Conestoga news

August 24, 2007 10:08 AM

Dangerous offender escapes on campus

Four dangerous offenders being transported from a correctional facility to court ended up at Conestoga College Feb. 16, after an altercation forced correctional officers to make a detour.

The officers pulled into parking lot 1, and went to the back of the van to see what was wrong. They found one dangerous offender lying on the floor with a huge gash in his head.

Although the incident seemed real and dangerous, it was actually a safe offender transportation scenario held by LASA to give students hands-on field experience.

At the scene Kara Brake, who acted as a police investigator, was questioning witnesses about what they saw or heard after the incident.

LASA students played the roles of correctional officers, security officers, insurance investigators, police officers, crime scene investigators (CSI) and dangerous offenders.

Other students involved in the consolidation exercise were from the paramedic, broadcasting and journalism programs.

After discovering one of the offenders was injured, the correctional officers removed the other three offenders from the van while paramedics helped the injured man. Dan Pollard, 23, was in critical condition according to paramedics at the scene who loaded him into an ambulance. Police said later that they thought he had died.

During the scenario, one of the offenders, who had been placed into a police car, escaped.

Jessica Kuepfer, who police said was in the correctional facility awaiting a trial date for murder, ran from the vehicle and back to the van to try and check on Pollard. Police gave chase and cornered her between two cars in the parking lot. Kuepfer struggled and put up a fight but police picked her up by her feet and arms and put her back in the police car, where her screams of frustration could be heard.

"You can’t leave me in here,” she said. "This is cruel detainment.”

The second female offender, whose name wasn’t available as of press time, was in the correctional facility on drug trafficking charges.

Three CSI investigators arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after the incident and started inspecting the van. By then police had the scene barricaded and guarded by a number of officers.

James Phillips, co-ordinator of LASA, was happy with the students’ role-playing responsibilities. "I’m very happy with the outcome of this scenario,” he said. "The students stuck with their roles and did an excellent job. It went off very well.”


Originally published in The Spoke, 2007/03/05