BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - There is a new development in the recent issues at White River Juvenile Detention Center: the jail administrator resigned.
Capt. Kellie Bradley was the administrator for the past 3 months, during which time a juvenile inmate accused guard, Bradley Kyle Hopper, of sexual abuse.
Hopper has since been fired and arrested and the inmate has been moved to another juvenile facility in Arkansas.
Capt. Bradley was a guard at the detention center for five years, left and came back to be jail administrator.
During her three months on the job, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin said Capt. Bradley showed favoritism toward guards she hired.
Judge Griffin said he asked Capt. Bradley to change that practice and she did not agree so she resigned.
"There were certain stipulations we wanted to put on the operation due to the incident that occurred that I don't believe agreed with her," said Griffin. "So she determined to leave employment."
Judge Griffin said several guards filed a grievance against Capt. Bradley, accusing her of giving new guards that she hired 40 to 60 hours a week, while cutting senior staff guards' hours down to 20 or 30 for no specific reason.
"We now need to find more qualified people to make sure we're protecting the youth at all cost," Griffin said. "The facility is too important to make that decision so I've used a committee approach and I want to expand that committee to include a JP. That facility has to function at full capacity to be financially viable. If you have incidents that come up, we all have a part in that and I want to make sure we have the right person running it."
Judge Griffin asked the quorum court to increase the administrator salary by $10,000, making the new salary about $45,000.
"We want the total package," he said. "We want someone who has empathy for the youth that are having to serve time in the detention facility that might help them further their lives after they're turned loose."
Judge Griffin listed essential qualifications for the future administrator, including law training, grant application and utilization skills, and management skills for "general operations but also unbiased and fair relations with staff."
"Capt. Bradley fit some of these categories, and in other ways, she did not," he said.
Judge Griffin just approved a guard to fill Bradley Hopper's vacant position, about a month after Hopper's firing and arrest.
He said the guard is a former corporal who worked at the detention center for 12 years.
The county's approval of each new guard hire is a new rule following the Hopper case.
"The facility had been running on its own since before I became judge and really had no reason to change, until the recent issues that have created the need to change," Griffin said. "That is one change that they have to come through us. We will review all health and psychological profiles. We want to know who's being employed at the facility. This is a change in how it's been run for a long time."
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