Hinds Co. leaders say new alert system may have contributed to Monday’s swift capture of escapee

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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RAYMOND, Miss. (WLBT) - Seventeen thousand people were notified about the inmates escaping from the Raymond Detention Center Monday, thanks to Hinds County’s newly implemented alert system.

Some county leaders say it may have even contributed to helping authorities capture one of the escapees so quickly.

Those alerts came in the form of a text message, phone call, or email that notified them their safety was at risk.

Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones and Supervisor Robert Graham say it’s possible it also led to the tip that allowed law enforcement to swiftly take one of the escapees back into custody.

“One or two people called in and described they saw someone matching the description of the detainees on Seven Springs Road, and that’s how the deputies were able to conduct a search, locate him and take him back into custody,” Jones said.

“We don’t know if it was just a coincidence or whether or not it was a result of the alert that the individual in the area received,” Graham said.

The system wasn’t supposed to fully go into effect until June, but it proved effective with only a few minor issues like some words being cut off in the text alerts.

As county leaders work out those kinks, they’re also working to get more people to sign up for the system.

You can do so by going to Hinds County’s website. One you’re there, you’ll see a tab that says, “Alert Hinds County.” Click on that, register for an account, and you’ll be good to go. You can also download the Everbridge app on your phone and subscribe to Hinds County alerts.

Even if you’re not signed up, you’ll still get future alerts if you’re in the location of the incident. However, signing up allows you to receive notifications even if you are not in the radius included in an alert, provide feedback to county leaders on how things are working, and reply to messages.

“The purpose of signing up is to be able to give us feedback as to whether or not you got it, what time you looked at the message, what time you read the message, and whether or not you made any comments,” Graham explained. “You are able to make comments to the message. Specifically, ‘I just saw someone, or I saw someone fitting that particular description’ and then we can take that information and feed it back to the sheriff’s department.”

The county paid about $30,000 for the system, according to Graham. Not only do county leaders have the ability to expand the coverage area of who receives alerts, but they can also send out notifications for things that don’t have to do with the jail - like severe weather.

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