DUNCAN, Okla._A Stephens County Detention Center officer is without a job after investigators say they caught him stealing a handful of prescription pills that belonged to an inmate.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney says his staff was alerted to the theft after an inmate was brought in on arrest charges. Soon after, some of his medication came up missing after it had been processed and set aside for him by deputies.
Initially, investigators thought the inmate may have simply taken more than his prescribed dose and ordered a recount of the pills for safe measure. However, a review of surveillance video captured detention officer Mitchell Lewis tampering with the bottle.
According to court documents, Lewis immediately became nervous, started to tremble and even looked like he was about to cry. Once the K-9 and narcotic deputy told him to hand over the missing pills, Lewis immediately complied and told the deputy he threw them away after he got scared.
Sheriff Wayne McKinney says terminating one of his own is never something he looks forward to doing, but if it means cleaning up his jail, the choice is simple.
"The public puts their trust my deputies, my detention officers, I put my trust in them and once they betray that trust, they are held at a very high standard. I make sure that all my employees are going to be held accountable for what they do," Sheriff McKinney said.
McKinney says Lewis cooperated with investigators and told them he initially pocketed the pills, but then threw them in the trash once investigators became suspicious. He says the detention officer had been working for him just under a year and had never been in any trouble at work or with the law.
"You're going to miss some of them sometimes, and sometimes people change. You do what you can, you're recruiting and hiring the human race and we all know that we are sinners, so he just crossed the line this time," said Sheriff McKinney.
Sheriff McKinney says Lewis' role as a detention officer is what makes this crime to him even more serious. He says no matter what side of the law people are on, those caught breaking it will pay the time.
"If something like this occurs and it is a crime, then I will prosecute them, just like I would anybody else, to the fullest," said Sheriff McKinney.
As for the reason to why he did it, Lewis said he had back pain and was hoping the five stolen hydrocodone pills would help him.