N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--March 1998

Quick Capture Result of Cooperation

HUNTERSVILLE - An inmate who recently escaped while working as part of a prison work crew didn’t get much time to enjoy his new-found freedom. Within a few short hours, correction officers had the inmate back in custody.

Richard D. Waldrop, an inmate at Lincoln Correctional Center, slipped away from a prison work crew that was picking up trash along I-77 near Huntersville early Friday morning, Jan. 30. He was captured soon thereafter not far from where he had been working.

Cooperation was cited as the key factor in the quick capture of the escapee. "It was certainly a team effort by a lot of different agencies working together," said Ron Jones, superintendent of Lincoln Correctional Center.

Correction officers from Lincoln Correctional Center, Mecklenburg Correctional Center, Charlotte Correctional Center and Catawba Correctional Center all played vital roles in the quick recapture of the inmate. Additional cooperation and support was provided by the N.C. Highway Patrol, and the Police Departments of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cornelius and Huntersville.

Jerry Moore, superintendent of Mecklenburg Correctional Center, and Richard Neely, superintendent of Charlotte Correctional Center, whose facilities were in the vicinity, provided rapid assistance immediately following the escape. These men were able to quickly deploy personnel and vehicles to the area and coordinate the initial tactical operations essential to the capture of the inmate.

"Richard Neely of the Charlotte Correctional Center actually got there before I did and was able to get the field units out pretty quickly," Jones said. "We were able to put out a good drag net within 20 minutes after he got there, which really helped a lot."

In addition, a helicopter provided by the highway patrol and the expertise of Sgt. Forrest Holmes, South Piedmont Area fugitive operations canine manager, were critical in providing the circumstances for a prompt capture.

"We knew the general direction he went and were able to get on his trail quickly with the help of the dogs," Jones said. "The helicopter kept him from moving. It’s always good if you can keep the escapee lying low, then the dogs can catch up with him."

The ultimate apprehension of the escapee was made by Correction Officers Thomas Patterson and Brian Dishman of Mecklenburg Correctional Center who caught up with the inmate on a creek bank.

"I told him to hit his face, and he finally got down," Dishman told a news crew at the scene. "Officer Patterson covered me as I crossed the creek bed and took him into custody." u

NC DOC Correction News- March 1998
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