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Jailers get special training in two-week course here

Working in a jail involves more than just opening and closingcell doors, and area county jail employees are learning that thisweek and next during a jail officers training session here.

Seventeen jail officers, including seven from Lincoln County,are learning about various aspects of jail operation in the coursethat started Monday and will conclude next Friday.

“The theory part we’re doing this week,” said instructor BobbyMalley, training officer with the Rankin County Sheriff’sDepartment. “Next week it’ll be be practical, hands-on part.”

This week’s work has included training on communications, jailsecurity, inmate supervision and other aspects. Next week’sactivities will include first aid, inmate escort procedures andcontraband searches.

After this week, participants will have taken 31 tests onindividual chapters plus a final overall review, Malley said.Additional tests will follow next week.

Malley said the 80-hour training course provides for a betterquality employee.

“The days of hiring a man and putting him in the jail are over,”Malley said. “They need to be trained and educated on what to toexpect.”

Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte said the training, which hasbeen held in Natchez in recent years, was planned to coincide withthe opening of the county’s new jail facility.

Echoing Malley, Boyte said running a jail is an “awesomeresponsibility.” Jailers must deal with seven or eight differentclasses of inmates and make sure they are separated properly, mustget inmates to court and back and make sure inmates get and taketheir medication if needed, Boyte said.

For years, Boyte said, law enforcement training has focused ondeputies and officers on the street, while instruction of jailershas been neglected.

“The shortfall of that is lawsuits and things of that naturethat affect the county,” Boyte said.

Boyte said deputies have minimum standards they must meet, as do911 and communications dispatchers. The sheriff was glad to seetraining offered for jail officers.

“Now we’re finally getting around to the last rung on theladder, and that’s jailers,” Boyte said.

Boyte said the state currently does not require training forjailers. However, in the event of legal action, the sheriff saidthe training would go a long way toward showing that jailers werefamiliar with proper jail operation and security procedures.

“It’s not yet required, but it’s something everybody will wishthey had if they get sued in court,” Boyte said.

The training is recognized by the National Sheriffs Association.Other counties represented at the training session include Pike,Wilkinson, Adams, Copiah and Claiborne.

Training participants said they have found it very useful sofar.

Jerry Rice, a jail officer from Adams County, said he haslearned about jail safety and security, as well as how to searchfor contraband and liability with jail operation.

Hollis Ratcliff, who recently began work with the Lincoln CountySheriff’s Department, said the training is teaching him “all I needto know.”

“It’s helped me a whole lot,” Ratcliff said. “It lets you knowwhat the law says you can do and can’t do.”