Armstrong County Sheriff's Office fires 1 employee, disciplines another for inmate escape


    <p>One female employee has been terminated and a male employee has been disciplined by the Armstrong County Sheriff's Office for reportedly enabling an inmate to escape. Alan Odell Rhone, 47, escaped the Armstrong County Jail at about 2:40 p.m. on Monday. (Courtesy: Armstrong County Sheriff's Office){/p}

    One female employee has been terminated and a male employee has been disciplined by the Armstrong County Sheriff's Office for reportedly enabling an inmate to escape.

    Alan Odell Rhone, 47, escaped the Armstrong County Jail at about 2:40 p.m. on Monday. He is still at large and was last seen in Amarillo on Tuesday.

    According to the critical incident investigation performed by Chief Deputy King, the terminated female employee was working as the shift dispatcher and jailer at the time of the escape and had a new male employee training with her. The male employee, under the direction of the female employee, opened a cell door to give the inmate a mop bucket to clean his cell. He re-secured the door but later returned to retrieve the mop bucket and opened the cell door again.

    When the jailer returned, the inmate struck him with the mop bucket and escaped into the hallway. He was able to make his way out onto a recreation yard for safety after being struck. The inmate was contained in the jail hallway and could not escape to the downstairs of the jail due to a locked security door.

    The terminated employee then opened the secure jail floor door that was keeping the inmate contained and Rhone forced his way into the Sheriff's Office lobby area, assaulting the woman as she attempted to restrain him.

    According to Sheriff Fleta Barnett, it was the female employee's error of opening the secure door that allowed the inmate to escape. If the door had not been opened, the appropriate law enforcement response would have had time to respond to the area to re-secure the inmate within a cell without using force if necessary.

    The female employee was terminated from service for violation of the Armstrong County Sheriff's Office standard security measures policies, including hostage/barricaded subject policy, failure to follow orders for overseeing her trainee and failing to follow jail door opening cell protocols.

    The male employee is being disciplined for failing to follow jail door opening cell protocols and has received a written reprimand and been placed on probation for one year.

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