Sheriff Roundtree: Giving Back initiative making progress - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Sheriff Roundtree: Giving Back initiative making progress

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announces GIVING BACK program (WFXG) Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announces GIVING BACK program (WFXG)
RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) -

There have been several shootings in Augusta over the past two months. The Richmond County Sheriff office launched a "G.I.V.I.N.G  B.A.C.K" program in May hoping to curb crime. It stands for Gun Involved Violence Initiative Negating Generational Blight And Criminal Kinship. It is an effort to target specific individuals before they commit future crimes.

Last year, over twenty people died in Richmond County from gunshot wounds, and so far there have been fourteen deaths this year.

This initiative is an effort to lower the number of gun violence in the county. Earlier this year, the Sheriff's office identified three-hundred folks who are at risk of being a victim or perpetrator of violent crimes. The individuals was determined through criminal history and referrals. The Sheriff's office is sending out invitations to them in stages, starting with the first hundred who are considered "extremely high risk." Twenty-nine invitations have already been sent out and twenty-four people have responded back positively to participate in the program. 
 

Sheriff Richard Roundtree hopes this will encourage people to turn their lives around by providing resources like education, jobs, and childcare for families.

"Society has to see that children emulate what they see and how they are brought up. And that's why when we offer services, we offer them to the whole family-that way it becomes generational. That's why we have to understand that we do not excuse it, but we cannot just go in and say we are going to disband these kids and put them away because of something they have done. This is something they have grown up knowing; to some, it is normal to them. We have to show them it is not normal and this is not the way its supposed to be." He also says that enforcement is showing they are there to help before a crime takes place. 

The public had concerns that many would refuse the offer due to fear of incriminating themselves when the initiative was first introduced, but Sheriff Roundtree says the program is not about enforcement.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office will not arrest an individual unless they continue criminal activity. This promise comes with the hope that they can turn lives around by helping those who are at high risk of committing or falling victim to gun violence.

As for those who refuse the invitation, Sheriff Roundtree has a warning: "If you are going to continue your lifestyle and it comes to the fact that you broke the law and continue criminal activity, then yes, absolutely we will be an enforcement tool against you because we have offered you these services...but we are going to be first."

The G.I.V.I.N.G  B.A.C.K  initiative is one of several programs the department has offered in the past, including two "Fresh Start"  initiatives, which gave folks a chance to clear warrants dating back ten to fifteen years.

Individuals who want to be apart of the program are encouraged to contact the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2018 WFXG. All rights reserved.

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