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Inmate flees during transfer officers may lose their jobs


Two Baltimore City correctional officers may be fired after an inmate under their supervision escaped early yesterday while being transferred in leg irons, handcuffs and a waist chain.

Raymond Joseph Bell, 40, who was being held on drug charges, was among 12 inmates being moved from the city's overcrowded Detention Center to the Northwestern District police station about 3:15 a.m. yesterday. He was to be returned to the Detention Center later in the day, said Barbara Cooper, spokeswoman for the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services. Mr. Bell, along with 11 other inmates, all of them in leg irons, waist chains and handcuffs, were supervised by two correctional officers, one a sergeant who is a seven-year veteran and the other an officer for about two years. Their names were not released by detention officials because they are involved in a personnel action. After the officers escorted the inmates into the station house, they realized one was missing, Ms. Cooper said.

LaMont Flanagan, commissioner of the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, said both officers have been suspended pending a hearing for their termination.

"In supervising inmates, correctional officers are mandated to maintain direct supervision of all inmates at all times," Mr. Flanagan said.

He said that based on an internal investigation, it has been determined that the officers did not maintain such constant direct supervision.

Mr. Bell had not been arrested as of last night.

Mr. Bell has never been charged with a violent crime, Mr. Flanagan said.

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