Bellevue inmate escape prompts changes

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 18 at 7:56 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. - When the inmate transfer vans pulled up at Bellevue District Court on Tuesday, there was an extra officer waiting for them. An armed commissioned officer helped an unarmed Police Support Officer (PSO) remove the inmates from the van and guide them into the courtroom.

Late last month there was only one PSO in charge of two inmates. One, still in wrist and ankle shackles, made a break for it and jumped into a waiting getaway car.

The PSO was forced to stay with second inmate while the first, 21-year-old Windell Downs, got away. Downs is still at large and Bellevue P.D. is changing its inmate transfer procedure.

Lt. Marcia Herndon said the system has worked well.

“There have only been three escapes in the last 30 years at this facility,” said Herndon. “Both the other attempted escapees were recaptured before getting off the campus.”

But with Downs still on the run, Bellevue P.D. is considering adding staff of assigning commissioned officers to assist in loading and unloading inmates.

Downs is a light skinned black male, 6-foot tall and 174 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Downs has a medium build with several tattoos on his neck and arms.

 

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