ABI investigating officer

Published 4:38 pm Monday, April 10, 2006

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Alleged criminal allegations against a corrections officer working inside the Escambia County Detention Center have sparked an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigations.
Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said he received a tip several months ago from a credible source regarding a corrections officer who was committing criminal acts involving inmates.
Typically, Smith said, an investigator with the Escambia County Sheriff's Department is called to handle charges regarding misconduct. However, in an attempt to ease the minds of the inmates, staff and the public, Smith said he called upon the ABI to investigate the matter.
The corrections officer has been suspended, but not because of an assumption of guilty, Smith said Thursday.
Rather, the corrections officer was placed on paid administrative leave so as not to &#8220taint” the investigation, Smith said.
An ABI investigator has been interviewing inmates and staff members with the sheriff's department. Smith said the external investigation is independent of him or his staff, but the sheriff said he is working in &#8220full cooperation” with the investigator.
Smith said he hoped to exonerate the corrections officer, but if the officer is found guilty, he wants the officer to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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