News 12 at 11/Friday, August 2, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- "You can't tell us apart from any other deputy," reserve deputy Barry Davis said.
It's his first time putting on a uniform in twelve years. Tonight Barry Davis is making his second debut as a deputy at Augusta's First Friday.
"The point of the reserve deputy is that you're not supposed to be able to tell them apart. You may see them because they might be smiling a lot more than everybody else because they're out here volunteering and they're actually enjoying themselves," Sheriff Richard Roundtree smiled.
"I'm doing this because it's something I love to do," Davis said.
Reserve deputies are certified police officers who volunteer to serve their communities and help departments like Richmond County when they're low on manpower.
"With the recent cuts we don't have enough manpower to work the beats and be down here, so we are filling in the gaps where there may be a lack of patrol," Davis explained.
"We've made a commitment we're going to try to make downtown safer. This is just one part of the program to expand the safety of downtown," Roundtree said.
So far there are 10 reserve deputies in the program. Six are patrolling First Friday tonight. Roundtree says that's six deputies he didn't have to pull from other posts, or pay overtime, and six more reasons you should feel safer walking around downtown.
Davis used to work for Richmond County. He worked everything from SWAT to Narcotics. Now as a volunteer, he doesn't get paid, but he does get a gun, and after some re-training, he gets back the family he used to work for years ago.
"This gives me an opportunity to come back and to contribute to a department that did so much for me," he said.
"Most people in law enforcment, it's not about dollars and cents. It's about being a part of a family and being able to serve your community," Roundtree said.
It's a program expanding the force and the safety of Richmond County.
Sheriff Roundtree says these guys were ready to start serving about a month ago but had to wait until Commission approved insurance coverage for all of them. The most recent commission meeting did that, so now as these deputies hit the streets, they're covered in the line of danger as well.
The program lets all the other deputies stay on their beats while First Friday gets some extra attention tonight. The Sheriff says this is just the beginning. He's hoping to expand the program with a lot more reserves by this time next year.