Richmond County's minority community is facing its most important political race since consolidation. We ought to be asking the candidates for sheriff some important questions about the kind of department they are going to establish. Don't you agree that we need answers to the following questions?
Will there be a true and effective Citizen Review Board?
Will there be an effective chain of command that includes minorities?
Will there be equal opportunity for promotion at every level?
Will there be equal pay for position, job and experience?
Why does it appear that minority deputies work in the jail and whites on the road?
Why does it appear that racial profiling is the order of the day?
There is no need to elect a new sheriff who is going to continue the same old policies we have witnessed since consolidation. As a private citizen on the outside looking in, I believe the level of police brutality is too high.
The shooting of an unarmed man in Apple Valley a few years ago and the terrorizing of Mrs. Juanita Walker, 66, in July of this year, are two examples. It appears to me that the officers under Sheriff Charles Webster and (former) Chief Deputy Ronnie Strength are rude, unprofessional thugs who violate the dignity of African-Americans with impunity.
I am convinced that even though our consolidated government operates the second largest city in Georgia, our law enforcement operates on white favoritism and the "good ol' boy" system.
It is my understanding that when Mr. Strength was chief deputy he was in charge of our present system ... Therefore, I personally hold him responsible for the law enforcement policies (or lack thereof) under Sheriff Webster.
Now we need to ask ourselves what kind of administration would candidate Leon Garvin set up if he is elected sheriff?
Otis A. Smith, Augusta