The sheriff’s office is changing policies at the Galveston County Jail after two unloaded handguns were found hidden at a facility used for an inmate work program.

Sheriff Henry Trochesset said authorities are investigating the security lapse and the possibility that a deputy was responsible.

Deputies found the pistols on top of an 18-foot-tall painting shed at the facility last Tuesday after receiving a tip, he said. The guns were not in working condition.

The weapons came from the evidence room at the sheriff’s office, and were marked in the department’s internal records as having been destroyed on July 29, Trochesset said. 

No other weapons were missing from the evidence room, and the integrity of the jail itself was not compromised, Trochesset said.

The two weapons found last week were confiscated in separate drug arrests. When those cases were disposed, the guns were sent to be destroyed by court order, Trochesset said. 

Inmates, under the supervision of deputies, routinely destroyed unloaded weapons confiscated by the sheriff’s office, Trochesset said. The welding bench used to cut apart guns is about 15 feet away from the shed where the weapons were found.

The facility houses equipment and other machinery used by inmates in the jail’s continuing skills program. Inmates who pass a background and classification check can enroll in the program to practice skills such as woodworking, welding and painting.

Inmates in the program maintain the grounds at the county courthouse and justice center, wash county vehicles and perform maintenance work on equipment.

The skills program was shut down for several days after the guns were found in the building just outside the jail, and several inmates will no longer be allowed to participate, Trochesset said.

However, Trochesset said he could not place blame on the inmates.

“If the deputy had been doing their job, we would not be here today,” he said.

An investigation could result in the termination of any deputy involved and possible criminal charges, Trochesset said.

A new policy will prevent inmates from dismantling confiscated weapons, and the sheriff’s office will begin video recording the destruction of any guns, he said.

The crews of inmates who maintain the grounds on county property will now be strip-searched before returning to the continuing skills facility. All inmates are already searched before entering the jail itself.

Other policies will also be put in place, Trochesset said.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

(9) comments

Jarvis Buckley

Had the potential to be a horrible situation.

George Croix

"The guns were not in working condition."

That's a pretty open ended assessment...were they capable of being put back in working condition?

Steve Fouga

I had the same thought. Like perhaps by inserting loaded magazines...[whistling]

Stevie Maradeo

A broken gun is enough to take hostages.

George Croix

Yes...some hostages...
It depends on the level of firearms expertise of the potential captives, and whether the weapons lack of 'working condition' would be apparent to one of them...
One reason I asked my first question...

Kevin Lang

If those guns were destroyed, I would think they'd now possess a shape that's somewhat other than gun-shaped. Seems removing the trigger and mangling or removing the barrel would be at least part of the process.

Even a non-working hand gun can leave one with a nasty headache should the crook use it as a form of club.

George Croix

It didn't say they were destroyed, it said they were not in working condition....

It always helps to actually read the article before forming an opinion about it....[whistling]

Depending on who the bad guy tried to use that 'club' on, it could also be turned into a suppository....for someone...possibly......[wink]

Carl Enge

Damm

Miss Priss

Oh and he was hoping so bad to keep this one out of the press......

Must not let anyone know professional standards are sliding even if he can't recognize significant ones vs. minor ones.

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