Deputy shortage hurts DUI Task Force

  • Follow Metro

A shortage of sheriff's deputies has hit the Richmond County DUI Task Force hard and the proof is in the numbers.

In 2007, the task force made almost 300 fewer arrests compared to the previous year. The number of accidents with injuries involving DUIs increased by 69 in the same period, according to Sgt. Pete Lamb, the task force supervisor.

Pay and benefits are better elsewhere, he said, citing two deputies who said they took other jobs because of better retirement packages.

He also cites the example of former Deputy Albert Parrish, " a rising star" who appeared on track for promotion. But he left for a security job at Plant Vogtle, the nuclear power facility in Burke County.

"Pay and benefits is what did it," said Sgt. Lamb. "He loved coming to work, but loving what you do doesn't pay the bills and it doesn't look out for your future.

Right now, the task force, which is allotted eight cars, is operating with five. Losing any deputy, especially one such as Deputy Parrish, who won a 2007 Mothers Against Drunk Driving award for having more than 150 DUI arrests, hurts the unit, Sgt. Lamb said.

And new officers are increasingly hard to come by.

The task force draws its deputies from the road patrol, which is dealing with shortages of its own. Sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver said he is down about 28 deputies. The market for security jobs is hot and with agencies offering better benefits, it's hard to keep people on the road, he said.

"After so many years you want to be able to retire with a decent amount so you can live comfortable and so many other places are offering better retirements," he said.

An appeal this month to ask Augusta's legislative delegation for help never got off the ground.

With about 48 fewer deputies than they need, Col. Gary Powell said the department is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"There isn't much you can do," Col. Powell said. "Everywhere we go we get shot down."

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

DUI INCIDENTS


2006: 1,810 cases; 8 DUI fatalities; 129 accidents with injuries


2007: 1,511 cases; 7 DUI fatalities; 196 accidents with injuries

Source: Richmond County State Court Solicitor Harold Jones

Comments (65) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 03/25/08 - 02:25 am
0
0
And the truth is worse than

And the truth is worse than this. You're getting the government services that you are willing to pay for, Richmond County.

nonumberplease
0
Points
nonumberplease 03/25/08 - 03:06 am
0
0
with taxes being so high in

with taxes being so high in this county, you would think the commissioners would want to protect the ones paying taxes.
I guess going to some dumas meeting in Vegas or Hiwaii is
money better spent! Go figure.

ross
0
Points
ross 03/25/08 - 03:09 am
0
0
You can't fight a bear with a

You can't fight a bear with a toothpick!! We have got to get Ronnie Strenght the money to operate Augusta's needs. It's more than DUIs......it's CRIME (gangs,rapes,assaults etc....).I will be happy to pay an extra sales tax to help keep quality officers in Augusta safe.

WhiskyDick
0
Points
WhiskyDick 03/25/08 - 03:34 am
0
0
Just another benefit of

Just another benefit of having government housing in your city. People who pay no taxes, requiring a disproportionate level of services (fire/medical/police), occupying land that could be owned by private citizens who pay into the kitty.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 03/25/08 - 04:11 am
0
0
Put monies into something

Put monies into something worthwhile in the county like a policeman's salary. It is little wonder why the police department is shorthanded. Who would want to work in a community that pays commissioners and others huge salaries and throw the leftovers to the very people who are out there sworn to protect and serve. The police department, for as long as I can remember, has never been adequately funded to pay people to put themselves in harms way every single day. Is it little wonder that there is an extreme shortage of police?

Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 03/25/08 - 05:16 am
0
0
Interesting that businesses

Interesting that businesses in the CSRA are putting their money into private security. Interesting that once again capitalism steps up to the plate even in law enforcement.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/25/08 - 05:50 am
0
0
When you invest most of your

When you invest most of your tax money in streets and parks, you have a beautiful town. When you invest most of your money in law enforcement, you have a safe, orderly town. When you invest most of your tax money in social services, helping those that WON'T help themselves as well as those that can't, you get the current situation in Augusta. A city full of government projects, section 8 housing and an understaffed, underpaid police department. Maybe we need to reexamine where we invest our tax money.

nightcop
0
Points
nightcop 03/25/08 - 06:25 am
0
0
rcso is a crappy place to

rcso is a crappy place to work. $ and benefits are 1 of the many issues that are driving people away. rcso needs a total overhaul starting at the top.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 03/25/08 - 06:31 am
0
0
And if you pay officers more

And if you pay officers more then every other person in the county will "want their's". So it will NEVER happen. Until there is some separation between the departments and the jobs they hold. This will continue. When the sheriff asks for more then the firefighters want more and then the parks people want more and so on. Until someone stands up and says NO to the others. No one will listen.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 03/25/08 - 06:32 am
0
0
But hey, We have the best

But hey, We have the best city in the world come Masters week, right!?

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 03/25/08 - 06:34 am
0
0
Sad part is, Richmond County

Sad part is, Richmond County is about the easiest police forces in the country to get hired onto. They do not require a lot of education, they don't have an "entrance" exam, they don't do strict mental evaluations and yet they still are shorthanded. Just sad.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 03/25/08 - 06:37 am
0
0
That too, nightcop, that too.

That too, nightcop, that too. Maybe an outside audit is needed here too. I wonder what is spent each year on up keep of the uniforms. They must be more than normal because they are not of standard type. Plus I know they wear out faster than normal.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11294
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/25/08 - 06:40 am
0
0
Get ready for more of the

Get ready for more of the same people, as industry grows in the area, and it will, good people will become scarce without becoming equal to the pay and benefits that private industry can provide.

wmfuwb
0
Points
wmfuwb 03/25/08 - 06:50 am
0
0
Maybe if the commissioners

Maybe if the commissioners cut out some of their perks (free gas, cell phones, credit cards, etc., etc.,.................. and cut back on many of the "social programs", there would be money for more fire and police personnel! It starts with the people responsible for spending your tax money!!!!!

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 03/25/08 - 06:57 am
0
0
It appears that the situation

It appears that the situation in Richmond County is unwinable. I feal that it is time that we pull out our officers and let the citizens handle their own county. Our brave men and women have done all they can and there appears to be no exit strategy in Richmond County.
Perhaps its time to build a fence.

nightcop
0
Points
nightcop 03/25/08 - 07:15 am
0
0
it's funny though...rcso

it's funny though...rcso whines about being shorthanded, but they have given out several unnecessary promotions in the last year. they have so many Sgt.'s and Lt.'s that do nothing at all it is sickening. they do not have a true SOP which affects everything that they do. each shift does things different. that's why people are told one thing by one deputy and something else by another. that place sucks and i will never go back there.

oh and let's not even discuss how worthless the dispatchers are. they are not under the direction of the SO anymore, but something could be done about them. what a bunch of idiots they are!!

dani
13
Points
dani 03/25/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
And all of this with the

And all of this with the officer's hands tied behind his back. Even a minor traffic stop can lead to suspension, firing, his integrity questioned, all from charges by those who have no respect for law-enforcement and are lying in wait for the next chance to attack.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 03/25/08 - 07:27 am
0
0
But hey they weeded out those

But hey they weeded out those sorry officers with public myspace pages didn't they!

Inkjet
2
Points
Inkjet 03/25/08 - 07:28 am
0
0
There is so much corruption

There is so much corruption in Augusta's government it is unreal! And just look at the idiots who just sit in a position and won't do a dadgum thing to help Augusta and just want to say they have that position and power and just collect a paycheck! If we weren't all so consumed with having to work two and three jobs to provide for our families, I do believe more people would pay closer attention and revolt.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 03/25/08 - 07:32 am
0
0
AugustaVoter the only way

AugustaVoter the only way around everyone else holding out their hands for greater salaries is to simply say NO...Police and firefighters put their lives on the line everyday....Very seldom do you read of a parks person having to deal with such deadly issues....

tombee
35
Points
tombee 03/25/08 - 07:32 am
0
0
The primary function of

The primary function of government is preserving law and order. Not education, not roads, not social programs, not health care, not recreation, etc. It is time Richmond County and other counties too invest in protecting the law-abiding citizenry and pay these men and women in the justice system what they need and deserve.

Inkjet
2
Points
Inkjet 03/25/08 - 07:38 am
0
0
And don't get me started on

And don't get me started on DUIs, they're SCUM! They murder and disrupt people's lives and get away with a slap on the wrist, but commit a minor offense in good ole Georgia and they throw the book at you! I witnessed this in RC traffic court one day, all the DUI cases go first, and you get to hear their details; they all got slapped on the wrist and pushed out the door to kill, mame and disrupt more lives. Meanwhile, just as someone with a traffic ticket is witnessing all that, you start to think you are in for just a slap on the wrist, but when it's your turn, you end up feeling like you just got hit by some DUI driver when it's all through because you had to pay more and got more probation, etc. than the DUI drivers did!

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 03/25/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
AS someone said put a fence

AS someone said put a fence around it. I say put it around all the projects and keep those troublemakers all boxed in. If you cut out all the social programs then these type people leave and go to where they are or they got off their butts and work. There is such a shortage of people to fill the lower paying jobs.

willietrunk
0
Points
willietrunk 03/25/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
Charles Walker always said

Charles Walker always said that more funds needed to be pushed to the city's law enforcement. This was the only sure way to cut crime and attract more business. Even though he was a shark and may have taken his share, Augusta as a whole was triving when he was behind the seen; Cancer centers, home growths, downtown funds, educational centers. Now what! We here in Valdosta are smart enough not to shoot down those who bring money to the area, even if they take their share.

GAlawyer
0
Points
GAlawyer 03/25/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
INkjet you are a either a

INkjet you are a either a liar or someone who does not may much attention. If you were in fact in traffic court you would not spoout such nonsense The sad part is someone might believe you. I used to be a prosecutor in state court. The minimum fine for a first DUI is over six hundred dollars. We dont have many speeding offenses over that amount unless you have about six or seven in the last five years and you were in a construction zone. Also, DUI offenders have to pay for a DUI class which is usually about two hundred dollars and they have to pay to get their license reinstated after the six month suspension. The fines go up with every subsequent offense and jail time is included in all of them. I am not defending people who drive drunk but I am defending our prosecutors and judges in state court. A judge can only sentence a person up to what the law allows. So complain to your state representatives if you want to change. If you got more probation than a DUI driver you must have had numerous charges including a suspended license and no insurance. If that is the case, you dont need to be on the road either.

willietrunk
0
Points
willietrunk 03/25/08 - 09:09 am
0
0
Yeah, but why would a repeat

Yeah, but why would a repeat offender of those charges, receive more probation than one convict4d of a DUI. We all know that it is at the Judge's discretion to punish how they see fit, within the statues. Good try GAlawyer!

willietrunk
0
Points
willietrunk 03/25/08 - 09:10 am
0
0
Yeah, but why would a repeat

Yeah, but why would a repeat offender of those charges, receive more probation than one convict4d of a DUI. We all know that it is at the Judge's discretion to punish how they see fit, within the statues. Good try GAlawyer!

Inkjet
2
Points
Inkjet 03/25/08 - 09:20 am
0
0
GAlawyer, I never said I was

GAlawyer, I never said I was the one with a traffic ticket, so you are the one not paying very good attention. DUIs are a menace to society, and the very fact that you claim to have been a prosecutor, you had the power to do the very thing you want an ordinary citizen to do, yet you did NOTHING to change the law yourself. Perhaps you just were in that job for a paycheck. I know exactly what it was I saw in traffic court that day, and NO ONE with a DUI offense got jail time, long probation or "DUI classes". Most importantly, no one got their driver's license revoked - driving is a privilege NOT a right. So the only real sad thing is is that you, as a prosecutor, helped contribute to the menace of society by not working to change the law, and you were not a good custodian of the law.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/25/08 - 09:51 am
0
0
GALawyer, that was rude! and

GALawyer, that was rude! and wrong!! LOL And Who cares about the measly fines??????? Why are these people not pulling time?? especially these repeat offenders.. and lets not forget the 5 driving under suspicion thingys or w/e it is when they cant prove you were drunk or maybe it wasnt alch. Some lawyers pride themselves on getting drunk drivers off.... have you been wrongly accused of drunk driving that many times??? and those dont even come into play in court when the [filtered word] kills someone drunk!!! Now the prosecuters hands may be tied... and the laws limit sentencing more than they should, but I see people with 5 dui's never did more than 6 months in jail.. 30 days for this, 30 for next, 180 for next with almost all suspended. I have a friend who has 11 total about a 10 year span over 3 states.. spent approx 2 years in jail on like#8 and never went back for the rest. Cost him a lot of money, but he had it. Why does this not outrage judges and lawyers to fight to get laws changed? why when they can impose more sentence do they not? over and over. Makes everyone think its all about the money!!!!!!!!!! And they all sleep just fine when with 6thdui they finally kill a child!!!! Suspending the license is nothing to these people they still drive and drink and drive. They need jail time. If you get 3 or more duis.. you dont deserve to be free, you cant stop driving and drinking whether you have a license fine or not.. so you should be locked up for a long long time.. and the [filtered word] I know should never be let out!!!!! I'm just glad he moved back to NC!!! If you can afford the fines to stay out of jail.. there is absolutely no deterrance for drunk driving to someone whos so self absorbed he puts his fun before everyone elses life!! Its all about the money!!!!!!!! Repeat business right?????

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/25/08 - 10:01 am
0
0
Please people.... Here it is

Please people.... Here it is in black and white ....Our officers and fellow citizens, especially our own families needs our help. We need to work together!!! If you see a drunk driver, please please please call it in. Now everyone should already be doing this just to protect our own families all the time, not just now. But some people just havent really paid much attention or dont want to take time to get involved. And yes the sorry [filtered word] lawyers and judges dont sentence them correctly, but the more we can get n thier record by having them caught, is one step closer to having them locked up!!!!!! I have reported and followed, at a safe distance, many drunk drivers, and seen some crash before officers made it to them. One guy had his 2 year old with him when he slammed into the pole!!! Yes the child is ok physically, but with parents like that I don't know for how long. Yes mom was in the truck too!!! It shouldn't still suprise me to see how horrible these lowlifes can be, but it does.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs