Detention Specialist at Bay County Jail Arrested

Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen announced Monday the arrest of Shannon Nicole Copeland, former detention specialist at the Bay County Jail.

Copeland of the 1600 block of Fairy Avenue, was arrested on Sunday, December 14, 2008, ending an investigation which began shortly after Sheriff McKeithen took over the daily operations at the Bay County Jail in October.

In October, other employees at the Jail began reporting suspicious behavior on the part of Copeland which initiated the investigation. Copeland had worked for CCA at the jail and since the transition had a civilian or uncertified position at the Bay County Jail as a detention specialist.

She worked in the Control Room as an operator and had been entrusted to control movement of inmates in the dorm area of the Jail. Investigators believe that through her position she was able to allow an inmate to leave a controlled area and would then meet him in a predetermined area.

Additional information was received from Jail employees on Saturday and Sheriff McKeithen and Jail Administrator Rick Anglin met Copeland as she came on shift Sunday at the Jail. Copeland was searched.

Copeland was in possession of a CD of nude photographs of herself as well as several printed nude photos. A search of the inmate’s cell turned up additional nude photos of Copeland. Copeland stated she had engaged in sexual misconduct with the inmate and had also brought him marijuana.

"I credit the other Bay County Jail employees with alerting us to this incident," Sheriff McKeithen said. "They don’t want this behavior in the workplace any more than I do. Working together we will raise the standards for employees at the Bay County Jail."

Sheriff McKeithen arrested Copeland and charged her with Sexual Misconduct with an Inmate and Introduction of Contraband (Marijuana).

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