The annual Anson County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy held its first session last Thursday.
In this first session, the class held its orientation before learning about the history of the office of the sheriff. They then divided into groups to tour the sheriff’s office and jail before heading back up to the office for a review and Q&A session.
Captain Freddie Paxton led the tour of the jail and explained day-to-day operations and the procedure for booking inmates. The jail, built in 1984, has a maximum population of 60. At the time of the tour, the jail had 31 inmates. “Welcome to the Anson County jail,” a sign on the door greeted the guests. “This is not the Country Club.”
The tour included peeks at the booking area, control center and the jail area. Paxton said that the facility never fails inspection. “We have a good staff and they stay on top of things,” he said. “There are two daily checks we are required to do a day, but we try to do three.The minimum standards are not enough for us.”
Although the jail was very clean, Paxton said that it was the norm and not due to any special effort for the tour. “Each shift cleans facility and it is repainted once a year,” he said. “We take pride in it. We are proud of our jail and the sheriff is proud of his jail.”
After the tours, attendees had several questions for Sheriff Tommy Allen, including several about the jail. After one asked if anyone from Anson County was on death row, Allen talked about Ted Anthony Prevatte, who is awaiting execution for the murder of his girlfriend in 1993. (Allen initially arrested Prevatte in 1974. Prevatte was found to be wanted in Georgia and was transferred and found guilty. He was given the death penalty, which was later commuted to a life sentence. Despite Allen’s multiple objections, Prevatte was paroled to Anson County after serving only 20 years. After returning, Prevatte later killed his girlfriend.)
Allen also explained the sheriff’s department’s website, including the inmate search feature. He also answered questions on how lineups are held and what the longest time anyone had stayed in his jail was (almost four years). At the time of the tour, five of the 31 inmates were being held on murder charges. A sixth suspect related to the November murder of Highway 747 will be brought in after he is released from the Union County Jail, where he is being held on separate charges.
Some of the attendees have gone through the class before but said later that there is always something new each time.
The class will be held each Thursday through April 10.