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Thread: A Day with Prisoner Transport
05-13-08, 12:35 PM #1
A Day with Prisoner Transport
There is a link for a video story as well, go behind the scenes. The only error, is they do not work out of the Comm Center - the are on the same complex as the Comm Center. We do dispatch for them.
HIGH-DANGER MISSION: TRANSPORTING SAN DIEGO'S INMATES
It's a dangerous mission carried out on the roadways of San Diego every day, transporting high-risk prisoners by the sheriff's department. News 8 tagged along on a recent run, giving you unprecedented access to the high-security action.
It's one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and a the Sheriff's Communications Center in Kearny Mesa it starts as early as 4 a.m.
Overseeing the mid-morning run is Corporal John Schnurr, a 17-year veteran with the sheriff's department, along with Deputy Gustavo Reynoso.
"We want an uneventful trip, happy inmates and a nice smooth ride," Schnurr said.
Every year Cpl. Schnurr says the San Diego County Sheriff's Prisoners Transportation Unit buses more than 220,000 inmates, from small-time crooks to mass murderers, taking them to and from court appearances, detention facilities and medical appointments.
The first stop is the Central Detention Facility in downtown San Diego. Before getting out, Cpl. Schnurr and his partner lock away their guns. No firearms are allowed in any of the state's detention facilities.
Once inside, it's a well rehearsed drill.
"We'll hook them together either in twos or threes. That's for security reasons, to protect us against escape… that kind of thing," Cpl. Schnurr said.
While most inmates are chained to each other, certain inmates such as sex offenders are handled separately.
"Certainly with high-profile, high-risk inmates, there's added security required," Cpl. Schnurr said.
Corporal Schnurr says that 97 percent of all prison transports run smoothly.
"If you keep repeating a directive to somebody and they're not following it, that's your first hint that something's liable to go south pretty quickly," he said.
And in those rare cases when an inmate does not comply when being transported, ""Regrettably, there are times when force is necessary," according to Cpl. Scnhurr.
"We have the means on the bus to segregate them from other inmates, and we also have control devices, used on a graduating basis."
Once all inmates are shackled, it's time to board the bus.
While this particular morning's run is going smoothly, Cpl. Schnurr says deputies must always remain on high alert.
"It can be very dangerous. We've had inmates in transit try to overpower and injure deputies to the point of retirement, medical retirement... we've had that happen in our division, it just hasn't happened recently," Cpl. Schnurr said.
Much more common, according to Cpl. Schnurr, is dealing with the familiar faces he encounters during transport.
"There are many inmates we call 'Frequent Flyers' that are in and out of custody all of the time... you develop relationships with those people over the years, just like other people you meet in your work," he said.
After picking up two more inmates at the Chula Vista jail, it's on to South Bay Detention Facility, where prisoners are unloaded and uncuffed. It's the end of another high-security transport that's also handled with some humor.
"Hey, we're like Cloud Nine shuttle," Cpl. Schnurr said.
The last high-profile escape by a San Diego inmate during transport was back in 1992, when Johnathon George escaped, ultimately killing a man in the Gaslamp District.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
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05-13-08, 07:11 PM #2
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