Originally created 08/14/04

Area will get police substation



Concerns about rising criminal activity near Old Savannah Road have resulted in the approval of a Richmond County Sheriff's Office substation for one neighborhood.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said a substation inside an existing facility adjacent to Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 1692 Old Savannah Road, will serve as a crime deterrent.

"Without a doubt, anytime you have that visibility ... we're optimistic about it," Sheriff Strength said this week.

In recent weeks, the sheriff, Augusta Commissioners Marion Williams and Willie Mays III, acting County Administrator Fred Russell and sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver have met with a group led by resident Mattie Mitchell and Green Grove pastor the Rev. Lessel Lester.

Ms. Mitchell thanked city officials for recognizing that the escalating violence needs to be positively equalized.

"We're satisfied with their decision and know it will make a difference, especially for the elderly people here," said Ms. Mitchell, who started a public outcry in April after her son, Johnann Tyre Mitchell, 25, was wounded by a gunman about a block from the family's Twiggs Street home near Old Savannah Road.

An Easter Saturday drive-by shooting occurred next to the church as children participated in an Easter Egg hunt.

Sheriff Strength said the substation's opening depends on how soon Ms. Mitchell, the Rev. Lessel and their supporters retrofit the building with electricity, telephone service and bathroom utilities for deputies' use.

The group is responsible for associated costs, he said.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.