Nebraska State Penitentiary conduct searches on area where assault on two staff members took place

Nebraska News

FILE – This undated file photo shows the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, Neb. A Nebraska prisons watchdog has issued a warning about “alarming” conditions driven by staffing shortages and record overtime at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Doug Koebernick, the inspector general for corrections, issued the report to lawmakers this week. Koebernick also identified contraband cell phones and the use of synthetic drugs as major security concerns.(AP Photo/Daniel Luedert,File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) said on Monday night that they have conducted two days’ worth of intense search for contraband in the aftermath of Saturday evening’s assault on two staff members by an inmate.

One of the staff members still remains hospitalized.

“The thoughts of our teammates are with that staff member and his family. This was a particularly brutal and unprovoked attack,” said Scott R. Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).

“This situation is a serious reminder of the inherent dangers of working in a prison. We train to be vigilant, but it is impossible to anticipate every situation,” said Warden Michele Wilhelm.

The assaults happened at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening inside one of the penitentiary’s housing units.

In addition to the staff member still in the hospital, a second staff member was also attacked by the inmate.

That staff member was treated at the hospital for lacerations to his head and was able to go home later on Saturday night.

Early Sunday morning, 30 members of the NDCS Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) and members of the agency’s trained canine team began to search the area where the assaults took place.

NSP said they also searched in the other housing spaces at the facility.

On Monday morning, 43 members of the Nebraska State Patrol joined 42 members of CERT and 11 members of the NDCS Special Operations Response Team (SORT) in searching the other parts of the penitentiary.

Officials said state troopers also brought in their canine teams.

The NSP said during those two-day-long searches, they remained in modified operations.

“The searches uncovered homemade alcohol, items that will be tested for the presence of drugs and some items which could have been modified into weapons,” said Frakes.

Frakes called the involvement by state patrol a “force multipler” in terms of covering the ground at the facility more effectively and efficiently.

“This is the second time we have requested assistance from that agency to conduct wide-scale searches at the penitentiary. In both instances, the state patrol has responded immediately and with significant manpower,” said Frakes.

The Nebraska State Patrol is also in charge of investigating the staff assaults.

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