The compromise eliminated the Hertford County restriction but spelled out that the county sheriff would be the lead law officer of any pursuit and capture operation. When there's a prison break, Wackenhut also will be required to immediately call the sheriff and the Department of Correction.
Rep. Joe Kiser, a former Lincoln County sheriff and a critic of the earlier legislation, said he felt more comfortable with the finished product.
"I've got great faith in the local sheriff," said Kiser, R-Lincoln. "I've got great confidence in the local sheriff to handle this."
The legislation also requires Wackenhut officers to be certified through the Department of Correction and meet training standards.
Local law enforcement agencies and the state also will be reimbursed for overtime and other costs if they help with the pursuit. Wackenhut also will have to hold liability insurance valued in the millions in case of a lawsuit.
The protections for the state and county law enforcement weren't enough to satisfy one of the three people who voted against the final bill in the House.
"I don't want a Kmart security guard carrying a 9-mm (pistol) chasing after escapes and coming into my county," said Rep. Sam Ellis, R-Wake.
Ellis said he's frustrated with the conference committee members because the House passed by a wide margin in May his amendment to limit the officer's power to Hertford County. The final version eliminated that provision.
Guards would be restricted to using arrest powers only to capture escaped convicts and transport prisoners. Deadly force, like the force used by state correctional officers, would be allowed when a prisoner went over a prison walls. The Hertford County sheriff deputized several Wackenhut guards to stop escapes after the prison was completed in March and before the legislation was crafted.
Hertford County officials used tax breaks heavily courted the prison project, which will generate more than 300 jobs.
State officials have soured on the idea of private prisons after taking back control of two facilities run by Corrections Corp. of America after problems with staffing and medical care.
Getting sick of you posting every bit of crap that comes out of someone's mouth concerning WHC. YOu probably got nothing better to do until they let you out of your cell for an hour in the exercise yard.
Mcprison I see you have been busy. Cxw and Whc boards are full of your crap. This one I could not help but reply. The Senator made a comment about not wanting K-Mart Security with a 9mm on a chase. The tatical units at these prisons have more training, equipment and knowledge of these incidents than the local good ol boys. The most exercise these boys get is a 10 yard sprint to the Donut Line. I have been a a number of chases with public and private companies. You want the Sheriffs Department help you better have 50 sandwiches and some cookies. I have ran the dogs right through a checkpoint manned by the county locals and find the inmate had crossed right up under their noses while they knocked out a few roast beef sandwiches. Please read some of this crap before you post. Stupid.