INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. - Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar has implemented a major change inside the jail visitation center and more changes may be on the way.
"It's a lesson learned for every jail throughout the united states," Sheriff Loar explains. "What we've done since your story aired, we've tightened up the process of not only who is on the video visitation list but as well have our civilian monitors a little more cautious of what is going on."
Last month, the Contact 5 Investigator revealed video, the Sheriff believes, could have prevented a 2011 jail break.
Days before violent criminals Rondell Reed and convicted killer Leviticus Taylor, managed to saw, climb and dig their way out of jail, a recorded visitation video showed 25 year old Taylor using sign language to preview his plan.
Taylor, at the time, was speaking to his girlfriend, Sadie Welker. Welker was eventually arrested for helping him flee. During this visitation on October 20, 2011, Taylor spelled out the words, "I getting out," using sign language. During the same visit, Taylor even said as much out loud on the phone to Welker. Four days later, Taylor and his cell-mate, Reed, did just that.
It was a blatant confession, authorities missed.
When asked about the sign language video Sheriff Loar never knew about until the Contact 5 Investigators showed him, his response was, "uh, shocked. very shocked. "
Since that interview, Sheriff Loar has increased training for employees who monitor inmate visits and special attention is being placed on visits with inmates dubbed high risk for escaping.
"We monitor all of those visits not all in real time, but immediately after or within 2 days afterwards. We're actually reviewing all of those visits," explained Captain Selby Strickland, who manages the jail in Indian River County.
The Sheriff is also looking into upgrading the visitation monitors with technology that will be able to flag buzz words spoken, a different language even hand gestures.
Currently, the county's jail visitation center accommodates about 2100 visitors each month and 27,000 visitors each year.
They're changes aimed at helping employees look out for what they might be able to prevent next time.
"We appreciate you bringing it into light. Our primary concern is the safety, well-being and security of these inmates. We are not in a position to have another incident like what we had in 2011," said Sheriff Loar.
Sheriff Loar will be presenting the visitation video featuring Leviticus Taylor using sign language as a training tool during the next Florida Sheriff's Association meeting.