AUGUSTA, GA - On the steps of the Judge John Ruffin Courthouse, in front of dozens of people, Chief Judge Calisle Overstreet administered the Oath of Office to Richard Roundtree. As the transition of law enforcement power changes in Augusta, history is being made in the city. Roundtree is now the city's first African-American Sheriff. But he, along with other city leaders, say that color has nothing to do with this.
"It's doing the right thing for the people. I told people throughout this entire campaign, even through the negative stuff, that this campaign is not about me. It's about what we can do for this city, and what we can do together," Roundtree said.
On Tuesday, commissioners voted to name the new Richmond County Sheriff Office (RCSO) building in honor of outgoing Sheriff Ronnie Strength, but some think it's a little too soon.
"The timing was definitely wrong," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
He voted against naming the building, saying he agrees with the choice just not the timing.
"If we would just have waited until the next meeting, which would be in the year 2013, he would be out of office, and then I would have supported it, and I'm quite sure my other nine colleagues would have supported it also," he said.
"We knew that was probably something that was going to be in the works; I was surprised that it came that soon," said Richard Roundtree.
Strength says he's humbled, but he feels that a lot of other people deserve the honor over him.
Deputy J.D. Paugh RCSO Building? Too late
On Sunday, October 23rd, 2011, at approximately 0118 hours, Deputy (J.D.) James D. Paugh lost his life while investigating a suspicious vehicle that was parked off the side of the road in a grassy area at the intersection of I-520 and Gordon Hwy.
Paugh, a 17-year-veteran of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, was riding his traffic enforcement motorcycle home from a special detail at the Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds when he noticed Christopher Hodges’ Cadillac pulled over on the side of the road.
Paugh passed the Cadillac and turned around after seeing something suspicious; he didn’t have time to put the kickstand down on his motorcycle before shots were fired at him. The deputy fired his gun three times before it was disabled by a bullet from Hodges’ rifle.
Investigators say that Hodges was drunk and arguing with his girlfriend and that some of the 42 rounds fired from his M4 assault rifle were at passing cars.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver and outgoing Sheriff Strength had nothing to say today at the swearing in of sheriff Roundtree. They were not there.