AUGUSTA, GA — The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is trying to get nationally accredited, but some people say with the steroid investigation looming over the agency, the accreditation should be postponed.
Tuesday night, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies heard from the public about Sheriff Richard Roundtree and his office.
“We want to be one of the best sheriff offices in the state of Georgia and one of the best in the nation. The only way we can do that is to compare yourself against the best in the nation, the best possible standards that are practiced throughout the nation. We want to be held to those standards,” Roundtree said.
The sheriff’s office has already received state accreditation.
Brian McDuffie is one of the biggest critics of the agency.
Tuesday night, he spoke about a lot about the problems he sees with the agency.
“I look at it, even though it was negative information being brought out, I look at the meeting as being positive,” McDuffie said.
McDuffie was fired from the sheriff’s office for excessive force, but he says he is running for Sheriff in 2016 so he can change the office for the better.
“Because it’s time for people in this community to stand up and speak on behalf of what’s going on negatively by that command staff,” McDuffie said.
The former deputy and others, including Radio Talk Show Host Austin Rhodes, say the sheriff’s office should not be accredited because of the way the steroid investigation is being handled.
“They knew about the steroid issue. The issue was not a secret when I was a deputy on the sheriff’s office. And they want to speculate like it was something new, because even during Ronnie Strength’s time, it was well-known,” McDuffie said.
McDuffie and others want to know why the investigative report is still sitting on the district attorney’s desk and why accused deputies have been able to resign.
“It’s not fair to all of the deputies out there that are doing a good job. Not to say that some of the deputies that use steroids are bad guys, everybody makes mistakes, but when you as a leader do not take action on that, it’s the same as condoning it,” he said.
The final decision on the accreditation will be made in November.