Oklahoma County jail suicide prompts expanded detention officer training

State Health Department finds detention officers allowed Jeffrey Darling, 39, an ‘opportunity' to kill himself in February after failing to conduct a visual sight check as required.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: August 8, 2012

Employees of the Oklahoma County jail will receive expanded annual training in monitoring inmates after the jail was cited for the suicide death of an inmate in February.

Jail inspectors with the state Health Department found in a post-incident inspection in April that Jeffrey Darling, 39, was given the opportunity to commit suicide after one of the facility's detention officers accepted a verbal check through a paper-covered cell window rather than require Darling to remove the paper.

Darling hanged himself from a light fixture in his cell using a bed sheet Feb. 14.

“(The detention officer) conducted the required hourly sight checks,” the department's report reads. “However, he did not look into (Darling's) cell to observe him visually when he found paper covering the window of the cell door.”

Oklahoma Administrative Code requires hourly visual sight checks be conducted and documented at all the state's lockup facilities.

According to the report, Darling told the officer he was using the bathroom, and the officer then moved on to conduct sight checks of the other inmates.

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