Deputy disciplined for inmates escape

A Rutherford County Adult Detention Center employee who enabled two inmates to escape last Wednesday was suspended for two weeks without pay from Oct. 19-30, said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.

Deputy Beth Miles was also placed on probation one year.

Miles was serving as the Central Control operator when inmates Dewayne Halfacre and Jonathan Baxter were accused of assaulting another detention deputy about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 10.

The injured deputy could be heard calling out for assistance on her radio and another employee alerted co-workers who rushed to help the injured deputy.

Also, the escapees pulled the fire alarm to cause an additional distraction.

While operating the doors for deputies responding to the injured deputy, Miles opened the exterior door at the bottom of the fire escape that exited onto the back loading dock of the warehouse. Miles failed to properly identify the people requesting entry into the secure area and the operator error allowed the inmates to escape.

Halfacre and Baxter were returned to the jail Thursday after a 35-hour manhunt from local, state and federal law enforcement officers and emergency responders.

Miles is being disciplined for failing to identify people requesting entrance into a secure area of the jail and maintaining the custody of inmates, which jeopardized the protection of citizens.

The order for jeopardizing standard security measures is defined as an intentional or unintentional action that violates standard security measures designed to maintain custody and containment of inmates and to provide protection for inmates, staff and citizens.

As part of the duties, the Central Control operator is responsible for operating secured doors and keeping a log of movement throughout the jail. The operator shall require identification of any person requesting entrance to a secure area.

Miles may be terminated for any future infractions.

She has worked at the sheriff’s office nine years.

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