By Deon Guillory, WJBF GMA Weekend Anchor/Reporter - email
Augusta, GA -
There's a new plan to keep Richmond County streets safe.
The Sheriff's office is restructuring the way deputies patrol your neighborhood.
This new approach is called the zone patrol.
The county is now split up into eight zones, each with its own lieutenants, team leaders and deputies and it won't cost
This new approach will not cost tax payers any extra money.
Prepare to start seeing a different type of patrol in your neighborhood.
The Richmond County Sheriff's office is restructuring the way its deputies police the county.
Going away from the traditional police beats to what are now called zones.
"I think that's good, just as long as the police know that you can't confuse the regular citizens with criminals," said Shelly-Ann Grigg who lives in Harrisburg, one of the sheriff's office's top priority zones.
There are 8 of them.
Each zone will have its own lieutenants, team leaders and deputies responsible for that area.
"I think it's wonderful," said Butch Palmer, who owns a salon in the Harrisburg community.
The way this restructuring will work in neighborhoods or zones is more of a business, corporate approach. Take a restaurant for example, during a lunch rush, you'll have more servers on the floor because that's a peak time, but after that, there are fewer servers needed. Well, it's the same way with the sheriff's office, during those peak times, you'll see more patrols. Outside of those peak times, there will be fewer cars on the streets.
"We can re-divert our resources where they are most needed. Be the time of day, time of year and things of that nature versus the same people working all the time," said Lt. Lewis Blanchard with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
He explains the sheriff's office is emulated a similar approach in nearby cities like Charleston, Savannah and Atlanta.
Blanchard explains this new approach won't cost tax payers more because deputies are just being moved around.
A new plan Grigg is hesitant about, but optimistic.
"It'll work. It'll work. It'll work," said Grigg.
The need for more or fewer deputies in an area will be evaluated once a month and then after a couple of months, it will be reviewed every 90 days.