Morgan County Sheriff explains dangers of job after inmate attacks correction officer

Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett says the job can be dangerous, and he believes the pay should match the risk.

Sheriff pushes to increase employee pay after a corrections officer was injured by an inmate

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Correctional Officer Cathy Ann Evans is now at home recovering following an attack at the jail. Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett says the job can be dangerous, and he believes the pay should match the risk.

Officer Evans after being injured by an inmate
Officer Evans after being injured by an inmate (Source: MCSO)

”We have a dangerous job that comes with a lot of risks, and we train for these instances, and there’s no way we can 100% totally protect ourselves from these types of attacks. It comes with the job,” said Puckett.

Evans was punched in the face twice by an inmate while meals were being distributed. Thankfully, she is now home but spent several hours at Decatur-Morgan Hospital in serious condition.

“I never want any of our employees to be injured. To have their lives disrupted like Ms. Evans, and it’s going to take a while for her to heal... mentally and physically,” said Puckett.

Puckett says Lemond Lawrence Burns is now in isolation and is facing an assault charge for the incident on top of the federal charges. Burns is the same man accused of killing an Alabama A&M student back in January.

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“Criminals are going to do criminal things. And that’s why our jobs are dangerous and full of risks because you’re dealing with criminals, especially in the jail,” said Puckett.

Correctional officers in Morgan County make $13 an hour. There has been a pay increase since Sheriff Puckett has been in office the last two years, but he says he is working with commissioners every year to continue to increase all of their employees pay.

“My goal is, as Sheriff, is to be able to work with the County Commission and get pay raises, and get more employees, and get the things that I believe the Sheriff’s office needs,” said Puckett.

County Commission Chairman Ray Long says commissioners will continue to work with the Sheriff to increase pay each year.

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