Residents living near Jetson feel safe

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 7:46pm

Luke Thomas has lived right across the street from the front gates of the Jetson Center for Youth for 30 years.

"They would break out and then the guards used to ride their horses over here and let the cows out of my gate looking for the kids who broke out," he says.

When he got the call Wednesday that three teenagers had busted out of the correctional facility overnight, he barely thought anything of it.

"They don't scare me," he explains. "I'm prepared."

That's because this isn't the first time he's heard of an inmate on the run.

"I couldn't name how many [have gotten out.] There have been a good many though," he says.

Freddie King lives near the woods where multiple law enforcement agencies searched for hours Wednesday morning.

"I wasn't surprised that they got out. The kids are going to get out. If you can get out of big prison, then you can get out of little prison," he says.

He has lived there all of his life, so long, that he's seen and heard about multiple escapes from the youth prison.

"They're normally trying to get home," he says of the break outs. "Most of the times, the kids just go rambling into the woods. They don't seem to harm nobody."

 He says law enforcement agencies contact residents quickly, and they're out in the community making sure everyone stays safe.

"They're really out here," King says. "They're doing their jobs."

Even though he's seen teens on the run from the facility over the years, he doesn't blame their security for the escapes. Instead, he says it's very secure.

"I wouldn't kick anything against security because anything can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye," he says.

Instead, longtime residents just stay on the alert, staying ready for anything.

Jetson officials assure the community that their facility is safe and secure. The last time an inmate got out was four years ago in 2007. They are still investigating how the teens escaped Tuesday night.

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