Probation/Parole, Prisons K-9 Handlers, SHP Partner in Nash Jail Captures

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 5:51pm

Whenever there’s an emergency, look for a Department of Public Safety agency to step forward and not only assist but play a role in getting the job done.

On March 25, five offenders escaped from the Nash County Jail.  In a relatively short period, probation/parole officers, the state Central Region prisons' K-9 handlers and the State Highway Patrol provided assistance, from feet on the ground and in the air to search, set up perimeters and kept the community safe with the capture of four of the five escapees.

“The collaboration and bond between local law enforcement agencies, Prisons and Probation/Parole continue to show the great partnerships that have been developed and continue to develop,” said Community Corrections Judicial District Manager Paige Wade, whose District 7 covers Nash County. “We all have the same mission, which is to protect the public.”

The three units were contacted by the Nash County Sheriff’s office for assistance around 4:30 p.m. The request, and response, was similar: Bring as many bodies as you can to assist in the search and capture.

The State Highway Patrol responded to the area around the county jail and assisted with establishing a perimeter, as well as provided roving patrols. The SHP aviation unit responded to the area to provide aerial support during the search efforts.  During the search, troopers were positioned in specific locations based on incoming information and possible sightings.

The K-9 handlers and Community Corrections did the same thing. Edgecombe County Chief Probation/Parole Officer Tyler Dean was contacted by the sheriff’s office and got the word out to his staff for assistance. About 30 probation/parole officers, including the area emergency response team, went to work searching the area, tracking down potential leads and setting up perimeters to keep citizens away from the potential capture areas.

“We broke up the ERT teams and some went to different neighborhood locations where we received tips,” CPPO Dean said. “Some other officers were assigned to teams (with local law enforcement). We could help going to homes. Many of our officers have relationships with folks on probation because speaking with people can be difficult.”

That night, escapees David Viverete and Raheem D. Horne were captured in Rocky Mount. Keonte Daeman Murphy and David Anthony Ruffin were later captured, while Laquaris Rashad Battle was arrested in South Carolina almost a week later.

According to Dean, what helped the PPOs was previously supervising the escapees at one time.

“We knew them. We knew where they hung out and their associates,” he said. “We built more of a rapport and had family interactions. We knew more about them and got tips from probationers and not on tip lines.”

The cooperation between law enforcement and Community Corrections reduced the stress on both sides during the search.

“I’m really proud of the way our officers handled themselves,” Dean said. “They were given crazy assignments in neighborhoods they not know, but no one gave us a hard time. If we were asked to pick up cigarette butts on I-95, our people would’ve done that.”

Community Corrections Director Tracy Lee said, “I am extremely proud of how our officers responded when called upon. They were ready and willing to do their part in keeping the community safe.”


Jerry Higgins