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Officer Fired After Chatham Jailbreak

Posted February 21, 2008

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— A detention officer has been fired for violating procedures and allowing five inmates to escape the Chatham County Detention Center two weeks ago, authorities said Thursday.

Five inmates broke out of the jail on Feb. 4 after overpowering a detention officer. The men grabbed the officer's keys and radio, changed clothes, left through a side door and used a coat to scale a fence topped with razor wire, authorities said.

Four of the men were recaptured within hours. Stewart Wendell Baldwin, 30, of 130 Mann's Chapel Road in Pittsboro, remains at large.

The Chatham County Sheriff's Office conducted an internal review of the incident and determined that procedures in place to prevent such escapes weren't followed, and the senior detention officer on duty the night of the jailbreak has been fired, Sheriff Richard Webster said in a statement.

"Failure to follow these procedures and policy was the ultimate reason for this incident. Other issues that were indirectly related were shortages in staff, technology upgrades and the need for an up-to-date facility," Webster said. "Correcting any of these issues would dramatically supplement the security level of the facility. I will continue to address them as budgetary issues."

Baldwin was being held in the jail on felony drug charges and a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. Authorities said they don't think Baldwin is a danger to the public unless he is approached.

Anyone with information about Baldwin's whereabouts is asked to call the Chatham County Sheriff's Office at 919-542-2811.

19 Comments

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  • ratherbnnc Feb 22, 2008

    Sheriff Webster needs to enforce Constitutional law and those laws the people of Chatham county deem important, not those of the Federal or State necessarily, as he works for the people of the county. I'm sure he could get by with less by doing so.
    tbajr

    Your kidding right??? Ok Sheriff.. Lets enforce this law but not this one! DONT THINK SO!!

  • ratherbnnc Feb 21, 2008

    Seems kind of odd this leo gets fired for ""Failure to follow these procedures and policy..." by Sheriff Webster, yet Franklinton Police Chief Ray Gilliam said Officer Michael Dunlap clearly violated department policy, but no disciplinary action has been taken against the officer, pending the results of an internal investigation of the incident. A jail break where no one is killed must be a lot worse than mowing down innocent children during a high speed pursuit.
    OldRebel

    You people amaze me with such idiocy! You actually have no clue whether Chief Gilliam instituted any disciplinary action against him or not since the fact that Personnel matters are not public record. Mowing down innocent children during a high speed pursuit?? The best i remember Officer Dunlap mowed no one down, the criminal driving the car being chased hit them!!

  • oldrebel Feb 21, 2008

    "Can WRAL put a picture up of the "at large" escaped convict please?
    Duh!!!!!"

    This woulld seem to be the way to let the general public be better able to see and report this escapee.

  • tbajr Feb 21, 2008

    Sheriff Webster needs to enforce Constitutional law and those laws the people of Chatham county deem important, not those of
    the Federal or State necessarily, as he works for the people of
    the county. I'm sure he could get by with less by doing so.

  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Feb 21, 2008

    LOL!!!!!

    OOOFFF...I guess someone does actually read our post!!!!

  • Thinkb4uspeak Feb 21, 2008

    Harrison

    Please check your profile for some recent comments that I made. I'd like to know what you think. IT is a continuation of an earlier conversation.

  • Paladin2 Feb 21, 2008

    You "anti-law enforcement types" are a pathetic bunch of whiners!

  • OOOFFFF Feb 21, 2008

    Can WRAL put a picture up of the "at large" escaped convict please?

    Duh!!!!!

  • uncfan89 Feb 21, 2008

    hey dataclerk, the sheriff is an elected offical he can not be fired!!!!

  • Glass Half Full Feb 21, 2008

    Sounds like they did the jailer a favor. Overworked in an antiquated facility. A recipe for disaster in my opinion. Hopefully now the jailer can get a job in a better environment. I have yet to see an LEO, FF, or Medic paid what they're worth if they work for state or local government.

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