“Anything else you may have heard has been exaggerated… but of course the media doesn’t do that…”
That quotation comes to you courtesy of Sheriff Roundtree. It was in response to a query by Austin Rhodes concerning the fact that he had been told by numerous officers they could no longer talk to him. When Rhodes asked if it was true, that officers’ cell phone records would be reviewed to find leaks to media, Roundtree responded that he had better things to do, but added that it would be allowed.
Assembled around the conference table in the new Law Enforcement Center, representatives from most media outlets in Augusta were informed of the administration’s new policy concerning media relations. There are now three public information officers on staff. Any information from the department must come from those three individuals. His officers are no longer allowed to speak to the press. Period.
Information will be released to everyone at the same time “to be fair.” When asked how accessible he would be personally, Roundtree reported he will remain as accessible as he always has been. “I was the most accessible candidate in the race,” he said.
(Side note: he never returned any calls from the Metro Spirit, nor did he respond to personal visits to his campaign office.)
He stated if anyone in the media wants to sit down with him in a few months to talk about the progress of the department he’d be happy to oblige, but the day-to-day communication will come from underlings.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the department,” he said.
Well sheriff, it is about you. That’s why you hold the title.
By clamping down on communication, he is (apparently unbeknownst to him) setting himself up for intense scrutiny. As a patrol officer relayed after meeting, he doesn’t want to be embarrassed again like he was last weekend.
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