PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The man who is accused in the shooting death of a local police officer was hospitalized with a serious medical condition this week and that meant his trial had to be delayed.
Authorities say an investigation has determined that Ronald Robinson just tested positive for drugs. Prosecutors say he smoked marijuana while in custody at the Allegheny County Jail.
“Well, it’s disturbing,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We know that there are some ways contraband has been coming into the jail.”
Sources say drugs flow freely in the jail, illegal drugs, allegedly brought in by corrections officers, medical staff, catering services that bring food for the inmates.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “Is it easy to get contraband into that jail?”
Former Employee: “Absolutely it is. Absolutely, I believe it’s real easy to get in.”
A former jail employee with knowledge of security says poor training, poor staffing and even bad equipment – reports that two of the x-ray machines for checking employees are broken – creates what he describes as a major illegal contraband problem in the facility.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “I am told it’s because there’s personnel issues and equipment issues and training issues, is that accurate?”
Former Employee: “I believe that’s very, very accurate.”
The new warden has already made Fitzgerald aware of equipment and training problems, and is addressing them right now.
“He identified some areas that he knows that could happen,” said the County Executive.
Particularly upsetting, says Fitzgerald, is the Robinson case.
“I can understand that outrage,” he said. “I can’t imagine the pain that the family of the victim must feel and his colleagues and his associates in law enforcement.”
Fitzgerald says he understands prisons nationwide have contraband problems. However, he says there are issues with equipment and search procedures that make the Allegheny County Jail particularly vulnerable.
Fitzgerald would not give details for security purposes, but says changes will be made immediately.