Reno 911: Escaped inmate recaptured within 24 hours

Chief Carter addresses DOC communication delay, Pictured is Ricky Brandon Reno

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The Hamilton Police Department, with assistance from the Hackleburg and Bear Creek police departments, as well as the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC), arrested Rickey Brandon Reno after he escaped from work release on Tuesday morning, April 16.
According to Hamilton Police Chief Jordan Carter, his department responded to a call of a prowler near a home on County Highway 51. He said the description of the alleged prowler matched that of Reno.
Officers from the Hackleburg and Bear Creek police departments joined in the search after they heard about the escape. Bear Creek also provided a drone with a thermal imaging camera to aid in the search.
As officers, including Corporal Lance Stidham, began searching the area, Alabama DOC joined in with tracking dogs, which led them to an old house they believed Reno could have been hiding in.
As officers Russell Oswalt and Drea Massey made their way toward the old house in the early morning hours of April 17, they saw Reno beside the road and took him into custody at around 3:10 a.m.
Carter said that after the escape took place, it was several hours before he was notified.
“I was notified of the escape at about 12:30 p.m. by the Hamilton Elementary School principal, after stating he saw it reported by ABC 33 / 40,” Carter said. “Shortly thereafter, I went by the prison and spoke with an official that stated they did, in fact, have an escaped inmate. I gathered information about the situation and relayed it to my officers.
“During this incident there was a lapse in communication. I understand there’s policy and procedure in place when a situation like this occurs. DOC is a statewide agency, and I’m sure there are people all across our state that need to be notified of the situation, but I’m responsible for the safety of the citizens, children and visitors of Hamilton.
“It is imperative that law enforcement agencies communicate effectively in situations like this to ensure the timely apprehension of individuals.
“I respect the department of corrections and the services their employees provide. Hopefully, we can all sit down to plan, train and better prepare should another incident like this arise.”
Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark shared some details on his department’s involvement with Reno’s re-capture.
“That night, I was out working a detail with one of my officers, and we heard 9-1-1 get a call about a suspicious person at a residence on County Road 51, which is not in Hackleburg, but it’s fairly close if we go down to the end of our city limits around Highway 253,” Hallmark said. “We were actually in that area and heard that call come in. When they gave the description out, in my mind, I thought that fit the description of the escaped inmate from the prison.
“I knew the geographic location, and through the woods, it probably wasn’t two or three miles from the prison, so I thought there was a good chance.
“So I called the Hamilton officers and said, ‘We’ll be in route to help you. It sounds like your inmate that escaped.’ Once we got there, I got with Corporal Lance Stidham, who was on the scene, and asking what we could do to assist…

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