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Why was the alert about the escaped inmate not immediate? Henrico Police statement doesn't explain.

Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 22, 2023

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico Police responded to community concerns about the way the county handled alerting the community about the escape of a Virginia Department of Corrections inmate from St. Mary's Hospital in a Friday social media post.

The post, however, did not specifically answer the question of why a reverse 911 alert went out to neighbors nearly three hours after Henrico Police learned about the escape.

In the statement, Henrico Police said they learned about the escaped inmate at 5:47 a.m. on Saturday, August 12.

They requested a reverse 911 alert at 8:10 a.m.

The alert actually went out at 8:37 a.m.

Henrico alert timeline

The alert did not include a picture of the inmate nor the detail that he was an inmate receiving medical treatment at the hospital.

People who live in the area told CBS 6 they were concerned that the alert went out nearly three hours after the inmate's escape and that it did not include many details.

"I would really like to understand from the county and the city's perspective what the protocol is moving forward, how they are re-evaluating that after this situation where something could have gone very very wrong," Erin Nord, who lives in a neighborhood across from the hospital, said.

Erin Nord

On Friday, Henrico Police posted a statement on Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor in an attempt to address community concerns.

In the statement, police said they recognized the concerns but did not explain why they opted to wait to send out an alert.

Police did provide a few more details about their actions that Saturday morning.

Henrico Police said after learning about the escapee at 5:47 a.m. on Saturday, they dispatched 40 units to search for the inmate and created a perimeter for the search around the hospital.

In their statement, police said they requested an alert at 8:10 a.m. because there was reason to believe the inmate may have still been in a nearby neighborhood.

Henrico alert statement

CBS 6 reached out to Henrico County supervisors Patricia O'Bannon (Tuckahoe) and Dan Schmitt (Brookland), who represent Henrico residents who live around St. Mary's, and have not received a response. CBS 6 also reached out to Board Chair Frank Thornton (Fairfield) and Vice-Chair Tyrone Nelson (Varina), but we have not heard back.

Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas also declined a request for an interview.

As for why the alert did not include a photo of the inmate or the detail that the person police were looking for was an inmate, a county spokesperson said alert notifications are limited to 160 characters and there was no photo available at that time to include. He added that the message details were determined to be the essential information residents needed to keep themselves safe.

Eleven days after he escaped the Virginia Department of Corrections custody, the search for escaped inmate Naseem Roulack continues.

The Woodbridge man was serving a 13-year sentence for aggravated malicious wounding, grand larceny and hit and run, according to VDOC officials.

He was taken from Greensville Correctional Center to St. Mary's Hospital for medical treatment, according to VDOC officials.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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