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High Risk Inmate Transport

STL Joseph Garcia

In the past several months, inmates have escaped custody during transportation. Because the escapes have been fatal to the transporting officers and dangerous to the public – and because they put the media spotlight squarely on the faces of administrators, corrections experts are taking a long, hard at inmate transportation. We’re corrections experts, and in this article we look at transportation from the emergency response perspective.

Traditionally, inmate transportation duty has been tasked to officers with seniority and/or officers who are liked or favored. Hmmm… you wonder why inmate transportation escapes are increasing?! Let us get one thing straight: Inmate transportation is the weakest link in the inmate chain of custody. You have only one chance to get it right. If you get it wrong, the consequences can be deadly.

High Risk Inmate Transport (HRIT) has long been taken for granted as the “cushiest” job in the inmate chain of custody. If you think we’re being facetious, just look at the majority of transport officers today. If we’re right, you’ll discover (as we have) that these positions are filled with senior officers. If we’re right, you’ll note that depending on the agency, inmate transport is detailed based simply on who you can get to fill the position.

Because we know we’re right, we say unequivocally that the traditional approach is flat-out wrong. We say – and we train to this standard – that High Risk Inmate Transport (HRIT) should be conducted by a department’s most qualified officers / deputies… Not some “Joey Bagadonuts” who has been at your facility for years and years… or who is high on the seniority list… or who is buddy-buddy with the duty assignment officer.

The Four Qualities of an Ideal HRIT Officer

We often hear the succinct phrase, “out of sight, out of mind.” If you think the traditional transportation officer isn’t out of sight, you’re out of your mind. As we’ve seen via the media, transportation officers are right there in the spotlight. The public sees them as representatives of the entire profession. If the public doesn’t like what they see, you’ll hear about it.

Understand this: If an inmate is planning an act of violence, an escape, contraband smuggling, or other illegal or dangerous activity, you better believe that the inmate is committed to do whatever it takes to follow through on his or her plan.

Below, we offer the four must-have qualities of the ideal HRIT officer:

  • HRIT Officers are regularly seen by the public, so they must represent the professionalism of the modern CERT Warrior
  • HRIT Officers work closely with the surrounding law enforcement agencies, so they must be tactful, politically astute and able to work effectively across jurisdictions
  • HRIT Officers are the last first and last line of defense in the security of an inmate, so they must be physically and mentally fit
  • HRIT Officers are one of the first points of custody that an inmate will deal with when they are convicted in a courtroom.

Your HRIT officer needs to be trained on how to understand the tell-tale signs of an inmate involved in illegal activity. Your HRIT officer must be trained – and certified – on how to implement your agency’s policies and procedures.

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  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    about 3 years ago

    19382 Comments

    Excellent. Bilingual is always a plus.

  • Us-prisoner-service-badge_max50

    Prisoner_Transport

    over 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    Great article.

    Prisoner-transport.com is now looking for bilingual prisoner transport and recovery agents.
    Prisoner Transport

  • Image_max50

    Book_Em_Mandie

    over 3 years ago

    6746 Comments

    swattglockette: What would make you assume that Detention Officers are not sworn?

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 3 years ago

    11356 Comments

    Luckily I had very little to do with inmate transport except to take an arrestee to jail for booking after arrest, occasionally picking up arrestees for their first court appearance, and I didn't even like doing that as I hate entering that sally port and having it close behind me. Must be a bit claustrophobic! I respect those who do this as their primary job because I feel as the article states; this is the inmates’ best chance to escape.

    Now as a training coordinator, one of the classes we give is detainee transport and many of the items mentioned in this article are covered in our 8-hour mandatory class. Luckily my present agency takes prisoner transport very seriously and we have the proper vehicles, cages, restraints and shackles, and provide the proper training...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    swattglockette

    over 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    For those LEO's who have worked in a Transportation Unit/Division, was the section all sworn or was it a combination of sworn/non-sworn (detention officers)? I can imagine the pros/cons for both situations, but from first hand experience, what issues did you have?

  • Me_nam_max50

    Tripflare

    about 4 years ago

    20 Comments

    http://www.uscsog.com/

    this is outstanding LE media and people tasked with protection and transporting understand this....no offense to anyone...but if can't move like these warriors...stand aside.....Semper Fi

  • Me_nam_max50

    Tripflare

    about 4 years ago

    20 Comments

    Administrators have to learn that risk factors today are being enhanced by not leveraging their "tip of the spear" types to the jobs THEY should be doing. They should all have toy rooms that they can draw on duty equipment from. Good tactical equipment: firepower, comm, optics, reach out and touch someone gear blah, blah, blah. Bad bsiness not having a tactical CO and having to abide by people who do not know how to crawl through the bush. I'll take one of those new style M14's and give me some of that 1x night optics, and three or four brothers and sisters who have their own toys too. Transporting today....especially gang related!!
    Give me a break boss...let me go home at night eh! There's a WAR ON out there boss!

  • Picture_of_jim_max50

    JImGNYCDC

    about 4 years ago

    22 Comments

    Worked in NYC Department of Corrections (Riker's Island) Transportation Division in the late seventies and early eighties.....we were taught all of this by the training officersa and our partners. You had to progress through the ranks as you got the assignments. Supervision was close as it could get. We always checked out our vans before we started work for the day, after we dropped the inmates off at one place before getting inmates to transport to another place. I did hospital runs as a brand new officer. It was not an assignment that the brass gave out haphazardly either. We worked iwth trial inmates, states prisoners down for transfers to and from court on appeals, federal prisoners, women and youths from the age of twelve on up.

    Yes twelve year olds in JODC (Juvenile Detention Facilitry) in one half of the old woman's house on Rikers. Too hot to handle at Spofford (usually in on multiple homicides...yes you read that correctly).

    We had the gamut from terrorists (FALN, Pantehers, Weathermen) no name it we transported and watched.

    Great article...told it like it is...know who you are dealing with, trust and verify the paperworkm watch the inmates (they are not your friends...but sometimes will help....surprising as it seems), and mosty of all scan your surroundings at all times.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Criminology101

    over 4 years ago

    200 Comments

    Prisons are overcrowded and there are too many fugitives on the street. We're looking for quality guys. Check us out on the web.

    www.RecoveryContractors.org

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    signalone

    over 4 years ago

    18 Comments

    For 15 years I was a Transportation Deputy Sheriff in Florida I moved many death row inmates.We picked up prisoners from Miami to Pensacola,on two day trips without any problems.I also worked with the US Marshals Office,flying included.It was a great job if you gave respect you recieved respect and and easier trip.I loved it the high stress and high blood pressure.

  • Shoot_dont_shoot_firing_my_weapon_1985_max50

    steelnpearls

    over 4 years ago

    290 Comments

    I was in fugitive for 1/3rd of my law enforcement years. I never had a problem with any whom I transported for they heard from me the way the cow eats the cabbage that told them what would happen....and that for the rest of their life they'd remember my name in their nightmares.
    I alos worked with the Marshals office as well with federal transportation....never had a problem....

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    over 4 years ago

    50956 Comments

    Great info

  • Sdc14247_max50

    bleonti91

    over 4 years ago

    6 Comments

    Great article!!

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    over 4 years ago

    4972 Comments

    Great article, all departments should follow this.
    Officers would lower risk of injury, Inmates would properly be moved to next location. These transport officers are the only thing standing between an inmates freedom verse Life in prison, I'm thinking only highly trained vigilant officers should even be considered for this position. Not only is the untrained officer in danger But, the public is put in danger when this desperate inmate has escaped.
    Stay Safe...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    shaun741

    over 4 years ago

    2758 Comments

    If this was adopted by all departments the number of escapes and injured staff would go down

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