Tip leads to jail shakedown; no weapon found

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Nearly 25 law enforcement officials “shook down” the work release dorm and main jail on Sunday, after Sheriff Dennis Meeks received a tip of a possible weapon in the dorm.

“I got a call here at home saying there was possibly a weapon in the work release dorm,” he said. “We get tips and calls all the time about contraband. That’s nothing new, but based on that this was supposed to be a weapon, we took extra caution going about the way we went in the jail looking for it.”

Meeks said he called in the Incident Response Team to lead the way.

“That’s their expertise,” he said. “It was a good thing it wasn’t in the main jail, and we had kind of a target area since we had some information.”

Meeks said it’s standard protocol for the department to check out all tips to ensure there is no problem.

“We went in and searched each inmate as they came out,” he said. “We sat them down on the ground, searched the entire dorm and searched them again before they went back into the dorm.”

Meeks said that since there were so many law enforcement officials at the jail, he decided to go through the main jail and conduct a shake down.

“Luckily, nothing that was found was out of the norm,” he said. “We found maybe three cellphones. Believe it or not, they can get those in the jail. We do get information that they do bring those in unconventionally.”

Meeks said that every work release inmate is strip searched upon arrival back to the jail, but corrections officers “don’t really have a way to do a cavity search.”

Meeks said some misinformation was released Sunday night, and he wants the public to know that his officers were working diligently to protect and serve.

Meeks said reports that the weapon was rumored to have been in the hands of Jackie Long or an inmate who had been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences were not correct.

“When IRT was called out, they were asked to come to the administrative building, nothing else,” he said. “When I was sworn in the other day, one of the things I said was I appreciate the citizens of Covington County having confidence in us. In that, there’s no way – and I hope people would understand – I would put an inmate who had just been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in a work release dorm. My No. 1 priority is protecting the people of this county. That’s my job.”