A former Harris County Sheriff’s Office detention officer fired in February for smuggling vodka and tobacco to a jail inmate in 2013 was arrested today on a resulting felony charge.
Lauren N. Sandefer, 25, is charged with bringing a prohibited item into a correctional facility. (Mug shot attached). Bail was set at $5,000.
She is the third former Harris County Jail detention officer charged with a crime this year for delivering contraband to inmates. The HCSO employs about 1,300 full-time and part-time detention officers, who are trained civilians.
The HCSO Office of Internal Affairs continues to search for any evidence of delivery of jail contraband or other illegal conduct by staff.
“My message has been clear all along. Anyone who commits a crime while guarding others accused of crimes will face the same brand of justice as the inmates,” Sheriff Adrian Garcia said. “That is one of the many ways we run the nation’s third largest jail as a public safety facility accountable to the taxpayers and other law-abiding members of the public.”
“Fortunately more than 99 percent of our employees are honest, diligent and hard-working,” Sheriff Garcia continued. “It’s just a shame that the actions of a miniscule number of people put their co-workers’ hard-earned, positive reputation at risk.”
Sandefer went to work for the HCSO in April 2013 and was fired in February 2014 for bringing contraband into the jail last September. She also let an inmate use her personal cell phone, in violation of regulations.
Jail employees are no longer allowed to bring personal phones into the jail without special permission. They are prevented from bringing in heavy bags such as backpacks. As usual, employees are subject to random security searches.