Union Leader, unionleader.com
BYLINE: Jason Schreiber, Union Leader Correspondent
East Kingston, NH
broke into locker containing gun, drove police cruiser say officials
Jarred Brisbois is suspected of breaking into the police department on May 11 while he was supposed to be washing cruisers and doing other odd jobs as part of an inmate trusty program run by the Rockingham County jail.
EAST KINGSTON - Rockingham County investigators say a drug addicted inmate trusty working at the East Kingston Police Department was left alone for several hours when he allegedly broke into an evidence room to steal heroin, busted into an officer's personal locker containing his gun and other equipment and later drove a police cruiser.
The new details into the break-in that authorities say put the public, law enforcement, and others at risk were revealed this morning at a press conference with Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing, County Attorney James Reams and Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid.
The inmate, Jarred Brisbois, is suspected of breaking into the police department on May 11 while he was supposed to be washing cruisers and doing other odd jobs as part of an inmate trusty program run by the Rockingham County jail.
Reams said Brisbois used heroin at the police department and smuggled drugs into the jail, prompting an investigation by the sheriff's department.
"The trusties are supposed to be supervised and the departments exercise their judgment in the level of supervision to provide for them. In this particular case, a trusty was taken to a police department on a Saturday. There was no other staff at the police department. When an officer left on patrol, the trusty was left alone in the police department for a period of hours where he had access to police equipment, police property, and tools which enabled him to break into the evidence room, which had been secured and locked," Reid said.
Reid said investigators believe he ingested heroin and smoked marijuana before being returned to the jail under the influence.
He is also suspected of smuggling heroin and a hypodermic syringe into the jail where items were shared with other inmates who tested positive for use of controlled drugs, Reid said.
Brisbois also is believed to have driven a police cruiser during the incident, though to where, for how long or whether he was under the influence at that time is unknown.
The trusty program overseen by jail Superintendent Stephen Church allows low-risk minimum security inmates to perform landscaping, cleaning and other work at Rockingham County facilities like the nursing home and local police departments.
Officials say the incident in East Kingston has raised serious questions about the program's safety and level of supervision. The program was temporarily suspended.
"This is obviously a matter of significant public concern. Concern for anyone who may have been at the PD that day or could have come into contact with this inmate while he was alone, and we're concerned for the safety of the inmate and we're concerned for the safety of the other inmates at the jail who were able to obtain controlled drugs, the origin of which they didn't know," Reid said.
Authorities do not believe anything was taken from the officer's locker that was allegedly broken into that day, but the inmate had access to the officer's duty belt which had his handgun, Taser and handcuffs.
The state Attorney General's Office has also asked the County Attorney's Office to investigate the integrity of the evidence room as the incident may have compromised evidence in East Kingston police cases, but the extent is not known, according to Reams.
"The integrity of the evidence room is in question so we need to look into it to see how many cases were affected by his invasion of that room," Reams said.
Reid said Brisbois was initially incarcerated on a theft conviction with a sentence that allowed him to enter drug rehabilitation. He stopped attending after a day and was then returned to jail and sentenced for violating probation in January. He is now not expected to be released until November.
Brisbois has not yet been charged in connection with the East Kingston case.
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