Newton County Sheriff’s Department Faces Scrutiny After Prisoner Escape And Manhunt

The Newton County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia is facing scrutiny after an escaped prisoner led to a week-long manhunt that ended with the inmate’s capture in Wake County, North Carolina. Kendrick Hurst escaped custody on May 4 while being transported from Piedmont Newton Hospital back to the Newton County Detention Center.

According to the department, an internal investigation is underway to determine who aided Hurst in his escape and whether proper policies were followed during his transport. The escape and subsequent manhunt have raised questions about the competence and transparency of the department under the leadership of Sheriff Ezell Brown who is seeking a fifth term in office.

Reports indicate that law enforcement officials came close to capturing Hurst several times but failed to apprehend him. In one instance, deputies were reportedly just seven feet away from the escaped inmate.

The department’s handling of the situation has drawn criticism from the public with residents in the area experiencing sleepless nights and heightened vigilance due to the heavy police presence and helicopter searches. The sheriff’s department released a statement defending the actions of its officers but the lack of transparency during the manhunt including turning off comments on social media posts and editing older posts while adding new ones that painted the department in a more positive light has raised concerns.

Sheriff Brown has been notably absent throughout the ordeal making no statements regarding the escape or the department’s efforts to recapture Hurst. The escaped prisoner situation has turned into a public relations nightmare for the Newton County Sheriff’s Department with memes circulating on social media mocking the department’s efforts.

As the internal investigation continues, the public awaits answers and accountability from their elected officials. The situation has become a cautionary tale about the importance of transparency and accountability in local government and law enforcement.