Facing termination, five employees at the Licking County Jail have submitted their resignations. It comes after an investigation found inmates unchecked for hours, and falsified security checks.
The Licking County Jail is full of people who don't want to be there. Now, there are five corrections officers for whom the reverse is true: they were forced from their jobs after an investigation exposed lapses that put inmates and officers at risk.
The investigation was sparked by the May suicide of inmate Stanton Deeley, who was awaiting sentencing on burglary and assault charges.
"When we monitored our footage around the time that Mr. Deeley was found, we found that everyone was doing everything right,” said Licking County Sheriff’s Sergeant Brock Harmon. “So we wanted to go the extra mile and see that everyone was doing everything right prior to that. And in doing that, we were dismayed that we found some people who were not doing their jobs."
Harmon conducted the investigation. He says policy requires corrections officers to conduct "area checks" every thirty minutes.
"You're checking for contraband, you're checking to make sure the facility is safe," said Harmon.
His investigation found that while officers were claiming that they were making these checks, jail surveillance video proved otherwise, showing inmates unchecked for hours on end.
In one instance, officers conducted a check at 4:16, and then not again 10:53, nearly seven hours later. Another inspection found a check at 8:51 in the morning, with the next full check not happening until 3:16.
Harmon wrote that "these actions put the inmate population at risk, and increased the likelihood that an officer or deputy could be harmed by contraband in the module(s)".
Despite five employees being found in violation, Harmon characterized the problems as isolated. “I don't think there is a culture problem. I think for whatever reason, these employees thought they could not follow our policies and procedures, and we want to send a strong message: there are consequences for that.”
Harmon says moving forward, he is "very confident" in the operation of the jail and its employees.
10TV was not able to reach any of the five former corrections officers for comment.