VERO BEACH, Fla. One year ago, on October 24, 2011, Indian River County sheriff's deputies launched a nationwide manhunt, searching for two escaped inmates.
Sandra Clark lives within miles of the jail; she remembers worrying about her family's safety.
"It scared the mess out of my daughter, she was concerned about it, she was thinking 'don't leave me in the car,' thinking a man was going to get her," said Clark on Wednesday, the anniversary of the escape.
Two inmates escaped that day, Leviticus Taylor and Rondell Reed. Both were eventually captured and are now both in prison.
Sheriff Deryl Loar says their intricate escape, which included climbing through air conditioning vents, taught his office some valuable lessons.
"We feel very comfortable this facility is secure and again we've learned a lot in the last year," said Loar.
Twenty-three changes have been made at the jail in the last year, many in the past few months. Five new rolls of razor wire now line the 1,100 foot perimeter.
Eight-foot wide concrete slabs were poured underneath the fence, so inmates can't dig below, like Taylor and Reed did. New lights surround the jail and brand new steel bars and bolts were placed on certain doors that lead outside.
"We've examined dozens of facilities throughout the state and the nation and we feel very comfortable this facility is now hardened," Loar said.
The video recording system has also been updated, employees have undergone new training and those air conditioners have been modified, making it harder for inmates to tamper with.
The sheriff's office has shelled out about $200,000 for the improvements.
For moms like Clark, that price is worth it.
"I hope everything works out alright out there, hope no one else escapes."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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