Colorado Department of Corrections honors Rifle police officers for capturing prison escapee
Rifle police officers Haley Walker and Kallie McCain were recently recognized by the Colorado Department of Corrections for capturing an inmate who escaped from a minimum-security prison in Garfield County.
Driving from the Front Range to attend Rifle’s May 3 city council meeting, CDOC Executive Director Andre Stancil and Inspector General Danny Lake presented McCain and Walker letters of gratitude and challenge coins.
In the law enforcement community, challenge coins are high honors presented to members of units in recognition of their special achievements.
“We found out how quickly you found him for us,” Stancil said of Walker and McCain’s efforts in capturing the escapee. “I wanted to take the opportunity to drive up here myself, along with Danny and my crew, and thank you personally.”
On the morning of April 10, Rifle Correctional Center inmate Jewel Gist, 54, was reported to have escaped custody. The prison facility is located directly northwest of Rifle Gap Reservoir.
Jewel, so far in custody for nine years after robbing First National Bank of Hugo-Limon in 2014, was wearing his prison-issued green shirt and pants when he was reported missing during a head count at about 9 a.m.
“A massive search effort was undertaken to attempt to locate Gist and take him back into custody,” Lake said, reading from the letter of recognition. “Search efforts, which included tracking dogs, drones and tracking teams, continued until approximately April 12, 2023, at approximately 12:30 a.m. when you and fellow officer Kallie McCain arrested Gist.”
After receiving a tip that Gist had been seen at a nearby business, McCain and Walker apprehended him at the 1300 block of Railroad Avenue and took him into custody without incident.
“Your work is full of risk and is often unappreciated,” Lake said. “It is commendable that, despite the risk, you bravely performed your duties to keep society safe.”
Stancil said CDOC’s primary mission for incarceration is accountability and knowing where people are at all times. This is one of those incidents where CDOC lost count of one of its inmates and is trying to figure out what happened and what went wrong, he added.
“He still hasn’t told us why he walked off, but the fact that he walked off is kind of an embarrassment to us,” Stancil said. “So, we’d like to wrap this up as quickly as possible.”
Gist was taken to a maximum-security prison facility after his capture.
“Where he’s at now,” Stancil said, “he won’t walk away again.”
Post Independent Assistant Editor and lead western Garfield County reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-423-5273.
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