COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Two East Alabama sheriffs are closely watching the developments coming out of Lauderdale County escape.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor and Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones both say the situation shows the importance of protocols.
Both men feel bad for Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton because he was allegedly betrayed by a member of his command staff.
They say the escape offers many lessons for Sheriff’s Offices across Alabama and beyond.
When Lauderdale County Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky Sue White walked out of the jail last week with capital murder suspect Casey White, no relation, protocols and procedures were violated.
“The normal correction officer would have tried to walk him out like that,” Taylor said. “There would have probably been 10 people stop that correction officer and say, ‘What are you doing? Why are you taking a capital murder by yourself? Why is he not shackled?’ All of those things. Her position and role in the sheriff’s office afforded her the ability for nobody to ask any questions as to why she was violating the policy.”
Jones is the current president of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association. He says there is a valuable lesson for all 67 Alabama sheriffs.
“It is such that anyone in the system should have the ability if they notice something is not quite right or not being done the way it should be, to be able to bring that to the attention of those who are the decision-makers – to the sheriff, to the administrative staff. In this particular case, my understanding is it was actually a member of the administrative staff, which exasperated this problem, probably,” Jones said.
The manhunt for Cole and the woman authorities say helped him walk free has lasted a week.
Taylor has discussed the Lauderdale County escape with his senior staff. He says there is one factor in most jail escapes.
“When someone typically escapes from the jail, that’s how they escape,” Taylor said. “It’s human error. It’s not the facilities breach. It is human error that causes the person, the inmate to be able to escape.”
When news of the Lauderdale County escape broke, Taylor talked to his command staff.
“When we immediately came in on Monday, we had a conversation about this very case,” Taylor said. “And I wanted to assure myself that we were not going to fall victim to the same thing.”