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Beadle County Officials Consider Jail Changes

January 10, 2013, 5:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Beadle County Officials Consider Jail Changes
HURON, SD -

Beadle County officials are considering changes that could help prevent another jail escape.

Charles Beeney escaped from a Beadle County jail on Tuesday after threatening officers with what Beeney said was a homemade gun. Police arrested him later that same day.

After the escape, Sheriff Doug Solem met with his staff to review proper action for a situation like that.

"We've got policies and procedures in tact but we're just going to make sure we keep the ones that we have, that we're doing what we need to do for the safety of everybody," Solem said.

That will now include more extensive background checks when inmates arrive. Beeney had a long criminal past which included escapes from custody.

The sheriff's department already had some changes in the works that should help in the future, as well.

It recently upgraded its surveillance system with new monitors and cameras throughout the jail. The sheriff has also been advertising job openings in an effort to increase jail staff.

"Hopefully that'll help us out in these situations," Solem said.

Solem isn't sure what kind of escape attempt he and his staff could face in the future, so he wants to be ready for anything. When officers found Beeney’s clothes near the jail in Huron, they also found a shank made of a pencil, pen and bottle cap.

"You’ve just got to keep your heads up. Things change all the time and of course, people that we're dealing with change all the time also," Solem said.

And, Solem says, there's a lot of time to think of an escape plan while sitting in a cell.

Solem says staff didn't violate policy but he wants to make sure everyone knows what to do in certain situations.

Beeney is in the state penitentiary serving a two year sentence for unrelated charges.

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