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New Richmond Co. Police Just "People"

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Augusta, GA - Richmond County Sheriff’s Office can now reach beyond the ranks of sworn officers for help fighting crime.

There will be eleven more people helping to police communities throughout the county.  The Citizens Police Academy graduates said they had no idea how much work and risks went into law enforcement.

Isaac W. McKinney said he decided to check out the program after his Commissioner told him about it.

“We know that they protect and serve, but the average citizen has no idea all the other aspects of what they’re involved in and what they’re asked to do,” McKinney said.

The next crop of people who will help maintain law and order in Richmond County aren’t sworn officers, just normal citizens willing to go the extra mile just like Ralph Lee Sr. sees from Sheriff’s Deputies every day.

“Split decisions that have to be made and a lot of us civilians don’t understand that, but going through that 12 week course I understand that better,” Lee Sr. said.

After a few hours a week in Internal Affairs, Juvenile Detention and learning the difference between pepper spray and Taser use, the third class of Sheriff’s Roundtree’s brainchild program is well on its way to help improve the county.

“When things happen we do a lot of knee jerking because we don’t have all of the information.  Usually, we only hear one side of the story and in my subdivision and in my community I will hopefully be a liaison for the sheriff’s department,” McKinney said.

Working with the sheriff’s office is exactly how Sgt. Mike Gilliland said the program should work.

“They’re going to be the basic eyes and the ears of the citizens of Richmond County.  They’re going to be able to go back to the Sheriff and express the concerns that they have,” said Sgt. Gilliland.

Lee said he is ready to go back into his subdivision and get to work.

“If you see someone walking around the neighborhood that shouldn’t be there, call the Sheriff’s office.  It’s better to get those people checked out.  If you see a box or suitcase or anything, you never know what’s in there these days,” he said.

Some of the graduates say deputies are severely underpaid for the work they do putting their lives on the line daily and they’re hoping that changes soon.

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