Two Cops Suspended After Briggs Escape - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Two Cops Suspended After Briggs Escape

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BOZEMAN -

Two Bozeman police officers are suspended without pay after an internal review is released on the department's handling of a sexual assault suspect, and convicted rapist, who walked out of the Law and Justice Center.

Now, the department is making several changes to prevent this from happening again and regain the public's trust.

Lucas Chaffins and Tracy Senefelder are suspended for two weeks without pay from the Bozeman Police Department.

The two were working when 28-year-old Kevin Anthony Briggs walked out of the Law and Justice Center on February 1.

Briggs was being questioned in connection with another rape near Montana State University.

In a news conference on Monday, Bozeman Police Chief Ron Price said since Briggs escaped from custody, the department has lost much needed trust from community members.

 "It hurts us all to know that we lost a part of that public trust," said Price. "That trust we rely on to effectively do our jobs."

An internal review says Chaffins was watching Briggs when he overheard a conversation between an arresting officer and a detective.

The review states Chaffins thought Briggs was being transferred to the detention center right behind the Law and Justice Center, so he left his post but propped up a chair against the door to act as an alarm

Chief Price said that shouldn't have happened.

"It was usually involving a compliant juvenile runaway, someone who is not in restraints waiting for a parent to come pick them up," said Price.

The interview room, which does not have a lock on it, is located next to the main entrance to the police department in the Law and Justice Center.

Price said they are looking into alarm systems for that interview room, along with simple solutions to prevent this from happening again.

"Any kind of a written document that would've required movement and signature of one officer to another would've stopped this," said Price.

But since there wasn't a policy in place, and Briggs did escape, Price said he understands the worry the community had while Briggs was on the run.

"As the chief, I apologize to each and every member of our community that the impact this incident has had with their regard to their sense of safety," said Price.

Price said they are currently working on drawing plans for the new city law and justice center with this incident in mind.

Briggs was arrested February 21 in Portland, Oregon without incident.

Right now, he is awaiting extradition back to Montana.

Briggs, a registered sex offender, faces felony charges of with aggravated assault, attempted sexual intercourse without consent, assault of a peace officer and escape.

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