‘Completely Unacceptable:’ Police respond 5 times in 2019 to escaped juveniles from youth facility in Donelson

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A number of Metro resources were deployed Wednesday night to the Academy for Young Men off of Stewart’s on Ferry Pike after three juveniles escaped the facility, 

“Anytime there is an escape it’s unacceptable,”

Commander Preston Brandimore told News 2. 

Police tell News 2 it’s the 5th time they’ve responded this year to the facility. This time it took one hour before they were even notified of the latest escape of 3 teens on the run in Donelson.

“Obviously anytime there is an escape it puts the community in danger.”

This time police were able to apprehend the juveniles shortly after they were notified. However, in late October police say three teens who escaped from the TrueCore facility carjacked a couple just a few miles from where they escaped.

“Anytime there is an escape there is a level of frustration but first and foremost it is making sure the community is safe and apprehending them and then it is looking at how it happened and try to prevent it from happening again” Commander Brandimore explained. 

Thursday morning Metro Police met with the Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols. 

“(We) relayed our concerns with the security 

The company who provides security for that facility and our concerns were understood and we hope to see some significant changes in the near future.”

Commander Brandimore says the amount of resources it takes to re-apprehend the escapees is among their concerns. 

“Oftentimes there’s a lot of resources that are used. We use, obviously our first responders, our patrols officers from the precinct, we use aviation, we use k9, we use the juvenile crimes task force, there’s a lot of resources called in to assist because obviously the quicker we can respond the better opportunity we have of locating them.”

DCS licenses each juvenile detention facility across the state.

DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols released the following statement to News 2:

“The safety of the public and the youth placed into state custody are my top priorities, so I was greatly disturbed by the escape of three juveniles last night from the Academy for Young Men, a therapeutic treatment center for delinquent youth operated under contract by TrueCore. At the time of the escape, 14 juveniles were receiving treatment at the facility. What is even more concerning is the length of time it took for TrueCore staff to notify police of the escape. TrueCore has reported to us that three employees involved in the incident have been terminated and is taking further measures to increase security at this facility. I expect TrueCore to do all it can to ensure security at its facilities while treating the youth in its care. I am also grateful to the Metro Nashville Police officers who helped capture these juveniles so quickly and appreciate their partnership.”

Mayor Cooper’s Press Secretary released the following statement to News 2:

“The Mayor is exceedingly concerned about what appears to be a pattern of serious shortcomings among juvenile detention facility operators. Clearly, the security policies and procedures followed by these companies require a close and thorough review.”

A TrueCore spokesperson released the following statement to News 2: 

“TrueCore Behavioral Solutions provides services to at-risk youth to assist in their development.

At times these interactions can produce specific challenges, as has occurred last night at the Academy for Young Men.

We appreciate the assistance, support, and professionalism of the Metro Nashville Police Department.

We have begun investigating the facts of this incident and have terminated three staff from this facility for failing to follow proper operating procedures, which contributed to this escape.

We will continue to work with the Department of Children’s Services to make any needed adjustments going forward.

The safety of the youth and staff at our facilities and the public are our top priorities.”

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