Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland said it was "a failure to communicate" after a prisoner walked away sometime Sunday from a federal prison camp in Millington and local authorities did not know about it.
In a news conference Tuesday, Commissioner Roland demanded improvements on how neighborhoods surrounding the facility will be notified in the future.
"He is 37 years old, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds and considered dangerous," the commissioner said of federal inmate Travis Ware, who was missing from a reported bed check Sunday evening.
It was not until Monday evening when Ware, who was serving a nearly 20-year sentence for distributing five grams of cocaine in 2003, when Roland was notified through FOX13 News that the inmate has escaped. As well, the Millington Police Department learned about the escapee from a fax they received on Monday.
The police didn't send out a media alert or even alert Mayor Terry Jones. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office or county leaders like Roland weren't notified until Monday evening.
"Last night I got a call from Greg Coy at FOX13 to ask me if I knew about this," Roland said. "I didn't. I immediately got on the phone. I called Mayor Terry Jones. He was not aware that this gentleman had left the prison camp."
Commissioner Roland is visibly outraged during the news conference and he wants a better system to let local authorities and Millington residents living near the prison to know immediately when someone tries to escape from the prison camp.
"I look at back at a movie, and I'm not being funny at all, in this movie 'Cool Hand Luke' there was this saying 'what we have here is a failure to communicate,'" Commissioner Roland said. "I think this is what we have here. I'm going to ask Commissioner (Mike) Ritz to help me put an ad hoc committee together so I can get all these agencies ... you know in this time of technology this should not happen."
FOX13 News contacted the Federal Bureau of Prisons for an explanation about its policy when alerting local police and elected officials when there is a prison escape. The documents from the Bureau of Prisons, though, don't appear to say the locals need to be in the loop.
"The constituents of this district needs to know, need to know," Roland said.
The U.S. Marshals Office in Memphis told FOX13 News that Ware, who was transferred to the Millington federal facility in May 2012, has connections to the eastern part of Tennessee and he maybe there now.