Recent Escape Raises Security Concerns At Oklahoma Juvenile Center
Lisa Monahan, News 9
TECUMSEH, Oklahoma -- Three teenagers scale a fence to escape the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center. After 12 hours on the run, all three escapees are back in the custody. The escape marks the third incident in the last two weeks where police were called in to assist.
Following the recapture of Marcus Belt, Anthony Bronner and Devon Sanders, the Office of Juvenile Affairs confirmed the top two administrators at the facility were relieved off their duties.
"I think it is time we had a change in leadership here at the facility and the division level to try and address some of the actions," said Gene Christian, Executive Director of Juvenile Affairs.
Christian is also recommending changes to security at the facility.
"I hate the opportunity of introducing pepper spray and tasers to facility we've been able to contain in the past, but we've reached the point we need to at least discuss those items," Christian said.
People living nearby the facility blame a realignment of facilities. Richard Hagman believes there is more violence at COJC because juveniles from the L.E. Rader Center, a maximum security center, are now housed at the medium security facility.
"To bring their kids down with these kids, in my own opinion is just an opportunity to create more criminals,"Hagman said.
Hagman said not very many people in Tecumseh support the change.
Christian believes the issues are because the staff is limited in the actions they can take.
"Some of the sanctions we can use when juveniles at the center violate a rule is early to bed or last in line, and that is not carrying the message, especially to our youth out their breaking the law," Christian said.
In addition to pepper spray and tasers, Christian is also asking for more staff and a full-time armed officer at the center.
Christian will meet with the board on October 7 to make a decision on changes at the facility. During the meeting, Christian said they will also determine the standing of the two administrators currently placed on leave.