Thursday, August 21st, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Richmond County Sheriff is trying to build more bridges with the community.
With a huge crowd turning out to take advantage of a free lunch, the bottom line is to build trust and curb crime.
Deputies and the sheriff were out at the common today giving out hamburgers and shakes and taking questions. Dr. Christine Greene has plenty of questions following the death of her son.
Questions will be answered about my son and they're helping me all that they could.
She took the opportunity to speak face to face with the department investigating her son's death.
"You can't sit behind a desk and investigate. You have to get out and meet the public. You have to know the public," said Greene.
Deputies say events like this break down barriers and show the public they're real people too. It's something the sheriff's been doing since he was elected, going out and putting in face time with kids. Since they started community policing last year crime rates are down.
"When deputies and other law enforcement professionals are able to work with the community at almost at a level of friendship, and being able to do something good. I think nothing but good can come from it," said Thomas Shuman.
Events in Ferguson have sparked a national debate of police versus the community. Something the Richmond County Sheriff's Office wants to address now.
Deputies hope lines like this will open up lines of communication between the community and police so something like Ferguson won't happen here
Sheriff Roundtree said he wants the community to be comfortable with his deputies.
"So, in case you do have something that comes up they know they have police officers they can trust and that they know they're going to do the right thing," said Sheriff Roundtree.
While they train for civil unrest they also hope people come to them with concerns before things get out of hand.
"I would never second guess any police agent how they would respond to civil unrest and in incidents we're having now we want it to never get to that point," said Sheriff Roundtree.