PORT ALLEN - Two West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies were suspended without pay Tuesday after an internal investigation showed they did not follow protocol when three work release inmates escaped recently.
The names of the deputies were not released. One deputy was suspended for one day, the other for 90 days.
Tuesday morning 40 investigators from the state Department of Corrections went to the WBR work release facility at the request of WBRSO to investigate what happened during the escape. They removed evidence from the facility which sources say was connected to a robbery in Baton Rouge supposedly committed by one of the work release inmates who escaped. The items removed included designer watches and various articles of clothing.
WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto learned this was part of an ongoing investigation into a situation WBRZ broke last week involving Emanuel Jones. Jones is one of three people who may have escaped from the work release facility, according to an arrest warrant. The warrant states he may have committed an armed robbery and car jacking in Baton Rouge.
"It appears we had an issue with our inmate count that night," WBRSO colonel Richie Johnson said.
When the victim was given a photographic lineup of six people, he positively identified Emanuel Jones as the person responsible the paperwork states. Jones lost his work release priviledges after he was fired from his job for not being where he was supposed to be. He was serving time after he was convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was transferred to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center this month to finish serving out his sentence.
Initially, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said Jones was accounted for the night the crime was committed. Head counts are conducted every two hours. On the night of the car jacking and robbery, WBR Officials said Jones showed up during the head counts. However, WBRZ learned today an inmate provided the deputy on duty with the headcount that night.
"We had a deputy who did not do a proper head count that night," WBRSO Colonel Richie Johnson said. "He allowed an inmate to give him a count in one of the dorms which in turn allowed people not to be accounted for."
We asked why the deputies were suspended instead of being fired. Johnson told WBRZ unpaid suspensions were appropriate in this case. Johnson said both deputies have been employed with the Sheriff's Office for less than two years.
"There's no new procedures," Johnson said. "The procedures were in place. We just had people not following the procedures."
All of the inmates who were suspected of escaping are back in custody. All are facing escape charges.
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