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VIDEO: Jail and Bail -- Community leaders thrown in the slammer for a good cause

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Liberty County held a “Jail and Bail” fundraiser for the Liberty County Kiwanis Club and “arrested” several local community leaders from the Hinesville Fire Department, Police Department, City Council and County Commission. All of it was to help raise funds to purchase playground equipment for children with special needs.

The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Liberty group, which has been in existence for at least 15 years, decided to support the Liberty County Kiwanis Club and raise money by hosting the event. Each class is required to do a community service project.

“We are very proud of this year’s class for their efforts, and it’s always great to see community members work together to give back to residents,” said Leah Poole, Chief Executive Officer of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.

The event, which took place April 29, rounded up the arrested leaders, who were taken to the historic Liberty Jail on Main Street, where they sat behind bars until donations poured in to help them make their bail.

The minimum bail was set for $500. Others who were arrested for their shenanigans had their bails set higher.

Among those who were arrested were Coldwell Banker Southern Coast owner Leah Smiley, Councilman Karl Riles, HPD Assistant Police Chief Maj. Tracey Howard, HFD Fire Chief Robert Kitchings and LCSO Assistant Chief Max Brown.

As they were placed in their cells, Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman gave them a dressing down, laying out the ground rules.

According to Kitchings, $18,000 was raised at the event. The Liberty County Kiwanis Club is now searching for a viable location for the playground, with an emphasis on serving children with special needs in the county.

“We are thankful for Leadership Liberty giving us this opportunity to give back to the community. It was a pleasure to assist with the needs of a portion of the population that is often overlooked," Kitchings said.

Riles, who represents the city’s fifth district, said they had someone speak to the Kiwanis Club who mentioned that in order to take his special-needs child to a playground, he had to drive all the way to Vidalia.

“In a community like this, we know that we can do better,” he said. “So, we know we want to make sure that we provided these opportunities for those children.”

Leadership Liberty is an adult leadership program through the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and is open to anyone who wishes to create a positive impact on our community and has a passion for making our home a better place for all. Anyone interested in participating in the program can find more information at