County jailer indicted

Published 7:52 am Monday, August 7, 2006

By By LISA TINDELL – news writer
In the second time in as many weeks, the Escambia County Sheriff's office has found one of its own employees under arrest.
Alleged ethics violations were the downfall of assistant jail administrator Valerie Williams as the Escambia County grand jury made its final decisions last week.
Williams, a resident of 5434 Damascus Road in Brewton, was arrested Aug. 3 after the grand jury handed down indictments, according to Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith.
Charges against Williams include five counts of violation of the Alabama Ethics Law and one count of theft of property, first degree, Smith said. Bond was set at $50,000. Following her arrest on Thursday, Williams was booked into the Escambia County Jail and was transferred to another facility.
In a press release Friday, Smith reported the indictments were the result of an investigation conducted by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation at the request of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
The ABI did a timely and sensitive investigation of what could have been a tough situation, Smith said.
&#8220I would like to thank the ABI for a thorough and professional job,” Smith said. &#8220It is unfortunate that every member of this office had to go through the investigation, but it was necessary.”
Smith said he plans to take the same steps if similar present themselves again.
The Williams case was the second in the past two weeks involving an Escambia County jailer.
On July 21 Julius Ray Harris, a jailer at the Escambia County Detention Center, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana - second degree, promoting prison contraband - second degree; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The arrest came after jail employees were searched as they reported for duty.
Several personnel changes came as a result of the ABI report, Smith said.
Smith said he could not comment further on the investigation at this time except to indicate that it is continuing.
Information on other indictments handed down by the grand jury are not made public until arrest warrants have been executed, Smith said.
The grand jury docket held a record number of cases during this session, said Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy.

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