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Prison Chief Death Highlights Safety Concerns

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Oktibbeha County jail administrator Jimmy Vaughan knows that when it comes to dealing with inmates, you have to be on your guard.

” The people we have here, in this jail, don’t want to be here. There are some that may have hard feelings that maybe they don’t think you treated them just right. You almost have to have eyes in the back of your head,” said Vaughan.

Colorado prison chief Tom Clements was shot to death in the doorway of his home. A former inmate recently killed in a Texas shootout is now believed to be behind the murder. Vaughan says it’s not uncommon to run into old prisoners on the street.

” In our situation, there’s not a lot of precautions you can take other than being aware of what’s going on around us at all times. Whether we’re at home, at the local grocery store or convenience store, we have to be aware of what’s going on because we constantly run into people who have been incarcerated here before,” said Vaughan.

And it’s a job that also affect family life. Even at home, they have to be aware of their surroundings.

Obviously I carry guns! I have weapons at home. My wife, is trained to shoot a weapon. If someone comes to my home, you don’t open the door until they identify themselves and you know who they are,” said Vaughan.

Vaughan says the prison chief shooting death is just a grim reminder of how dangerous it is to work in law enforcement.

“We know when we put the uniform on that it’s not just the 8 to 5 job that we do, it’s 24 hours a day. You just have to be very aware of what’s going on around you,” said Vaughan.

Vaughan has been working as jail administrator since 2003 and says there haven’t been any severe threats or incidents against his staff.