Wake sheriff: 6 detention officers lose jobs over fraternization policy

Convicted killer Amanda Hayes is at the center of a Wake County jailhouse scandal.
March 19, 2014 8:22:28 PM PDT
Convicted killer Amanda Hayes is at the center of a Wake County jailhouse scandal.

Hayes was convicted last month for her role in the grisly murder of her husband's ex-girlfriend, Laura Ackerson.

Now, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison says one detention officer's inappropriate relationship with Hayes led to the firing of five other officers.

The sheriff says the relationship wasn't criminal in nature but violated policy. An investigation, led the sheriff's office to later look into others inappropriate relationships that happened here at the Wake County Detention Center.

Harrison said testimony from a former inmate during Hayes' murder trial first raised his suspicions. There were accounts that Hayes got special treatment and visits from a detention center officer -- often times when other inmates were on lockdown.

"I was asking, 'Hey, let's look into this,' and then we got an anonymous call. Then we got some information from some other people," said Harrison.

Hayes reportedly had a romantic relationship with detention officer Lt. Linda Hicks. The sheriff only said it wasn't sexual or criminal in nature.

"That was part of some of the information that was given to us that there were conversations between Ms. Hicks and Hayes when she was in prison, not in our jail," said Harrison.

Before an investigation into the relationship could begin this month, the sheriff said Hicks, who was a 16-year veteran, resigned.

Then rumblings of five more detention officers giving inmates extra phone privileges and other non-sexual favors surfaced.

"We found out the other five had nothing to do with the Amanda Hayes case," said Harrison.

Harrison fired the five detention officers for violating a fraternization policy that prohibits the county's roughly 1,000 detention officers to give special favors to inmates.

"I tell every employee this when I hire them, especially the females," said Harrison. "They'll befriend these people and then the inmate will laugh at them when they get terminated."

The sheriff says nothing criminal happened with any of the relationships, and that this should serve as a reminder that inappropriate relationships between detention officers and inmates won't be tolerated.

The five other detention officers fired were:

  • Annette James, about an eight-year veteran
  • Shaniqua Robinson, about a two-year veteran
  • Sheila Banks, about a two-year veteran
  • Sheree Bates, had been employed less than six months
  • Lauryn Whittler, had been employed less than six months

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