Jail officer fired, one of 6 arrested this year

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston County Detention Center officer was fired Thursday after being charged with giving mini bottles of liquor, a cell phone and other contraband to inmates.

Thirty four year old Venetia White was charged with misconduct in office and furnishing contraband to a prisoner.

A Live 5 News investigation revealed six detention officers at jails in the Tri-County area have been arrested so far this year.

Three of them worked at the Charleston County Jail

Officials say two of the officers were arrested for crimes committed off duty, away from the jail.

"This is unusual for us, we almost never have anything like this," said Charleston County Assistant Sheriff Mitch Lucas, who used to run the Charleston County Jail.

A Berkeley County Detention officer was caught on surveillance cameras back in August, allegedly shoving an inmate against a wall and hitting him in the face.

Thomas Mims was charged with third degree assault on an inmate. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office says a second officer was arrested for an unrelated assault at the jail.

Last month Dorchester County Detention Center Officer Lillian Thomas was arrested after officials said $80,000 went missing from the jail.

Thomas was charged with breach of trust.

Lucas says from their first day on the job, officers face temptation from the inmates, who may try to get them to smuggle something in for them or ask for sex.

"If they fail, they've lost nothing and if they do happen to win, they gain something and the officer always loses," Lucas said.

Lucas says his jail, like most, does a thorough background check before hiring detention officers.

but he says that doesn't guarantee an officer will go bad and get caught.

"Almost every time we find an officer in an inappropriate relationship of some sort, it's because that inmate or another inmate rats them out," he said.

Lucas says detention officers are constantly reminded to watch their relationship with inmates.

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