Looks like the inmates are indeed in charge of the asylum!
After reading this piece in the pages of the Houston Chronicle...I'm left to wonder just where, exactly, are we getting the folks that are supposed to be in charge of the so-called "secure" lock up facilities?
This is completely and totally insane! These people are supposed to be professionals, right? God help us all, if this is the best that they can do...!
Nathan Lindstrom For the Chronicle
“There's one point in the video that show the gun in his palm and kind of in his pocket,” Juvenile Probation Department Executive Director Harvey Hetzel said Wednesday. “He kind of flashed it to another kid.”
Hetzel described the video at a lunchtime meeting of the County Juvenile Board where members blasted him over revelations the teen got the loaded pistol to his cell after passing through a metal detector that appears to have been unplugged for the past month, as well as a “strip search” in which a guard was to watch the boy undress in a bathroom. The video Hetzel detailed was of that search.
Board members gave Hetzel 48 hours to explain how the security lapse happened.
“The day you learned about this, you should have pulled an all-nighter,” County Judge Ed Emmett told Hetzel. “Somebody has failed miserably.”
Members of the board, most of whom are state district judges, said they were frustrated by a lack of answers from Hetzel and Bob Husbands, the agency's director of facilities.
The two estimated the metal detector was unplugged for more than a month in the detention center's basement booking area, but neither knew for certain how long it had been out of service.
“I'm ultimately responsible; the buck stops with me,” Hetzel said afterward. “I hope that my job is not on the line, but the bottom line is that I am responsible for this.”
‘We're very lucky'
Hetzel told the board the machine was malfunctioning and was unplugged rather than fixed. He did not know who unplugged it or who authorized it.
He said dozens of people work in that area during the 24-hour work day. “The deputy director has brought in all those supervisors and no one has ‘fessed up,'” Hetzel said.
“It looks like a whole lot of people knew that the metal detector wasn't working and they let it go,” Emmett said. “What's particularly unacceptable is, here we are two weeks later and we don't have any real answers.”
The county judge said he expects to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss Hetzel's findings.
“We're giving him 48 hours to come back to us and tell us what they found out.” Emmett said. “We're very lucky somebody didn't get killed.”
Juveniles are brought to the facility at 1200 Congress. Other juveniles, clerks and guards are in the processing room, which contains several holding cells. Juveniles go through a single metal detector situated just inches from a clerk's work station.
For privacy, juveniles undress in a bathroom while a security guard watches from a doorway about four feet away. The procedure, which Hetzel called a “strip search,” is to ensure that no adult is never alone with an unclothed juvenile.
Guards on suspension
On Nov. 9, authorities discovered a .25-caliber semi-automatic in the 16-year-old boy's cell.
Two security guards have been suspended without pay for two weeks because they searched the juvenile when he was booked in two hours earlier but did not find the loaded gun.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said an outside agency, like the Harris County District Attorney's Office, should investigate to determine who is responsible for the oversight.
“Wouldn't most department heads that had something like this occur try to get to the bottom of it within minutes, maybe hours?” Radack said. “Everyone who was found to be involved needs to be terminated.”
A 33-year veteran of the department, including six years at the helm, Hetzel announced his retirement in March 2008 after Emmett sought a special board meeting to review his performance. Hetzel rescinded his resignation three months later after the board voted to ask him to stay.
Now they're talking about firing these people! Instead, they should be bringing criminal charges against them!
C'mon...let's get some coffee and discuss how scary this whole thing is!