CAPTAIN P, THE OBAMA SUPPORTER

CAPTAIN P, THE OBAMA SUPPORTER, has made it plain he admires Obama. Do y'all reckon he's just saying that to play to the black vote? It appears to me the black voters don't exactly believe CAPTAIN P, THE OBAMA SUPPORTER. But maybe others feel the black voters are not aware enough to understand the tactic?

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