Remembering investigator Cecil Ridley: Burke County Sheriff explains the hardships of being a narcotics investigator

CSRA News

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) — The purpose of the narcotics division is to combat the influx of illegal drugs being used, sold, and transported.

“Sending those folks out in these situations daily is tough, said Burke County Sheriff, Alfonzo Williams. “We are getting push back from the community, saying that we don’t want this behavior, we want our property values to remain good, and we want the criminal element gone.”

Sheriff Williams says most of the time, these officers are handling their cases without ever revealing the unit’s location.

“You can go from community policing or an investigatory stop to using deadly force in a matter of seconds, just seconds, and it’s all over,” explained Williams.

Sheriff Williams says there is not a lot of appreciation for narcotics officers in the communities where they are working on getting rid of criminals. Usually, they are responding to a crime that a suspect started, which puts them at a disadvantage.

“In this criminal justice system, you’re dealing with folks who are repeat defenders,” said Williams. “They’ve have been to prison before, and they don’t want to go back.”

The Burke County Sheriff says 106 officers in the United States have been killed in the line of duty this year. Nine more than last year. Williams says law enforcement needs support from lawmakers to help bridge the gap between police and the community.

“It’s hard to recruit, select, retain, and hire well-qualified folks because people don’t want to deal with the pressures of the community,” explained Williams.

Sheriff Williams told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, he did know Investigator Cecil Ridley personally. He says it hurts when a fellow officer has fallen, no matter what agency they worked.

Photojournalist: William Baker

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