Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Peebles Campaign Picks Up Key Endorsement

Cpt. Scott Peebles (center) flanked by members of NOBLE GA. Dist 7

Tuesday July 3, 2012
Augusta, GA
By The Outsider

Captain Scott Peebles received a big boost yesterday in his bid to become Richmond County's next Sheriff. The National Organization of  Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) of Georgia for District 7 officially endorsed Peebles in the Sheriff's race. Presenting the endorsement outside of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal building were Chief David Hannah (NOBLE Regional President), Chief Alfonzo Williams, Deputy Chief Roosevelt Lodge, Captain Anthony Dixon and Chief Wesley Lewis. Other law enforcement officers were present as a show of support. Peebles has also received the endorsements of Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Commissioner Joe Jackson and the family of slain Sheriff's deputy J.D. Paugh, among others.

The endorsement from such a high profile organization of black law enforcement officials is hoped to  help neutralize race as a key factor in the Sheriff's campaign. Peebles has been portrayed by the supporters of Richard Roundtree, who is black, as the chosen candidate of Augusta's white power establishment. The race has become increasingly polarized along racial lines. The Peebles campaign believes this endorsement will demonstrate that their candidate has support across racial lines and that this election should be about qualifications and experience and not skin color. A press release sent out by Peebles Campaign chair Lewis Blanchard states:

"Scott prides himself on the fact that his supporters are made up of the most diverse group of people, which is evident at each event Scott hosts. Scott believes in uniting the community, not dividing it, and has the leadership ability and experience to transform the Richmond County Sheriff's Office into the most professional law enforcement agency in the state of Georgia. In doing so, Scott hopes to do his part to have Augusta recognized across the state as a progressive, forward thinking and united city."

The NOBLE endorsement letter specifically mentions Peebles' platform coinciding with key initiatives supported by the organization, such as Community Based Policing and Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACS). The endorsement also mentions Peebles' experience and qualifications and his committment to National Accreditation. The letter states: "His (Peebles) good standing with law enforcement for 21 consecutive years combined with his educational qualifications and vast experience in various areas of law enforcement to include supervisory and managerial assignments are some of what sets him apart from the other 5 candidates for office."

The question now on everyone's mind is how big of an impact this endorsement will have on the campaign?  In the short term it will be much harder for  Roundtree  to run a racial campaign and portray himself as the  candidate with the support of the black community. But this could also heat things up even more with supporters of Roundtree digging in further. Some key Roundtree surrogates have already been making a big issue out of Peebles' voting history, maintaining that he is actually a Republican running as a Democrat in disguise. Look for more of that rhetoric, as well as more criticisms of how Peebles handled Operation Smokescreen.

This will certainly give Peebles a boost in momentum as well as providing some great material for campaign ads and literature. But with the primary election  28 days away, a lot can still happen.***

*You can view the official NOBLE endorsement letter below:
Noble Endorsement of Peebles

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