No one should be surprised, then, that a shakeup has already started at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, which will be installing its first African-American sheriff in the county’s history at the end of the month.
Sheriff-elect Richard Roundtree promises no firings, but naturally is bringing in his own team – including, as chief deputy, Patrick Clayton, outgoing chief of safety and security for Richmond County public schools. We happen to know Clayton, a former federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent. He will be a good addition to the sheriff’s department.
Roundtree also will demote 35-year department veteran Col. Gary Powell to captain, a loss of about $20,000 a year.
To his undying credit, Powell – longtime sheriff Ronnie Strength’s right-hand man and a walking institution in Richmond County law enforcement – took the demotion in stride, saying he knew his was a political appointment.
It’s sad to see Powell’s demotion, but he’s right: The new sheriff has not only the right but the duty to surround himself with a team that is his own.
We wish the entire department well in this time of transition.