Darren Doyle, story
Both Sheriff Shane Doyle and Jailer Hank Vincent discussed last week's inmate escape incident at the Edmonson County Courthouse and how similar situations can be prevented in the future during today's fiscal court meeting.
Jailer Vincent said one door in particular that remained accessible to prisoners will now be closed, locked, and only accessible with a key card. Vincent said with that door being inaccessible to prisoners, they would be much less likely to get anywhere else inside the courthouse.
"For six years, the system that's been put in place has always worked," Jailer Vincent said. "Well, now we've obviously found flaws that need to be fixed."
Vincent said the individual that escaped last week took a huge gamble on whether or not court security was in the hallway of the courthouse. "Of course, it there had been anyone out there, he would've been stopped right there. We always notify court security when we're going to have prisoners at the courthouse, and how many we're going to bring. From now on, we're going to notify them five minutes ahead of time so they can meet us at the back door."
Sheriff Shane Doyle said court security officers, who operate through the Sheriff's Office, are always aware of court dates and when prisoners are going to transferred, however, this particular incident happened before normal business hours and the officers had not yet arrived at the courthouse.
Vincent said the new policy has also been changed to be sure any doors accessible to public areas of the courthouse are locked and secured before moving prisoners inside. Once inside, the prisoners will remain in handcuffs until they are secured in the holding cell.
"Then we place them in the cells. There's a food service area opening in the cell where they can put their hands in and we can take their handcuffs off, after they're in the cells," Vincent said.
Sheriff Doyle said he thought the policy changes made by the Jailer would be very effective.
"I feel like maybe some people think Jailer Vincent and I were trying to toss the blame back and forth, but that never was the case," Doyle said. "First of all, in Edmonson County, we all work together. Some counties you go to, you hear about how this office has a problem with that one, or you see where some newspaper is trying to turn one office against another, and we're not going to have that here. All of our county offices have the county's best interests at heart, and the same goes for Jailer Hank Vincent. They've got their hands full just like we all do in a small county. He's done the legwork to try to keep this from happening again and my office will back him up."
Doyle also said that Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Pat Prunty was a big help during the search with the use of the county's telephone emergency notification system, CodeRED. Through the free service, which is available to any county resident, Doyle was able to make a "one-call" notification to alert citizens of the county of the situation.
Craig Troutman, the escaped inmate, now faces up to 20 more years in prison for new charges as a result of the manhunt.