Black Hawk Co. Sheriff releases report on jail break - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Hawk Co. Sheriff releases report on jail break


Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson says the internal investigation is now complete, following the escape of a county jail inmate last month.

On July 12, 25-year-old Jeremy Mask escape from the jail through an exposed fire door.  Following an 18 hour man hunt, and nearly hour-long high speed chase, Mask was captured, and taken back into custody.  He's currently being held in the maximum security area of the jail.

Following Mask's escape, Sheriff Thompson said that two contractors had been on site at the jail, making security upgrades, including the addition of more security cameras.  During that work, crews left a fire door open to move material through the building, allowing Mask to leave through that door from a general population area of the jail.

Thompson immediately launched an internal investigation into the incident and saying in a press release that "several issues were discovered which contributed to the escape." 

Thompson continued to say that there is still no excuse for what happened, but measures will now be taken to ensure prevent future escapes. 

"No inmate will be allowed out of their assigned cell when substantial security or maintenance work is being conducted in the housing unit, and at no time will inmates be released from their individual cells when a security door is open during such work."

The investigation also revealed Jeremy Mask was able to convince a master control technician, over an intercom, that he was associated with building maintenance to gain entry to the first floor fire door.  To eliminate such error in the future, emergency exit procedures at the jail have been changed, but the sheriff would not elaborate on those changes.  Additional cameras are also being considered for all exterior doors.

As a result of the escape, several staff members face disciplinary action ranging from unpaid suspension, up to and including termination of their employment.

"The rarity of such an occurrence must be punctuated and the unique circumstances merging together simultaneously cannot be understated.  However, the staff and administration of the Black Hawk County Jail accepts full responsibility for the breach and for the mitigation necessary to ensure no such events occur in the future," Thompson's statement read.


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