Authorities shakedown Valdosta State Prison -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Authorities shakedown Valdosta State Prison

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –  Authorities swarmed Valdosta State Prison Thursday searching the entire facility for any contraband inmates may be hiding.

The tactical squad makes it known they're about to enter the Valdosta Prison Annex. They march in like soldiers.  "The more shakedowns you do, it kind of deters inmates from doing what they're not supposed to do, or having contraband," said Mark Pack, a criminal justice instructor.

The TAC squad searches for contraband, anything altered in any way from its original form.  "It could be something like a piece of fence, wire or maybe a toothbrush filed down to a point," said Pack.

Mark Pack was a correctional officer and used to be on the TAC Squad. With the National Guard, he was deployed to Iraq where he was injured and now he's back, teaching at Valdosta Technical College.

"If the door's hollow, you'd check to see if they're any string holding the weapon down in the holes. The bedding has razor blades in the top where the welds are."

When Pack worked at the prison he was instructed to do shakedowns every day. And as a member of the TAC Squad you had to be ready to be called in at any moment. 

"Full battle rattle, everything ready to go on the vans and ready to go wherever we needed to go."

Then they search the facilities carrying with them less than lethal weapons. "We had expandable batons, handcuffs, less than lethal pepper balls."

Other than the uniforms they wear for a TAC Squad shakedown, you'd never know what correctional officers were on the squad. 

"They have a pin on their uniform but they still where the blue uniform and really most inmates don't know they're on the TAC squad."

The shakedown Thursday was ordered by the Department of Corrections commissioner. The deputy warden would not talk to us.

The Department of Corrections uses shakedowns to try to keep prisons safe and secure.

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