CLEARFIELD – The policy for alerting the public about emergencies such as an inmate escape were part of the discussion during Tuesday’s Clearfield County Prison Board meeting.
County Commissioner Dave Glass reported that he got together with Warden David Gallagher and members of the 911 Center to look at the current protocol, especially as it applies to escaped inmates.
He gave credit to County Commissioner Mary Tatum, who was not available for the meeting, for preparing a draft of the policy, which was then expanded on by the others.
It states the warden will immediately alert 911 so they can contact the public through their emergency apps.
Second, he will advise the district attorney who will issue a press release with the appropriate information. If he is unavailable, the commissioners will issue the release.
The phone tree then moves to the other members of the prison board: President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman, Sheriff Mike Churner and Controller Rob Edwards.
In the case of an inmate death, “the warden’s priority will be finding and informing the next of kin,” it says in the policy.
“We never want them to find out another way,” Glass stated.
In relation to a recent overdose death at the jail, County Commissioner John Sobel asked if any charges had yet been filed.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers responded that there have been charges filed but added this is an ongoing investigation.
Previous articles identified the alleged source of the drugs as Angela Ricketts of Clearfield, who is now facing drug delivery resulting in death charges.
Glass noted that they are continuing to look at the best ways to prevent contraband from coming into the jail and they have a presentation on one device scheduled for Thursday.
Although Harold and Heather Walstrom, the parents of the inmate who died in July and their attorney, were present for the meeting, they didn’t speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.
In other business:
- The warden reported that the average census of the jail was 171 last month and six people are currently participating in the work release program.
- Controller Rob Edwards reported that the operating expenses for the facility is still high due to medical costs and the DA’s office presented $50,000 from the opioid settlement to the jail.
- The warden listed the hiring of two corrections officers with one of them being terminated just a week later. Two other COs were terminated and one resigned. Gallagher said the staff is currently short four officers.
- The board held an executive session to discuss legal and personnel issues.