FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned that a power outage hit the Fulton County Jail for several hours today.
The power has been restored, but not before creating major problems for inmates and workers.
Channel 2's Mark Winne learned that while the power was out, there was no air conditioning, no security cameras, a court session canceled, a delay in people getting out on bond and other issues at the jail.
Fulton County Sheriff's Lieutenant Colonel Adam Lee said power was out for roughly five hours and though an emergency generator kicked in for some things, other important functions stayed off the whole time.
Lee said the jail video surveillance system, a critical security measure, was still out more than an hour after the power came back about 2:10 p.m.
“We’re ensuring that our staff members are doing their due diligence to increase their security rounds to make sure that the inmates are in their secured areas,” Lee said.
Lee said with power out to computers, critical checks could not be made on people bonding out so they didn’t get out until the power came back.
“No one was allowed to get out,” Lee said.
Winne spoke to one man who was delayed getting out of jail.
“It was terrifying. I was so ready to go, I was anxious to go and by being locked in that cell, it was blacked out,” said Lamont Anthony Mays.
Lee said some doors still worked electronically and some didn't but keys did work in case of emergency.
Jailers also faced another serious problem – Inmate medication was delayed.
“When we do the medication, we have an electronic process wherein we have to use a computer,” Lee said.
Lee said one session of court at the jail was canceled.
And it was plain hot in the jail.
“In a perfect world, we would want to have a generator that could power the entire jail and keep the jail running above an emergency level,” Lee said.
Lee said there were no major incidents as a result of the power outage, which he conceded is a huge blessing, especially since there is not enough manpower to fully compensate for the video surveillance.
Lee said the power outage would have impacted the jail's ability to respond in a major emergency. He said the staff responded coolly and efficiently in a short-staffed, overcrowded jail.
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