Richard Roundtree, newly-elected sheriff in Richmond County. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 11o'clock / Monday, Nov. 26, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- They know it won't be easy. They're even expecting some resistance. But they're hoping through the transition, people will look at the bigger picture.
"The big picture is to reduce crime and to make everybody in Richmond County feel safer," said newly-appointed Deputy Chief Patrick Clayton.
But after more than 11 years with the same sheriff and more than 20 years with the same chief deputy, he knows change will not come easy.
"We do anticipate some resistance initially, but I think pretty quickly people will buy into the changes that we're implementing and we'll move forward," Chief Clayton said.
Sheriff -Elect Richard Roundtree says he hopes the positive attitude about moving forward starts within the Sheriff's Office.
"We want the deputies to buy into my philosophy that, you know, we're going to be community-oriented. We're going to be service-oriented. We're going to be problem-solvers for the community, and once we get the office into it, I think the citizens are going to get involved into it, and it's just going to be a domino effect," he said.
He says establishing community policing is one of the biggest changes he hopes to make, but Chief Clayton says with that philosophy, it might seem to get worse before gets better.
"Most of the places that have come up with community policing philosophies and community oriented policing, one of the things they find is crime rises initially because of the fact that many crimes go unreported," he said.
Community policing isn't the only big idea these two have.
"We're going to have Reserve Deputy programs, we're going to have a Citizens Volunteer Bureau, which citizens can go through a citizen's Police Academy. We'll have one for a citizens' Emergency Response Team. We're going to start an explorer program," Roundtree said.
They say doing all that is going to take everyone's support.
"We are not the smartest people in the room, but I guarantee you if we use the 755 men and women at the Sheriff's Department over there, we can come up with the right answers," Clayton said.
If you haven't seen Roundtree around lately, that's because he's in Forsyth in sheriff-elect school. He says that's why he wanted to go ahead and appoint Clayton so they could get to work.
News 12 asked if Cpt. Scott Peebles was considered for the position.
All Roundtree would say was that wouldn't be part of our conversation.
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