Deaths at Rockdale County Jail: “This is about negligence.”

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Editor’s Note: The following letter was submitted by activist Josie Dean, who lives in Rockdale County. 

The Rockdale County Think Tank Inc. would like to address the two deaths of inmates inside the Rockdale County Sheriff Department’s Jail. We would like to say that those two deaths were an atrocity and uncalled for. 

The young lady inmate, Jamie Henry, 40, needed medicine and medical care and died shortly after inside the jail.  The other recent death of Shali Tilson, 22, inside the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department Jail was simply an inmate who died of thirst. Thirst?? That is the story that was given. These two deaths inside the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department Jail are a tragedy not only to the families involved but also to all inmates passing through the jail. This is about negligence.

The Rockdale County Think Tank Inc. would like to make several demands to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department and citizens of Rockdale County:

1.  All Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department officers and all employees need to undergo extensive sensitivity training on a quarterly basis. This should include racial bias training, how to deal with mental illness, and how to deal with drug addiction and domestic violence training.

2. We would also like to have a citizen’s sensitivity training. This training would teach the citizens how to behave when approached by officers and how to react to questioning. 

3. Citizens need to get involved in their government and school systems, civic and social organizations and local churches. And most importantly, citizens need to get involved in the voting process.

4.  We need to hold the officers accountable for their actions and not let criminals, rapists and murderers inside the Police and Sheriff’s Departments. We need to stop letting officers get away with crimes against the citizens and stop letting them hide behind the shield or badge. We also need to stop letting the officers protect one another from getting charged with crimes and using their brotherhood to not speak up against officer vs. citizen crimes.

5. The pledge from the Rockdale County Think Tank Inc. is to train citizens to become leaders in the community and to educate young people to become activists and to be good, abiding citizens. 

Josie Dean is CEO of Rockdale County Think Tank, Inc. 

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