TCI officer tried to bring cell phones into prison, police and NCDPS say

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     A Tabor Correctional Institution employee found with two small cell phones concealed in a vest apparently won’t face criminal charges because she was not caught providing either to an inmate, a Tabor City Police Department report says.

     Adrianne Marie Parsons, 37, of Shallotte was reporting for work at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, and was sent back to her vehicle after officers doing standard screenings at the main entrance found “some male cologne and lip gloss,” the report by Officer Christopher Cotton said.

     As Parson walked to her vehicle an officer continued to search her belongings, “and felt that she had her vest folded in the arm of her coat,” the officer’s statement contained in the TCPD report said. “I took the vest out and shook the vest. Two small cell phones fell out.”

     A sergeant told Parsons of the cell phone find “and advised her that she needed to stay and talk” with the officer in charge, the report said. “After about two minutes Officer Parsons left the gatehouse, returned to her car and left the facility.”

     When Officer Cotton attempted to secure a warrant against Parsons, he was told there was no evidence of a crime under current state law, the report said.

     A magistrate told the officer that “without an exchange between the defendant and an inmate that no crime had occurred,” the report said. “Attempting to conceal and transport the cell phone into the prison would only constitute a violation of the facility rules without this exchange.”

     While providing an inmate with a cell phone is illegal, an employee possessing one is not, the magistrate said.

‘Zero tolerance’

     Parsons, hired by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in June 2014, remained an employee on Monday, DPS spokesman John Bull said.

     Bull said Parsons “was discovered in possession of hidden contraband cell phones” when reporting for work Sunday.

     “All staff members, as well as visitors, are searched before entering a state prison,” Bull said. “the North Carolina Department of Public Safety has zero tolerance for any staff involved in illegal activity, and the department is cooperating fully with local law enforcement.

     “Any staff member who participates in illegal activity will be subjected to appropriate personnel action, including dismissal.”

     Parson’s current annual salary as a Correctional Officer is $39,838.

     Look for more on this story as it develops see this week’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.