AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A new team of deputies and community officers will be patrolling the streets of downtown Augusta.
"They will be eyes and ears, that will observe the criminal and suspicious activity and render aid in emergency situations downtown," said Richard Roundtree, Richmond County's Sheriff.
The new unit called the Safety Management and Response Team, or S.M.A.R.T.
"This unit will be comprised of both civilian personnel as well as certified deputies," Sheriff Roundtree said.
These officers will patrol downtown Augusta, wearing special, easily identifiable uniforms.
"If they know there's a police presence, it's a crime deterrence, if nothing else," Roundtree said.
And these special officers won't just be riding in patrol cars.
"They're going to be on foot, on bicycle and interacting with people," explained Roundtree. "This is a chance they have to actually walk up to law enforcement, have conversation with them and it decreases intimidation factor."
Something that Commissioner Alvin Mason is content with.
"The great part about it is that it's a buy-in between the sheriff's office, the community and the business owners and the other piece that it is that it did not cost any additional funds to be able to do that," Mason said.
Sheriff Roundtree said the community safety officers will not be able to make arrests but will work with the deputies part of the S.M.A.R.T. team for assistance.