News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There's a new sheriff in town, and along with his new position comes a new tradition. On Friday night, Sheriff Richard Roundtree is hosting the city's first annual sheriff's inaugural ball, which he plans to make a yearly event.
"It's going to be a good turnout, a lot of people are excited," he said.
They're expecting 300 people at the black tie event, and we just had to ask the sheriff what his attire would be: classic or flashy?
"I think I'm going classic tonight," he laughed.
And it's a valid question since the sheriff has turned heads before, rolling up to make his announcement to run for sheriff in a stretch limo and wearing a baby blue suit for his swearing in.
Willie Davis Jr. has lived in Augusta more than 30 years, and he says, "I think he's going to make a really great sheriff, but right now, I think he really needs to back up and think a little bit before he starts doing things."
Some in the community argue the pricey tickets for the inaugural ball alienate the people who put him in office.
"The average person, or citizen, that I know, can't afford $150 or $250 ticket," Davis said.
Roundtree responded, saying, "We're not going to alienate anyone at all. 49,000 people put me in office, and you're not going to be able to accommodate everybody at every event."
He says the gala is just one event that comes with a price tag, but he plans to have several others throughout the year for free.
"Like when I did my swearing in, you know, we had over 500 people come there for a free luncheon," he pointed out.
"That was good enough," Davis said. "All the citizens could afford to come there and eat and everything, rather than have this private party type thing. It just makes him look real bad and stuff."
But others say it makes sense to have different events to cater to different groups.
"You can imagine a six-figure person coming into the hood for a barbecue? Come on, let's keep it real," said Bundy Amos.
"I think he gonna be a great sheriff, but Mr. Roundtree needs to know who put him in office," Davis said.