Jail adds 8-foot high fence — to keep people out, Tenn. sheriff says

“They’ll do anything they can to sneak in drugs," the sheriff's office wrote in a Facebook post


By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer
        
NEWPORT, Tenn. — In an odd reversal of tradition, one county sheriff in east Tennessee is building an 8-foot-tall fence around his jail — to keep people out.

It will be topped with spools of razor wire, too, the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office wrote Dec. 15 on Facebook.

If all goes as hoped, the barrier will stop drug smugglers who are using an old jail-break tactic to deliver their goods.

The fence is being built about 6 feet from the jail’s walls and will be finished next week.
The fence is being built about 6 feet from the jail’s walls and will be finished next week. (Facebook/Cocke County Sheriff Office)

“Digging holes in the walls from two of our cells,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Then people approach (the) wall and shove the drugs into the jail.”

The department didn’t say how long this may have been going on, but a Dec. 4 post reported jail staff found heroin was being smuggled into the facility in Newport. Cocke County is along the Tennessee-North Carolina state line.

“They’ll do anything they can to sneak in drugs and today (officers) were able to stop it,” the department wrote Dec. 4. “This is a dangerous drug.”

A photo was shared of the new fence going into place, about 6 feet from the jail’s walls. It will be finished next week, officials said. Concrete is being used to fill in the holes in cell walls.

The sheriff’s office reports it also intends to install a “new body and cavity X-ray machine” that will be used on anyone entering the jail.

A new detention center is in the planning stages, and construction could begin next year. However, it could take as long as four years to finish, officials said.

©2021 The Charlotte Observer.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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