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Richmond County sheriff's candidates offer plans for downtown safety

Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:48 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012 2:25 AM
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If Freddie Sanders were sheriff, he said, he’d make downtown and First Friday safe by saturating the streets with officers of all races and genders in plain clothes so that criminals are never sure whether their next intended victim is a police officer.

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Ivey suggested enforcing the curfews downtown to keep juveniles off the streets.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Ivey suggested enforcing the curfews downtown to keep juveniles off the streets.


Coupled with quick arrests for troublemakers, he said, his approach would need to be implement­ed only once to solve the problem.

“Give me that first First Friday and I’ll make it safe,” Sanders said. “My second First Friday, you can bring your newborn babies and your elderly people downtown.”

Candidates hoping to replace retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength gave their thoughts on potential solutions to downtown safety in an NAACP debate at New Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday evening. Strength said in a forum Wednesday that the July 6 shootings of six people were an isolated event, exaggerated by media coverage, and that downtown was a safe place.

Mike Godowns advocated more police presence on the streets to increase safety, but said he believed it was adequate now, while John Ivey said the answers lie in enforcing curfews by keeping restless juveniles off the street.

Richard Roundtree said the problem was not with First Friday nor the downtown area, but with the criminals responsible for the shootings and the culture surrounding them. He said he would address the problems, which include a gang culture and easily accessible weapons and drugs.

Scott Peebles said he would place officers in high-visibility uniforms downtown to both offer quick assistance to people in need and to deter crime with their presence.

The other candidate running for the sheriff’s office, Robbie Silas, had a previous engagement and had to leave the debate after giving his opening statement, which summarized his platform for the audience. He focused on adding officers to street patrols, better community relations, a more diverse department, youth intervention programs and a citizens advisory board to allow residents to relate what they’d like to see changed in the sheriff’s office.

He said he would address First Friday concerns by urging business owners to decide whether they want to continue to participate in the festival, and if so, working to put as many officers on the streets as possible to keep everyone downtown safe.

The last hour of the debate grew tense. Peebles said the men were trading shots, but Roundtree argued that each was just speaking honestly about the others.

The first volley was fired after the candidates answered questions about any disparity in the way the department deals with whites and blacks.

The first four responding candidates said there was a departmental problem with racial equality and pitched ideas to solve it, which included sensitivity training for deputies and higher promotion of minorities within the office.

Roundtree said that prejudice exists and that there is only one way to hope to see it disappear.

“Those people who’ve got those ideas, they’re going to have to die, because they’re not going to change,” Roundtree said.

Sanders, the last to answer the questions, argued that no one would be treated differently because of race during his tenure as sheriff, and if anyone was, those responsible would be immediately and publicly fired. He accused the other candidates of belittling their department in hopes of securing votes from the NAACP event.

After that, candidates seemed to lose their reservations about directly confronting each other.

Roundtree said Peebles was groomed by Strength to be the next sheriff, was promoted when others should have been, and would not represent change for Richmond County.

Peebles fired back and said Roundtree could have had those promotions if he’d worked hard, but instead was demoted four years ago.

“Yeah, four years ago I got demoted,” Roundtree said later, on how he would be a role model for the area’s troubled youths. “Four years later, I was sheriff of Richmond County.”

The two men also clashed over Peebles’ decision to run as a Democrat. Peebles said he was asking everyone to vote for him, regardless of race or party, so his party affiliation shouldn’t matter.

Roundtree responded that if it didn’t matter, Peebles wouldn’t have switched tickets.

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wildman
1217
Points
wildman 07/20/12 - 03:40 am
3
0
Only in Augusta could you get

Only in Augusta could you get this type of entertainment in a sheriff's race. All I hear is how great the current sheriff is but everybody is wanting to make changes and fix the problems. If it's that bad how can he be that good? Somethiing to think about!

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/20/12 - 06:59 am
1
0
what does race have to do
Unpublished

what does race have to do with increasing police presence downtown?!?! oh i get it must insert the "race" word to pander to the race pimps

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 07/20/12 - 06:59 am
4
2
Robie Silas Had Huge Crowd At Julian Smith Casio

Silas' other event was at the Julian Smith Casino last night where he drew a huge crowd. A large number were RCSO police officers. From the photos I've seen, the crowd appeared to be mainly white, but also had many blacks in attendance. Silas strength appears to be growing. Pun intended.

Freddie Sanders was the only straight talking candidate at the forum. He told everyone exactly how he would control First Friday in his conservative, Republican way, like it or not.

The question to Peebles if race didn't matter when choosing a candidate, why did Peebles switch to being a Democrat is one that's hard to honestly get by.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 07/20/12 - 07:04 am
5
2
My man said...

“Give me that first First Friday and I’ll make it safe,” Sanders said. “My second First Friday, you can bring your newborn babies and your elderly people downtown.”

Oh how I love a straight talker!!

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/20/12 - 09:00 am
1
0
i understand my post is not
Unpublished

i understand my post is not relevant to this article, but i do not see any reporting of this recent development i want to get this information out there for (almost) everyone to pass on....THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS ENTERED INTO A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TO HAVE THEM ENCOURAGE FOOD STAMP ENROLLMENT OF MEXICANS IN THIS COUNTRY. CURRENTLY SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (AL.) IS REQUESTING ADD'L INFORMATION BUT FOR NOW ILLEGALS ARE NOT ABLE TO ENROLL (FOR NOW) ANOTHER STEP IN GETTING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENT.....

The Mexican government has been distributing information about the U.S. food stamp program through its embassy and dozens of consular offices, a partnership that one Republican senator says is the latest example of an "aggressive" push to "expand enrollment regardless of need."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, raised concerns about the program in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack -- one week after he complained about a Spanish-language ad campaign encouraging residents to go on food stamps.

The USDA ended the campaign following criticism, but Sessions warned in his letter that the U.S.-Mexico partnership is a symptom of the same approach.

His concern -- that Mexican immigrants are being guided toward government assistance instead of "gainful employment."

"It has become increasingly clear that the mission of the food stamp program has moved from targeted welfare assistance for those in need into an aggressive drive to expand enrollment regardless of need," he wrote.

Both the Spanish-language ad campaign and the U.S.-Mexico partnership were launched under the George W. Bush administration. The partnership dates back to 2004 -- it was signed between then-Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Mexico's foreign affairs secretary at the time. The USDA says on its website that it is meant to "educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance." To do that, Mexico distributes materials through its embassy and 50 consular offices

REFERENCE:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/19/senator-says-food-stamp-partn...

straightshooter
90
Points
straightshooter 07/20/12 - 08:14 am
4
0
First friday

First friday isn't even an event anymore; no one sponsors it, no merchant tables are setup anymore, and no bands playing outside on the streets... It's just the day when the handout checks from the government get cashed, which leads to everyone burning through their free money, and they just happen to do it in dtown... I think I'd prefer Peebles suggestion (with uniformed officers), as opposed to Sanders (not uniformed), because most cops look like cops (crew cut/military cut, Oakleys, etc.) The unidentified cops wouldn't be that hard to spot in my opinion.

Little Lamb
48859
Points
Little Lamb 07/20/12 - 10:06 am
5
0
Shaft

From the story:

Richard Roundtree said . . . he would address the problems, which include a gang culture and easily accessible weapons and drugs.

That's nice, but how is he going to address gang culture, weapons, and drugs? Did he repeat what he says in his stump speech that he is going to spend law enforcement dollars on setting up youth development programs after school hours? That ought to pick up the social worker vote.

Little Lamb
48859
Points
Little Lamb 07/20/12 - 10:10 am
3
2
Time to Vote

Good morning, Seenit. I'm mailing my absentee ballot in today. This year I asked for a Republican primary ballot, because it's important for me to vote for Rick Allen for U.S. Congress. So I will not have a dog in the Democrat sheriff race. But come November, I will vote for Seenit's choice, Freddie Sanders.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/20/12 - 02:15 pm
3
1
Please tell me Trooper Terry

Please tell me Trooper Terry is getting in on this one.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 07/20/12 - 02:25 pm
4
1
LLamb

Very wise choice....:)

He loves Richmond county...he will do everything in his power to make it safe for all.

Gage Creed
19372
Points
Gage Creed 07/20/12 - 03:55 pm
5
0
Just single out the

Just single out the thugs...because most thugs look like thugs....do-rags, colors, saggin' and all dat bling. (sarcasm)

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 07/20/12 - 10:30 pm
1
0
So Why Now

So why now is Richard Roundtree trying to address the problems, which include a gang, easily accessible weapons and drugs.When he was in charge of the school officers department he didn't start a program. I feel if our future was really his desire then he would have step up and did it or gotten with some of these male mentor program to make something happen.Don't say that now you are trying to run for a office, don't saying what you think people want to hear is not the answer.
There are grants he could have gotten to develope a program with law enforcement and youth for after school hours.
Strength is a joke, all these officers that work with him all still have to do what he want because at the present the is the Head. Now, I have a problem with the present sheriff he use the word "Thug" so losely. He talks like he can't say the N-word,but I can say "Thug". I feel he is so disrespectful on how so freely he used it. I can't wait until we find a new replacement. He has created a dividision among our officers. I think officers have done things that they disagree with, but you still a job even when you don't always agree.
I just want a "New Sheriff" who will lead RC in the right direction. Where we are now is at a cross road. We need to go down a better path. We have 6 people who are running and all have made mistake on things, but I feel they all want something better for RC and your vote is the key on making it happen.

Little Lamb
48859
Points
Little Lamb 07/20/12 - 11:00 pm
0
0
Okay, Lynn,

you tell us Roundtree is a johnny-come-lately who hasn't accomplished much with the many opportunities that came his way; and you tell us that Strength is a joke. So, please tell us who you plan to vote for to lead us in your "right direction," your "brighter path?"

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 07/21/12 - 11:25 am
0
0
My Choice Is Just That My Choice

My vote is just that, my vote. Having been in the area for less then 2yrs. Having seen how people of RC have aloud our so call leaders to do so much underhanded things, that now there are so many new people that are moving into the area that is calling them out. Being apart of the military life style, you come to see things on a much different light.
So What I Want:
I believe the sheriff department should be friendly and peaceful work place, a work place where individuals respect each other, a work place free of racism, sexual harassment, and violence. When there work place is free of these obstructions, then employees and taxpayers, get maximum performance and production. Keeping it this way is everyone's responsibility, but the leader must set the example. Having a sheriff who believe in being conservative with our tax dollar. To look for ways to save or stretch the tax dollar. To work in cooperation with Social Security to stop checks to inmates that are housed in the County Jail. The tax payer, should not have to pay twice. RC needs a good Sheriff / Servant he must have a character of honesty, integrity, fairness, trustworthiness, and commitment. Personal ego has no place in the life of a Sheriff / Servant.
That is what I want and is looking for in a Sheriff for Richmond County. Now, which candidates will be able to do this is the really Answer.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/21/12 - 06:17 pm
0
0
Roundtree said more then many

Roundtree said more than many may realize. By his own words, he 's telling us this election is about getting even. He's mad.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/21/12 - 06:08 pm
0
0
I do hope Freddie gets to be

I do hope Freddie gets to be Sheriff. He will do right by everyone and has a connection to the legal system.

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