Records query: New jail chief cleans house

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.38.10 PMI have had to make an anonymous FB account because of RETALIATION at the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office. We have been formally warned on paper that we are not to look into anything going on under the GOOD OLE BOY system and if we do, we will be terminated. Because of this, I have been forced to make this Facebook Account to let the public know what is happening inside your very own Sheriff’s Office. – Offended Jailer

MC LENNAN JAILERS RESIGN AFTER QUESTIONING

WACO – One female jailer remarked in disbelief about the stupidity of firing people for looking at a database page.

“You can’t add anything to it; you can’t take anything away. Only special people can do that.”

But her decision to leave her job of 15 years had been building for a long time because of the fear of retaliation at any time.

Oh Lord. For years now..we get a memo Monday saying ‘you shall always do this..failure to do so could result in termination,’ said Teresa Bennett. We roll along a week, 2 days..maybe a month and get a memo about the same thing saying  ‘we will never do this..failure to go by policy could result in termination’…do it, don’t do it, do it, don’t do it…geez..after a while people quit careing. If you had vacation or worked on another shift you were always afraid you would get into trouble because the rules changed daily and each shift did things different..too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

An undetermined number of corrections officers – some with multi-decade experience – are no longer employed at the McLennan County Jail after leaving in murky circumstances involving a probe of staff inquiries into a computer database detailing when and why officers allegedly booked Jail Captain Ricky Armstrong’s wife for driving while intoxicated. Estimates reach as many as 30 who have left since the first of the year.

Armstrong replaced Captain John Kollinek following his departure for a new job with the Baylor University police force in July of 2015.

More than one source demanding anonymity contacted The Legendary recently regarding the details of a harrowing series of investigations carried out by CID Detectives Scaramucci and Bond into when and how jailers accessed the records.

According to knowledgeable sources, those pinpointed in the questioning chose to either resign or face termination. As of Monday, newly promoted Lt. Jennifer Howell is no longer employed at the jail, though inquiries yielded no reason why.

Facebook is just on fire about all this,” said one source, who pointed out that if one is not “friended” by the account holder, there is no access to the postings. “I’m not sure how all that works.”

Another, who long ago resigned, said “It gets to be sickening, this thing of a relative of a department employee being brought in the front door for DWI, then walking right out the back door.”

Corrections Officer Jo D Wilson said, I was questioned by CID, never wrote anything (but) was just recorded and then I made the decision to turn in my resignation, I was not asked to resign. I worked my two weeks after turning in my resignation, but I was never asked why I resigned by any of my superiors and was not granted an exit interview.

She spoke of being given a polygraph exam.

Said Offended Jailer: The investigation and threatening is to scare anyone from speaking of this exact situation.

The entries on Offended Jailer’s Facebook page spoke of jailers being threatened with blackballing by County officials, to see that they never get another decent job.

While it is a criminal offense to make personal use of databases controlled by federal and state authorities – such as NCIC, TCIC and TLETS – it is a violation of Sheriff’s Office policy to probe the internal records kept by the department for other than professional reasons, according to Captain Armstrong’s memo directed to staff.

Many of the night shift jailers advise that they personally observed Captain Armstrong’s wife, Charlene Fulmer Armstrong, admitted to the jail for her third or more DWI.  Now all records of her being there are gone, except the ‘holdover’ records.  Not sure if they overlooked this or it cannot be removed.  After word got out at the jail, the detectives, Scaramucci and Bond, came to the jail to advise, “threaten” the jailers not to talk about it or look it up on the computer.  The belief is that Ms. Armstrong was brought in by a Trooper, unknown name.  I’m sure this could easily be discovered.  Hope you can uncover what happened here,” wrote a confidential source who used a pseudonym.

One would think such a fact could be obtained with ease, but the truth is, Department of Public Safety officials deem those kind of records as “criminal history,” which are off-limits to public information act inquiries, according to a Department spokesman.

To further complicate matters, Mrs. Armstrong also goes by the name of Bahnsen. Sheriff’s Office records obtained confidentially from an unnamed source reveal a history of arrest and confinement for DWI under that name, as well.

Of the several types of database records obtained, “BKSM,” which it was learned stands for booking summary, and “ICLP,” which we are informed stands for some derivative of prisoner classification, show extensive entries under the name of Charlotte Armstrong.

Following discrete inquiry, it was learned that if confronted, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office officials intend to represent that a total of 13 such entries beginning on December 27, 2015, at a few minutes before midnight, the date of a rumored arrest for DWI, were made by staff who were curious about the disposition of the matter.

Neither copies of the “holdover” records or a precise definition of that term seems to be available under prevailing conditions – conditions in which career earnings of retirement funds, benefits and the prestige of faithful service are on the line.

Our source informed us, The date is December 27, 2015, or that is remembered.  The information on the holdover is only under her CID#.  I don’t believe that there is any way to get a copy of it.  They are calling everyone in, one at t time, to talk to the detectives if they see that they have looked at it on the computer.  They obviously do not want anyone talking about this.

There is a “Form 6” filled out on every booking – in or out – and those do not seem to be available. Mrs. Armstrong/Bahnsen is listed only under the CID number, an exponent of the internal record keeping system.

Asked why those forms are not available, and if it’s not a criminal offense to destroy an official document or withhold the evidence contained therein, our informant replied, “Yes, I would think so…I don’t know what happened to it.  I am trying to get you the name of a female that worked there for about 15 years that recently put her 2 weeks notice in along with a scathing letter about why she quit and the situation at the jail.  They called her in and terminated her effective immediately. She may be willing to talk.”

Later, our informant wrote back to say, “Her name is Teresa Bennett.  You can contact her on facebook.  She is the one holding a big fish in her profile pic.  I do not know her myself, my contact at the jail told me about it.  Check out her facebook page, she has an article posted on it about bad management.  I think if you contact her she may talk to you.  Especially now that everything is fresh.  People are quitting at the jail right and left.”

We learned that Ms. Bennett’s service at the jail stretched back 15 years. She responded to our inquiries on her Facebook page and on “Offended Jailer,” the anonymous Facebook page.

Said Ms. Bennett, I wasn’t escorted out..lol..I had been carrying all of my stuff since Dec..I simply turned it in..and left..but I didn’t get an exit interview..I don’t think they do those now..probably because so many are leaving.. I wasn’t questioned about anything..lmao.. I simply asked for a wing spot that is pretty much an only male spot..I was told not only no but that I didn’t deserve it, couldn’t be put anywhere (I worked everywhere) and that all I did was bitch ( he (a supervisor) confuses questions with bitching) he also told me that none of my co workers wanted to work with me. I knew from his attitude that I would never get anywhere…plain and simple. So I typed up my resignation. The next day I was told they accepted my resignation effective immediately, so I left. I’m signing my employment paperwork tomorrow with HEB…

A Facebook friend of hers named Amber Wilson posted on her page, I’m so sad right now… I loved working at McLennan County because of all the wonderful co-workers I had… So many of the staff who worked so hard and dedicated so many years there have recently resigned… When you see your “Officer of the Year”, “Supervisor of the Year”, and the only person willing to go so much above and beyond to take her time and sew the county property to help the county (this is the very minimal to describe these three amazing employees…) all resigned within one month, why is there not an investigation going on? You don’t lose that many years of experience and dedication in a good work environment… Every person I am talking about went above and beyond EVERY DAY they were at work… I hope you all know how much you co-workers miss you and are sad that you are all gone… Everyone except the right people recognize there is a problem… I hope for the remaining officers that the Sheriff will come out and investigate what is going on and that you all can answer without fearing retaliation for telling the truth…

Another detail they shared is that Jail Detective Robert Fulmer is Jail Captain Ricky Armstrong brother-in-law. He has charge of a staff of five persons who investigate criminal matters at the jail.

All arrest records on Mrs. Armstron/Bahnsen are current only through the year 2007, the time of her second arrest for DWI. No others subsequent to that date appear in the documents obtained so far.

All other public information act requests are pending.

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