News 12 First at Five & News 12 NBC 26 @ 6:00 / Monday, Jan. 2, 2017
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There's a new marshal in town, but he's no stranger to law enforcement in Richmond County. Ramone Lamkin was sworn in over the weekend and he's spending his first day on the job Monday.
It was basically an empty building aside from the new marshal, but he isn't wasting any time getting down to business. The year is so fresh the calendars aren't unwrapped yet, but even on January 2nd, a government holiday, Richmond County's new marshal is hard at work.
"I was kidding with my staff and I said day one we're starting. And it's day one and I'm here and I've still got boxes that need unpacking, but it's day one and we're hitting the ground running," he said.
Ramone Lamkin has had seven months to prepare for this day after getting elected
"So I took that time and really made a positive out of it, and got mentally prepared for what's about to happen," the new marshal said.
He's the first new marshal for Augusta in nearly three decades, replacing Steve Smith. It's a big change for the county but also for Lamkin, a former Richmond County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant.
"Being an agency head is not an easy task and being a leader is not an easy task. That's something I want to make sure I don't take likely and I want to do the right thing," he tells News 12 NBC 26.
He says his experience as a deputy will help.
"I think having that relationship, being able to pick up the phone and say hey can we have some assistance here, and it will be likewise, we'll help them as well. And that's what it's all about for the city, making the city better," he said.
A partnership that could help crack down on illegal dumping. But that's not the only thing the Marshal's Office helps with. They have five areas they focus on.
Marshals provide 24 hour security to the airport where they help enforce federal and state laws on the property. They also do security for civil and magistrate courts in the county. Additionally they are the security for the Municipal Building and the Joint Law Enforcement Center. He says as he starts his new job, he wants to make sure their security is the best it can be in all of those areas.
They also help with civil process from Civil and Magistrate Court or small claims court. Marshals serve lawsuits, evictions, and bench warrants. They can also help if someone has a problem with a tenant not paying rent. Lamkin says he also wants to make sure all of their procedures are working and efficient for delivering all of this paperwork.
On top of those responsibilities, the marshals help with enforcing the laws on things like illegal dumping, littering, and stormwater violations.
And while the marshals can technically help keep drivers in check, that's not their purpose.
"Someone who breaks the law in front of a marshal, of course we would stop that vehicle. But our primary goal is not traffic enforcement we're not going to be issuing tickets," he said.
Lamkin's main goal is making the city better, cleaner, and safer.
He's really been working on it since he got elected back in May, putting together plans to improve the city.
"A lot of illegal dumping is going on, I patrol the city myself sometimes especially since I won the election just to kind of look at the areas I want to focus on. And I see tires and junk like that that we need to be more proactive on, and trying to catch those people who are committing those acts," he tells News 12 NBC 26.
Illegal dumping is just one of the things he wants to tackle in his new role.
"We have all of these cyber people coming and you want to make a city that people want to come live in and people want to buy homes in. So it's good to see that the Augusta leaders are working to do that," he said.
He's already thinking of ways outside the box to help.
"It might mean some hours change because no one is doing the illegal dumping from nine to five. It's happening at twelve at night, ten at night. So it might mean some collaboration with the sheriff's office," Lamkin said.
He also wants to partner with you, teaching the community not to throw debris and garbage down the stormwater drains.
"Realize when you throw that trash or something down that drain, what is the cost to the city, what is it doing. And now all of the more hours and manpower need to go to cleaning those drains. So we want to catch it on the front end instead of the back end," he said.
He says being proactive and working with the whole city is key. He says they are already looking into how they work with Code Enforcement and a number of other divisions as well. Lamkin also
"Augusta is filled with so much potential and I really see the city moving in the right direction and I'm just excited to be a part of it," he said.
Showing up a day ahead of the rest of the city to make sure it happens.