Two former Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office detention officers were charged Monday with falsifying jail logs in connection with the 2011 death of a man being held in the detention center.
Michael Hirman, 25, of Vilonia and Michelle O’Kelley, 47, of Conway resigned last year amid an Arkansas State Police investigation into the death of a man who was booked into the jail on May 8, 2011, on charges that he was drunk or insane. Autopsy results from the state Crime Laboratory revealed that the man later died of an overdose from a combination of alcohol and narcotics.
Hirman and O’Kelley claim that they checked on the inmate every 15 minutes per department policy, but video evidence obtained during the investigation revealed the pair had not followed policy, authorities said.
"Tampering with a record is a very serious charge, but is made that much more serious when we are talking about law enforcement officials who falsify an investigative record," Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said. "Law enforcement have to hold themselves to a higher standard — there has to be accountability for those kind of transgressions."
Sheriff’s Maj. Andy Shock, who recently returned to work from a campaign leave of absence, said sheriff’s office employees "are held to the highest standard. Unfortunately employees fall short of that and when they do, they are disciplined."
Both Hirman and O’Kelley were arrested and released Monday afternoon on bond. The bond amount was not readily available. Hiland said the two will have first appearances this week.
If convicted of the Class D felony, the suspects face a maximum jail sentence of six years.
(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)