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Dorchester Co. Sheriff’s Office credits training, experience for helping save inmate’s life

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:19 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 4:12 AM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says years of training, experience and quick thinking by detention officers helped save the life of an inmate who attempted to take his own life.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office released video of a Dec. 22 incident at the Dorchester County Jail.

“If you don’t learn something every day that you are on the job, in this particular job, you’re not doing it right,” Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Rick Carson said. “This is, in law enforcement, this is probably the most dangerous job.”

At around 11:15 a.m., an inmate was ordered by a detention officer to go back to his room after eating lunch, according to the incident report.

Instead, he went to the top of the stairs and after a short conversation with a detention officer, said “I’m done.”

“The lieutenant who was out there talking, and the other two detention officers are not only talking him away from the rail, or trying to, they’re buying time for that team to come in through the door,” Carson said.

As soon as the door behind the inmate opens, the man could be seen on video jumping off the balcony as deputies reach over and pull him back to safety.

Deputies said the man was not hurt during the attempt and was placed on suicide watch for the rest of the day.

“From the time he walked out of his cell until they had him on the floor was about nine minutes,” Dorchester County Sheriff LC Knight said. “Think about how big this place is with 200 people in it, and then, you muster that kind of a crowd together to save that boy’s life. That was a great job.”

The man had been sentenced earlier that day for a crime in North Charleston and had also received bad news from a family member, according to Carson.

The sheriff said the incident can be used to help train detention officers in the future.

“We will use these procedures as training events if it comes up again to learn from this,” Knight said. “Maybe we won’t see it today, but after several more views, we may see something we maybe can improve on.”

Lt. Carson says inmates who survive a suicide attempt are offered counseling from the jail.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

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