Recent incidents involving intoxicated prisoners, has sparked Sheriff Wallace Whittaker to implement a policy regarding where to take someone who is in need of medical attention before delivering them to the county’s jail. Whittaker handed out the policy during the bimonthly meeting of the Logan County Fiscal Court Tuesday, assuring magistrates that the situation has been taken care of.
In April, according to Whittaker, the Logan County Sheriff’s Department picked up an individual who had either ingested cocaine or methamphetamine. The subject needed immediate medical attention. The jail did not accept the individual and the deputy transported him to Todd County. According to Sheriff Whittaker, this will not happen again.
“You have to have a paper trail in these instances. This has now been resolved,” Whittaker said.
The policy reads: When delivering an inmate to the detention center, and it is found that the subject is in need of medical attention, you are to take said suspect to the Logan Memorial Hospital for a blood draw. If said suspect refuses any medical attention from EMS or Logan Memorial Hospital, you are to get a written medical release form from a certified physician. At any time you are not to transport a prisoner to surrounding detention centers. Violation of this policy will result in first, a written reprimand; second, a two day suspension without pay and third, automatic dismissal.
Logan County Jailer Phil Gregory said the detention center is following the law when refusing to take an arrestee who is intoxicated at a .30 or higher, or is suffering from a medical emergency before seeking medical attention for them first.
“The law was established in 1980s that a jail has to take all arrestees, unless they need immediate medical attention,” said Gregory. “Then it is up to the arresting officer to take that individual to get that medical attention.”
Gregory further stated that the law is in place to protect those who are arrested, as well as to ensure they receive the proper attention so they do not die in the jail.
“There was an individual this year that died in an Ohio County jail. He was 26-years-old and was brought in for a DUI. He was later found dead,” said Gregory. “You want to do everything to protect that individual’s rights, while also protecting the county and jail from liability.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.