DOC sweeps Delaware County jail
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, December 01, 2011
12/28/11 at 3:55 PM
JAY - Prescription pills and tobacco were among several items found Wednesday during a sweep of the Delaware County Sheriff's Department, said Sheriff Rick Littlefield.
Three Department of Corrections dogs and 25 employees of the agency conducted a shakedown of the entire department, jail cells, offices and the parking lot, looking for contraband.
"I requested the sweep because its part of the cleaning-house process," Littlefield said. "I want us to start out good and fresh."
Littlefield was appointed sheriff in November by county commissioners after former Sheriff Jay Blackfox resigned from the county's top law enforcement post.
The search began about 8:30 a.m. and was finished at about 11:30 a.m., said Johnny Blevins, Department of Corrections administrator of internal affairs. Blevins oversaw the DOC search.
Among the items to turn up were prescription pills, tobacco, kitchen items, spoons, forks, tubs of reading material and a radio. The items were found in the individual cells, a violation of jail policy, Littlefield said.
Inmates are allowed to have a Bible in their cells, but the reading materials made the cells look like a library, he said.
"Fortunately, we didn't find any shanks or knives," Littlefield said.
The dogs hit on drug spots, but they later turned out to be locations where chemicals were stored or in a police car that was recently involved in a narcotics arrest, Littlefield said.
Littlefield said there was also graffiti painted with toothpaste on the cell walls. Blevins said authorities also found a homemade tattoo gun.
The shakedown involved 86 inmates, including 16 females, Blevins said.
The male inmates were strip searched, Blevins said. There were no injuries or assaults.
"We really didn't find a lot," Blevins said. "It was clean."
Littlefield requested the shakedown last week, said Jerry Massie, Department of Corrections spokesman.
The parties signed an inter-local cooperative agreement regarding the search.
"We were very glad to help," said Justin Jones, Department of Corrections director. "We are always there to help counties when they need assistance. I thought it went very well. It was very professionally coordinated with a minimal amount of disturbance to their daily operations."
Jones said it is the second time in his six years as director that a county jail has asked the agency for its assistance. A few years ago, Pittsburg County sought assistance dealing with a disturbance, Jones said.
Currently, all Sheriff's Office employees are going before a three-member interview team, a process that allows Littlefield to review the department's 50 employees.
Blackfox's resignation comes on the heels of a $13.5 million federal civil rights judgment in which 15 former inmates said they were raped and sexually assaulted in the county jail by a volunteer and jailers.
Volunteer Deputy Bill Sanders Sr. and jail administrator Lonnie Hunter were at the center of most of the sexual allegations. Hunter was dismissed from the Sheriff's Office in November. Sanders was also dismissed from the Sheriff's Office and died in November 2008.
The women accused Blackfox of ignoring their complaints, a charge he has denied. Blackfox is not accused of any sexual misconduct.
Original Print Headline: Delaware County Jail gets a search
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Charles Ward, jailer for Delaware County, goes through items collected by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, which did a sweep of the jail, as Delaware County Sheriff Rick Littlefield watches. GARY CROW/For the Tulsa World
Officials with the Department of Corrections, using drug dogs, conducted a sweep of the Delaware County Jail and sheriff's offices in Jay on Wednesday. GARY CROW/For the Tulsa World
Law enforcement vehicles are parked outside the Delaware County Sheriff's Office in Jay on Wednesday. GARY CROW/For the Tulsa World