GRAFTON, N.D. — Inspectors with the North Dakota Department of Corrections couldn't remember the last time — if ever — inmates overpowered jail or prison guards to escape. But that's what happened May 28, when two men did so at Walsh County jail .
Inspectors discovered through jail texts and phone calls the two men had plotted the escape. The mom of one of the men said it was to get a meth fix.
According to the report, on May 28, a female jailer walked into the cell of 29-year-old Bo carrier and 30-year-old Karlin Dahl. They were sharing the cell as part of COVID-19 protocols following their arrests four days earlier on drug charges.
According to the report, Carrier attacked the guard from behind and tried to take her keys but failed. She was then locked in the cell.
"Officers are trained to go into those cells and to ensure the appropriate people are in those cells, and to make sure they are safe, and looking within the cell and making sure there is nothing in the cell that is a safety concern," said Lance Anderson, who is the deputy director of facility inspections for the North Dakota Department of Corrections.
Once out of their cell, Dahl allegedly overpowered another jail guard and the men tried to lock that guard in an office. The report says the soon-to-be-escapees yelled for someone to open the door to the jail.
A dispatcher, who has access to open the door from the dispatch center which is located in the same area as the jail, originally said no. But after more kicking she opened the door and Carrier and Dahl ran free.
"On the jail side of things everything was done correctly," explained Anderson.
The issue was with the dispatch center, which is run by the Walsh County Emergency Management Department.
In their report, DOC investigators wrote "the 911 dispatcher had access to unlock exterior correctional facility doors, which is a correctional facility responsibility. However, there were no post orders or training for staff at this post."
"There were some changes made internally to increase security to make sure this event doesn't happen again," said Anderson.
Those changes include hiring an additional jailer, along with a new training policy for dispatchers. Also, new radios are being ordered for better communication between jail guards and the dispatch center.
"So that way they know the safety procedures and security procedures to ensure they are opening the doors for the correct person," said Anderson.
Walsh County Sheriff Ron Jurgens said he agrees with the report. The jail had just passed a DOC inspection with no problems.
He said the dispatcher who opened the door has worked there for nearly two decades. She was not disciplined since there was no policy in place for her to follow.