COCKE COUNTY - A former employee accused of bringing drugs into the Cocke County Jail Annex has been taken into custody.
The Cocke County Sheriff's Office presented evidence before a Cocke County Grand Jury and indictments were handed down against 23-year-old Charles Webb. He was employed with the sheriff's office for 7 months.
Since the indictments, Webb has been fired and an investigation began, according to the Cocke County Sheriff's Office.
Webb was indicted for four counts of introduction of drugs into a penal institution, the release states.
The sheriff's office administration said they received information concerning potential illegal activity by Webb and began an internal investigation which led to his termination and criminal charges.
Two other jail employees, Jason Phillips and Alissa Lane, were terminated from employment on June 29, 2017, according to Sheriff Armando Fontes.
Investigators said the officers are accused of committing serious policy violations and potential civil rights violations.
"In this case, I can't give any details, with these two employees, they were in clear violation of departmental policy," said Fontes. "And they also in my opinion, I think that they are potentially in violation of civil rights, based on their actions."
Phillips had been employed for a year. Lane worked at the jail for 2 years. The sheriff's office said they've been terminated pending the results of the investigation.
"With our pay, and the selective few people that want to work in a jail, it makes it tough to find those key people to benefit a community in an environment like that," said Fontes.
Fontes said he personally contacted the FBI to investigate this case due to the potential of civil rights violations.
In a release from Fontes, he explained when and why his office will investigate an incident and when the investigation will be handed over to another agency.
"I nor my administration will tolerate criminal behavior from any employee of the Sheriff's Office. We will investigate our own people and in more serious incidents will request the assistance from state and federal agencies.
We expect our employees to be professional law abiding citizens and examples of moral conduct. Our citizens deserve a honorable department that leads by example.
Our jail has recently gone through some administrative and supervisory changes and I want to compliment our Jail Administrator Bob Hogan for enforcing departmental standards and policy in the facility.
A jail to a county is full of serious liabilities and we need employees who are mature, educated, moral, and professional. The conduct of these former employees is unacceptable and as long as I am Sheriff I will not tolerate criminal and immoral behavior.
I want to thank my administrative staff and Detective Thornton for a job well done. I will continue to work to maintain a professional and accountable department. I will release more information at a later date concerning the actions of Phillips and Lane when the investigation is complete."
Fontes said hiring people for the jail can be tough as the job requires a lot of patience and maturity.
"You have an environment where officers are assaulted, you have an occasion where the inmates will get mouthy and cuss some of the officers, and yet the officer in return is supposed to be polite and professional and deal with the situation while maintaining their cool, and that's difficult," said Fontes.
Fontes says the rumor of inmates conducting a fight club is false, and has nothing to do with the charges against any of the officers.
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