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Inspectors find no major flaws after inmates overpower guards during violent escape from Walsh County jail

The only change the North Dakota Department of Corrections said the county had to fix: better train its dispatchers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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