(FOX40.COM) — On Friday, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office released their investigative report into how the Mahany Park shooter suspect, Eric Abril, was able to escape custody on July 9 from the Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
Abril was captured several hours later in Rocklin after being found in the greenbelt by a nearby resident.
The investigation, by former Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, found that the deputy in charge of Abril did not properly ensure Abril’s restraints before going to the restroom.
Abril took advantage of the absence of security, defeated his restraints and escaped from the hospital.
At the time of his escape, Abril was restrained by a single cuff on his right arm, according to Jones’ report.
“There was a failure to follow fundamental law enforcement practices and departmental policies; this, combined with complacency, led to the escape,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a news release.
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While the sheriff’s office conducted their own internal investigation a Jones was brought on to review the agency’s policies and procedures at the time of the escape.
Following the conclusion of Jones’s’ investigation, the sheriff’s office said they have revised several policies and procedures and increased staffing in the corrections division.
“The recent inmate escape was unacceptable; we reassure our community that we remain committed to transparency. Our community deserves nothing less than our utmost dedication to your safety and security,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Findings and Recommendations Regarding Staffing Issues
Finding 1.a.: “Current Staffing Models and Realities Encourage 1-person Transports
According to Jones, both the South Placer Jail in Roseville and the Placer County Main Jail in Auburn are both operating at “minimum staffing” levels.
He believes that this lack in staffing has created a situation where the sheriff’s office has no other option than to assign only one deputy at a time to monitor an inmate while they are being transported from the jail.
Jones also found that this lack of staffing has caused the sheriff’s office to use forced overtime to ensure adequate staffing levels.
“On the day I conducted interviews at the South Placer Jail, for example, there were seven officers on forced overtime, either by being held over the prior shift, coming in early for the next shift, or called in to work the entire shift,” Jones wrote in his report.
At the Auburn Jail, where Abril was being held, there are four deputies assigned to each shift and the rest of the jails staff is correctional officers.
Jones said this distinction of deputy staffing is important to Abril’s incident is that only a deputy can transport an inmate out of a facility.
“That means there are precious few deputies to actually make a transport, let alone sparing two deputies to transport an inmate to the hospital, or to supervise the inmate round-the-clock if he or she is admitted,” Jones wrote in his report.
Recommendation 1.a.: “Increase staffing of deputy sheriff’s on each shift.”
“However, logic would dictate that an increased number of deputy sheriffs and overall staff allocated to each shift would alleviate the staffing crisis point that is felt each day when a decision must be made as to the level of escort for an outside transportation, or when multiple transports are necessary,” Jones wrote in his report.
Response from Placer County Sheriff’s Office
According to Jones’ report, Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo has decided to use the five new deputy sheriff positions approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors on July 1 to increase the staffing levels in the corrections division.
These new deputies will handle medical tasks, hospital transports and “related security responsibilities across the correction division.”
Finding 1.b.: “Only Field-Trained Deputy Sheriff’s are Considered for Transportation and Supervision of Inmates”
As it stands, a deputy recently graduated from the academy must complete their two-month training program in corrections and their training cycle in patrol before they can be allowed to transport and supervise inmates that have been hospitalized, according to Jones’ report.
Recommendation 1.b.: Consider additional options for the “second officer” of a two-officer transport
Jones suggested that a deputy in training could be used as a “second officer” for transport duty and a deputy with field-training serves as the “first officer.”
“Plus, if it makes the difference whether an inmate can be sent with two or only one officer, the security benefit of having a second deputy would far outweigh the speculative detriment of a lack of field training,” Jones wrote in his report.
Jones also recommended that the sheriff’s office could use private security officers to serve as a “second officer.”
Response from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office
“The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has already updated the jail policy to ensure that two or more deputies are assigned to every emergency medical escort and/or hospitalized of an inmate.”
Recommendation 1.c.: “Add One Deputy to Each Facility as an “Intelligence Officer.”
“The benefit of this position—not only to uncover potential escape attempts, but other criminal or aberrant activity—is tangible and could help keep staff and other inmates safer by discovering and preventing various types of inmate transgressions,” Jones wrote in his report.
Response from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office
The sheriff’s office said they will be assigning one of their five new deputies to the “Intelligence Officer” position.