AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — A few days before families will come together to celebrate Thanksgiving; loved ones, local law enforcement, and the community are all paying their final respects to Investigator Cecil Ridley.
“I’ll miss you brother,” said Willie Saunders.
Investigator Ridley worked for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for 17 years before he was killed in the line of duty in a shoot out. Saunders says Ridley made his job easier when he was a prosecutor.
“They were tense,” explained Saunders. “Victims involved, as well as the community and, he could find a way to make things light to take the pressure off the moment. I appreciated that.”
Saunders says he was shocked when he got the news of his fallen colleague. He believes incidents like these make it tough for initiatives that law enforcement agencies are trying to implement.
“I’m sure that the sheriff’s office, DEA’s Office, and other agencies that do this daily have those glimmers of hope,” said Saunders. “Then, when something like this happens, it’s like a gut punch.”
Saunders describes Investigator Ridley as the type of person who did things to help the community, especially young men.
“They’re out there at two in the morning to find the witness that I can’t find to make my case,” explained Saunders. “If that doesn’t move the needle, then I don’t know what will.”
He says he is sad that another life has been cut short to due gun violence.
“It’s just not the gun, it’s the person, and we have to do a better job as a community in appreciating life,” said Saunders.
Investigator Ridley’s funeral will take place at Warren Baptist Church on Tuesday at 11 AM. People in the community and law enforcement lined the prosession with more than 1,000 American Flags for Investigator Ridley’s last journey.
Photojournalist; Will Baker