This just in from TJ Hart – Simon

As the new charges were being handed down and the amounts increased for Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Wednesday, Frebruary 3, 2010, I spoke on the telephone with Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy and asked him about  the drug trafficking case involving Ron and Misty, the Haleigh Cummings case, some jail escapes and matters of safety pertaining to the jail.

TJ: Good afternoon, Sheriff Hardy. Thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with me.

JH: Not a problem.

TJ: First year as a Sheriff…a lot of challenges including the disapperance of Haleigh Cummings. Any light at the end of the tunnel as far as a resolution in this investigation.

JH: This is an ongoing investigation.

TJ: Are we still looking for a live child? Some have stated that the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is looking for either a live child or possibly a dead child, but prefers to think the child is alive.

JH: Don’t you want us to find a live child?

TJ: Yes! Who wouldn’t?

JH: I believe we are looking for a live child, but we–like the families–are prepared to for a real possibility that she might not be alive.

TJ: Where is Ronald Cummings being held in the Putnam County Jail?

JH: He is in solitary confinement.

TJ: What is it like? All I know about solitary is what I’ve seen in those old prison movies from the 1940’s.

JH: He has a small cot and a toilet.

TJ: A cot and a pot?

JH: You could say that.

TJ: How has this case affected your detectives and other deputies working the case?

JH: It has been very intense. Some of our officers have had to be pulled off the case from time-to-time due to exhaustion. Losing this child has been like losing one of our own children.

TJ: I want to ask you a few things about your jail….

JH: Excellent questions…

TJ: It is common knowledge around here that the jail is overcrowded. It’s a facility built to  house about 236 inmates and at last count, you have 360 behind bars there!

JH: I knew about this problem coming into office. It’s been talked about for nearly a decade and now it’s time for some meaningful action. Just this past year we’ve had a jail break where two escapees killed an innocent woman. Later, we had an inmate shot and killed trying to escape.  Our inmate to officer ratio is too high–officers get hurt… We need about 29 more jail personnel.

TJ: How much worse does it need to get?

JH: We have the lowest bond schedules in the state. We are backed up on warrants served due to the over crowding at the jail.

TJ: Isn’t the jail facing the very real possibility of being shut down by the feds due to overcrowding? It has happened before in other places, correct?

JH: I think it could happen. It’s frustrating….my job is to catch bad guys and get them off the street and housed safely away from our citizens–that’s what I was elected to do!

TJ: What action steps are you taking to remedy this problem?

JH: I plan on meeting with the County Manager and the County Commission shortly. We need to take actions to expedite the judicial process. This ISN’T a catch a release program!

TJ Hart

Be Sociable, Share!