Richmond County, Ga (WJBF) –A local sheriff’s office is the target of criticism. Former employees of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office tell NewsChannel 6, it is a “toxic” place to work.

On Monday, NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne contacted the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and talked to former deputies.

NewsChannel 6 has heard negative rumors circulating about the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for months, and those claims have intensified over the last few weeks. At NewsChannel 6, our goal is to bring you fact-based reporting. Getting confirmed, on the record, information that paints law enforcement in a negative light—is difficult.

Current employees do not want to be a source for the obvious reason—they want to keep their jobs. Employees who have left want to get hired by other agencies. Those who are no longer in law enforcement still need the sheriff’s office on their side for their current businesses. Even retired private citizens do not want to rock the boat because they rely on law enforcement’s protection for things like responding to their house quickly if a burglar breaks in.

On Monday, 5 sources who did not want to be named told NewsChannel 6 similar things about their former employer. They described the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office using words like “toxic,” “low morale,” “corruption,” “degrading,” “cut throat.” They also said there is a fear of retribution, demotion, or punishment for publicly confirming any of those things.

One former deputy posted on Facebook about his leaving.

We asked the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for an interview with Sheriff Richard Roundtree. They said, “The sheriff does not want to do any interviews on this at this time.”

We also sent a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the law that allows us to request public records from government agencies. We requested the number of employees who have resigned from RCSO from January 1, 2016 to the current date. We also wanted to know their ranks and the number of years they worked there. Next, we asked for the number positions open now that RCSO is trying to fill.

Also, in order to get some context, we asked for the same information from the sheriff’s offices in Burke, Columbia and Aiken counties. This will allow us to compare the numbers at RCSO with other agencies in the area.

We will share the results of this request as soon as we get them.

We will also continue asking questions and bringing you the answers. The information we are getting from former deputies has an impact on your safety, your family’s safety, your kid’s safety.

We also want to know what you think. If you disagree with the claims listed above and you had a positive experience working for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office—we want to know. If you had negative experiences similar to the ones we shared—we also want to know!Contact NewsChannel 6 reporter Ashley Osborne: