AUGUSTA — Richmond County will have a new top cop running the Marshal’s Office January 1st.
Ramone Lamkin won the November election over longtime Marshal Steve Smith.
Lamkin is making some big changes to how Marshals keep the community safe, which means the sheriff’s office won’t be the only agency pulling you over for breaking the rules of the road.
“This is a huge responsibility, taking care of the buildings here in Richmond County, the airport and doing the enforcement,” Lamkin said.
Lamkin says he’s excited to be taking over the Marshal’s Office next year.
The former head of the sheriff’s office traffic division says his first order on Day 1 will be for his employees to connect with citizens more.
“Definitely more visibility, meet with more of the neighborhoods, try to work with the county more to help with downtown and some of the dilapidated houses and code enforcement issues,” Lamkin said.
The Marshal’s Office is tasked with handling civil lawsuits and securing the courthouse, government buildings and the Augusta Regional Airport, but Lamkin will be giving his men more duties, including the right to turn on the blue lights.
“They didn’t do a whole lot of traffic stops and things of that nature, but I believe the more law enforcement you have and the more law enforcement action is better for the citizens of Richmond County. So if you do a violation in front of a Marshal’s Office deputy, he will be pulling you over,” Lamkin said.
The Marshal’s Office is also supposed to help keep the city clean by enforcing city ordinances for illegal dumping and littering.
Lamkin is hoping to add more to that list, including help for code enforcement officers.
“Everybody moving here with the Cyber Command and nobody wants to move into a town where they don’t feel safe and it’s not clean. We definitely want to try to attack that. Get our downtown area clean,” Lamkin said.
As for the rumors that the Marshal’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office will combine into one agency, Lamkin says that isn’t happening.
“We go in and enforce the litter problem and that’s only going to help the crime problem. We are just working together, there’s no combining the departments or anything like that, just working together to make our city better,” Lamkin said.
The 2017 budget for the Marshal’s Office was already set by the current Marshal, so Lamkin can’t make any budgetary changes.
Lamkin will be sworn in and take office on Sunday, January 1st at 2:30 p.m. in the municipal building.