July 24, 2018 09:04 AM
A former corrections officer complained about the safety of staff at the Stillwater Correctional Facility before Wednesday’s deadly attack, according to internal documents provided to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
Up until last year, former Officer Dave Campbell worked in Building 20 and had the same job – the same assignment – as Officer Joseph Gomm, who was killed Wednesday.
Campbell tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he complained multiple times before ultimately quitting last July after suffering a panic attack he said was brought on by concerns about his own safety in his work area.
“It is a blatant disregard for safety at every turn,” he said.
According to internal documents, Campbell complained about security incidents in 2016 and 2017.
In one incident report, Campbell wrote inmates had access to “tools that could be used to aid in an escape” and it “puts staff in danger.”
In another document obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Campbell requested security improvements that would provide a “safer work environment to the staff.”
“I raised concerns during debriefings, in front of administration, wardens, AWs,” he said.
A Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesperson wrote an email on Thursday that these concerns were addressed.
But Campbell said there were also repeated issues of not having enough officers in his work areas.
He said he was the sole officer overseeing up to 50 inmates at one time.
“Not only were they short-staffed on officers, but they would run the shops without the foreman as well. So if they didn't have the foreman to cover the shop and supervise the offenders in the work area, they would still run the shop anyways,” he said.
“Did you ever raise that issue?” asked 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporter Ryan Raiche.
“It was absolutely raised, yes,” he said.
A source told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that when Gomm was killed, there was only one foreman on duty because the other foreman was on vacation and was not replaced.
“So the foreman was expected to cover for both,” Campbell added.
The 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigative team asked DOC Commissioner Tom Roy about staffing levels at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“How many people were supposed to be in that work area and how many were actually working?” we asked.
“I can’t talk about that particular work area because that is certainly an element of this case,” Roy responded.
Roy later alluded on Thursday that this attack will change procedures moving forward.
“Is this a game-changer? It is an element that will certainly color the future,” he said. "Everything we do relates to the security of those officers.”
Updated: July 24, 2018 09:04 AM
Created: July 19, 2018 06:45 PM
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