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ODOC staff assist during covid-19 crisis

Saturday, June 13, 2020

LAWTON, Okla. – If they don’t watch their step, their latest assignment could be especially dangerous. 

“That’s what we do. We work dangerous situations everyday,” said Lt. Robert Laytham.

When the Comanche County Detention Center became the epicenter for Covid cases, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections volunteered to help.  

These correctional officers know how to combat an unseen intruder. 

“The Department of Corrections has done a great job curtailing covid,” Laytham said. “I think we are a role model around the state.” 

For the last several weeks, DOC volunteers have been scouring the jail, doing everything possible to keep healthy inmates safe.  

“We get spray, masks and soap, basically anything we want from DOC,” one inmate said. 

“We go around and make sure inmates wear masks, passing out cleaning supplies, helping their staff with moves, separating the negatives from the positives,” Sgt. Jacob Cole said. 

More than 200 Comanche County inmates who tested negative for the coronavirus were relocated to North Fork and Mabel Bassett Correctional Centers. 

“They are dependent on us for everything,” Mabel Bassett officer Jordan Flores said. “They can’t leave their cells. We take them everything. So, they really rely on us.” 

DOC employees from around the state are stepping up to work in these quarantine units. 

“We’ve had officers from just about every facility come in here to do the job and take care of business,” Capt. Kevin Kender said. “We are trying to ensure we have no more cases of Covid out here.” 

Working this special detail has required sacrifice from friends and family too. These dedicated DOC employees have been stationed here since mid-May. 

“It’s never easy to do but they are making it as easy as they can at home,” Cole said. “The department is doing whatever they can for us.”  

“The staff here has been great,” Sgt. Cole said. “The inmates have even thanked us for our help. Basically we are helping out anyway we can to get rid of this.” 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections – going above and beyond to serve and protect.

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