Grovetown public safety director suspended after inmates escape

Gary Owens
Gary Owens is the new director of public safety in Grovetown. (WRDW-TV / June 20, 2012)
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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Grovetown Department of Public Safety Police director was suspended for two days without pay after "he hindered the operation of recovering the two escapees," according to a statement from Mayor George James.

Two inmates escaped the Grovetown jail on July 26 and were missing for 24 hours after Grovetown, North Augusta, Richmond County and Columbia County searched through the night. The two men that escaped came to Knights Inn hotel to try to get a room, they said. The woman working at the desk called the police and were arrested by Richmond County deputies.

Grovetown Public Safety said Joshua Gray, 21, and Michael Davis, 24, escaped from the yard of the jail. They shimmied the gate open, hopped the barbed wire fence, then Gray's mother Malisa Self had Samuel Cline, Jr. come pick them up.

Mayor James said Public Safety Director Gary Owens was suspended for two days without pay after the incident.

Statement from Mayor James:

"Chief Owens was suspended two days without pay. He created a hostile work environment for his employees and by his actions he hindered the operation of recovering the two escapees. His department had everything in control and was doing everything possible to recover the two men who escaped. When he arrived on scene it became pure chaos.

As the chief, he needs to make sure that he is in control of himself so that he can take control of the situation. In this case he was not in control of himself or the operation. Therefore he was giving two days suspension without pay to go home and think about his actions."

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