New uniforms, community policing and more deputies on the streets-- those are the top three ways Sergeant Michael McDaniel says the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is protecting the public downtown. Those plans are already in motion, but an overnight incident was a violent reminder.
McDaniel says, "what we had about 2:45 this morning was young lady going to her vehicle and she was approached by a male suspect."
29 year old Levon Smiley walked up to her, took her keys, dragged her out of the car and drove away. Thanks to tips from the community, they were able to arrest him quickly.
"Because the community came forward and started aiding the deputies that were on the scene, we were able to -- within a short amount of time-- identify the suspect and subsequently recover the victim's vehicle," he says.
Some residents, like Anthony Florschutz, say it's working Resident. "I think the Augusta police department is doing a good job and taking care of things."
Others say it's not enough. Summer Keepers says,"it's not even safe to drive down here. Not even to go out. It's not safe to come down here anymore."
Still, McDaniel says the most important part of the downtown initiative is community policing, and that yesterday's incident proves that the community is catching on.
"They're getting more involved in what's happening in Richmond County, they're getting more involved in what's happening with the Sheriff's Department as well as the sheriff's department is becoming more personal," he explains.
Sheriff Roundtree says that if the changes work, he could look to expanding them outside of the downtown area
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