Bozeman Police release findings from Briggs escape investigation
Updated On: Mar 04 2014 03:12:46 PM MST
The Bozeman Police Department released the findings from an internal investigation in to the escape of rape suspect Kevin Briggs. Kevin Briggs walked out of the Law and Justice Center in Bozeman on February 1, prompting a city, county and statewide manhunt.
The report found two officers were personally accountable for Briggs escape. Those officers were both notified they each face two weeks suspension without pay. The report shows Officer Lucas Chaffins cleared himself of watching Briggs by radio at 7:19a.m.Officers who heard the call believed another officer had been assigned to watch Briggs. The report also showed the acting shift supervisor, Tracy Senenfelder, failed to recognize what was happening at the time, even after another employee alerted him to the situation at 7:40a.m. That was 10 minutes before Briggs managed to escape.
In total the report shows Briggs was left unmonitored for 31 minutes. During that time the report says Briggs asked for an officer and checked the door handle. The report says at 7:50 a.m. Briggs opened the door and took off. The report says no officers heard the chair propped against the door fall.
Briggs wasn't noticed missing though until 7:59 a.m. when the original arresting officer noticed the door to the interview room opened and the chair on the floor.
The report says the officer yelled saying Briggs was no longer in the room, and the day shift officer assigned to Briggs incorrectly replied that Briggs was moved to the detention center.
The report found that night shift supervisors properly managed the initial arrest and handling of Briggs, but says the acting day shift supervisor did not realize that the day shift officer who was responsible for monitoring Brigg was not watching him and had not been relieved.
The reports also details why Briggs was not kept in a locked room. According to the report police have to physically monitor people in an interview room because it does not meet the rules and regulation governing a "holding cell." The report says the interview room is used because secure holding cells in the jail do not allow for adequately recording interviews and in the past poor audio quality has hindered prosecution. Chief Price addressed this issue in a press conference on Monday.
"There is a historical stance that to lock those doors in an interview room turns it from an interview room to a detention room and there is also a question of fire code, we have asked for a legal review to find out if that information is real or antiquated," said Price.
Price also apologized to the community, saying they are working to make sure something like this does not happen again.
"I apologize to each and every member of our community, that the impact this incident has had with regard to their sense of safety, and I hope with these steps we can begin to rebuild public trust," said Price.
As of Monday morning Kevin Briggs remained jailed in Oregon.