News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, March 12, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Outgoing Sheriff Ronnie Strength's right-hand man announced his run for sheriff Monday. Cpt. Scott Peebles joins his former co-worker and current head of security in Richmond County Schools, Lt. Richard Roundtree, in the hunt for top cop.
"We believe that we are going to run away with this election," Peebles said.
The candidates are talking tough.
"We would not have entered this race if we didn't think we were going to win," Roundtree said.
While Peebles made his announcement with his family and friends by his side, Roundtree took to social media. Both candidates are pushing a message focused on the community.
"Well, I think that we need to be more problem solvers than just law enforcement officers," said Peebles, while pointing to the recent major undercover operations that netted guns, drugs and burglars. "I think if we can show that we can do something like that, then certainly, we can do something as simple as having officers engage the community on a one-on-one basis."
"It's quite simple," Roundtree said. "Our message is law enforcement and community ... one team and one dream."
"I have got the experience," Peebles said. "I have the trust in the community, as you see by all of the people that were here."
Peebles drew supporters like Sammy Sias with the Richmond County Neighborhood Alliance.
"I think he is the right guy for the job," Sias said. "He has been out in the neighborhood and the community."
Community activist Helen Blocker Adams is also supporting Peebles.
"People should not be looking at people because of the complexion of their skin," Helen said. "It is who has the most experience, who has the integrity, who has the backbone and who has the temperament."
Roundtree is calling this an historical election. He could become Augusta's first African-American sheriff.
"Growing up I never thought that I would be in the position to be the first African-American anything," he said. "That's a unique position. You can see that the people are excited."
Some people are crying foul after Roundtree took to Facebook declaring: "It is my intent to be the next sheriff, and you can either get on board this train or stand in front of it."
"It's not negative. The only ones who would see negative about that are the ones who are doing negative things," Roundtree said. "It's time for Augusta to move forward. We've been stagnant for a very long time ... not just within the Sheriff's Office, but some of the other political arenas in Augusta."
Strength's brother-in-law, Lt. Robbie Silas, is also considering a run. That announcement could come as early as this week. The sheriff said he will not endorse a candidate until after the July primary.