2 Harford correctional officers fired Guards, prisoners had relationships

May 16, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Harford County Bureau

BEL AIR -- Two guards at the Harford County Detention Center have been fired for having social relationships with current or former inmates, one of which involved a sexual liaison at the jail.

DeWayne Curry, a spokesman for the Harford County sheriff's office, identified the fired guards as James Roberts, 39, and Connie Russell, 32. They were notified of their dismissals late Thursday.

Mr. Roberts, a correctional officer for three years, was found guilty earlier this month of seven violations of the police code of conduct by a three-member administrative hearing board.

Harford County Sheriff Robert E. Comes said the charges against Mr. Roberts stemmed from an incident in August in which Mr. Roberts had sex with a female inmate at the detention center.

Ms. Russell, a guard for two years, had been found guilty by a nTC separate administrative hearing board of five violations of the police conduct code, Sheriff Comes said.

She had established an off-duty social relationship with a convicted felon after he was released from the detention center, the sheriff said.

The administrative hearing boards had recommended to the sheriff that the guards be dismissed.

The sheriff said the dismissals should prevent such incidents at thejail in the future. Relationships with current and former inmates are prohibited under the police conduct code.

Sheriff Comes said the charges followed an investigation into allegations that some guards at the jail, just outside Bel Air, were using drugs. Sheriff Comes said no evidence was found that any guards were illegally using or dealing drugs.

Four detention center guards, including Mr. Roberts and Ms. Russell, were suspended with pay when the investigation began April 1.

A third guard charged with seven counts of misconduct is scheduled to appear before an administrative hearing board May 22.

The fourth guard was cleared by the investigation of any wrongdoing and has returned to duty, said Sheriff Comes.

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