January 12, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Maybe you don't know about the Major Case Squad...but they're always on call, helping keep you and your family safe.
The major case right now is that of the Summerville rapist, still on the loose.
He attacked and raped a woman in the Summerville area, right on Walton Way, after she got home from an early morning walk with her dog.
While lots of deputies are looking for him, there are still the normal crimes to deal with. Armed robberies, for example, which are up significantly in the new year.
There have been six in the twelve days we've had so far in 2007.
So how do you keep from stretching everyone too thin?
That's where the Major Case Squad comes in...
They helped Richmond County solve more than 90 percent of Augusta's homicides in 2006, and now they are putting their skills to work to get a rapist off our streets.
"We would not have been able to follow up and eliminate the leads we've actually eliminated so far if we had not been able to call on these guys to come in and work this case," Lt. Scott Peebles told News 12.
Haven't heard of them? Well, maybe you've heard of their work. The ten investigators who make up this voluntary squad helped to solve all but two homicides in Richmond County in 2006, their first year of service.
"We think it's probably been the driving force in the solvability of the homicides that we worked in 2006," Lt. Peebles said.
The Major Case Squad is on call 24 hours a day, every day, should a major case develop.
"They are called in on a moment's notice," Lt. Peebles said. "They don't know when the pager is going to go off. If they're in the middle of birthdays, or family outings, they have to stop what they are doing and come in."
Working overtime, around the clock...it's a job that comes with great sacrifice. Just ask Paul Godden, the Major Case Squad leader.
"It's tough," he told News 12. "It's no day in the park. It's a lot of stress on you and a lot of stress on your family."
And these men do it all for no extra pay.
"That's what's demanded of you," Lt. Peebles said. "I think that's a great show of dedication."
Dedication for a community that depends on them to keep our streets and our families safe.
"The rewarding part I think is, at the end of the day, is closing out the cases fairly rapidly so the community doesn't have to see these things drag on," Inv. Godden said.
That's what they are hoping for now. All ten are working to catch the Summerville rapist.
Lt. Peebles says the squad was the brainchild of teamwork. Other cities or states may have a similar program, but he says our squad is unique because they do it all for no financial compensation.