Sheriff calls inaugural ball a link between law enforcement, community

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, Jan. 4, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's going to be a late night at the Legend's Club in Augusta. Sheriff Richard Roundtree's inaugural ball is still going strong. As News 12's Christie Ethridge reports, it's to start what Sheriff Roundtree is calling a "new beginning."

"It's all about the betterment of Augusta. It's not about my office, your office or my agenda, your agenda. It's about the city's agenda," Roundtree said.

So everyone from business leaders and officials to everyday citizens donned their black ties and heels for the first big event of the year.

"It's a great mixture of people young and old, and just every aspect of Augusta is here tonight," said Richmond County Lt. Lewis Blanchard.

But the gala was about more than food and fellowship -- it's about bringing people together, and officers say they hope it starts closing the gap between law enforcement and the people of Augusta.

"We want the community and law enforcement working together, and with 250 deputies, that's 500 eyes. But, with a 150,000 citizens, that gives you 300,000 eyes watching out for each other," Blanchard explained.

"It allows the people to come out and mingle with people you may never have had a chance to talk to before, and then you raise money for a charity that goes right back to the needy people of Augusta," Roundtree said.

All the money from the silent auction and a large portion of the proceeds from the event will go to five hand-picked charities.

But the charities weren't the only lucky ones.

"Some of the deputies that really wanted to come and experience, they just really weren't able to afford it. Deputies don't make a lot of money in Richmond County. We actually had some of the corporate tables, corporate donors, they had tables of 10 and said they were going to bring six seats and would like to offer some of the extra seats to deputies that necessarily couldn't afford to come tonight," Blanchard explained.

So deputies sat with business leaders, citizens next to officers, turning Sheriff Roundtree's platform of "One team, one dream" into reality.

"Just a great night for Augusta to know that we're ready to move forward as a city together," Roundtree said smiling.

Close to 300 people crowded the rooms of the Legend's Club on Friday.

At $125 a ticket, that's nearly $38,000 those charities will seeo, plus whatever is raised at the silent auction.

Roundtree says this is an event he plans to hold every year, so if you missed it this time, you'll have another chance.

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