Sheriff Roundtree wants to put a priority on getting the best possible training for deputies, and he says that will start from the top. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- More training is on the way for Richmond County deputies. The first round began Tuesday.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree says he wants to put a priority on getting the best possible training for deputies and that will start from the top.
Bill Westfall, president of the Gallagher-Westfall Group, is spending his week in Augusta with RCSO deputies.
"You've got to embrace change. You've got to look at things -- see if we can use it, if we can't, discard it and move on as quickly as possible," Westfall said.
That's just a piece of the message he passed along to leaders in the Richmond County Sheriff's Office this week.
Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton says, "In order to have a great agency, we've got to have good leaders."
And he says the first step to effective crime fighting in the field is training, which deputies can expect a lot more of as the agency works toward accreditation.
"The sheriff and I are big advocates of training in all forms," he said.
But this four-day training is about more than just learning about new leadership strategies, he says. It's about changing the culture of the Sheriff's Office, starting at the top with leadership.
"We're going through a culture change because we're a new administration now after it's been run a certain way for 28 years. They have to have that training to reinforce the change to change the culture of the agency," Clayton said.
The big shift in the Sheriff's Office has been the push toward community policing, a policy that leadership trainer Westfall says is the best way to get the results you want.
"Great cops have always been community based. I was a state trooper in Alaska and my backup was 160 miles away, and I learned very early my backup was my public," Westfall said.