HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Chief of Police Eric English and Richmond Chief of Police Rick Edwards have responded to public criticism regarding the delayed dissemination of information after a Greensville Correctional Center inmate escaped a local hospital in August.
21-year-old Nasseem Roulack is still at large nearly seven weeks after he escaped the supervision of two Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) security officers at Bon Secours Saint Mary’s Hospital in western Henrico County, just outside Richmond City limits, at around 5:45 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12.
VADOC issued a release to the public shortly before 9:30 a.m. that same day. Virginia State Police obtained an arrest warrant for Roulack — one felony count of escape for a person already in police custody — shortly after 4:45 p.m. that afternoon.
Since the escape, the Henrico County Division of Police has remained mostly silent as Roulack has continued to evade capture. However, on Thursday, Sept. 29, the division’s police chief, Eric English, released a statement addressing community criticism for delays in alerting the public.
“Following a large-scale incident there will always be questions of what worked and what did not work well. We recognize at this point there was an opportunity to get the message out sooner,” English said. “We had multiple resources, including over 40 officers, looking for the suspect that morning who escaped from a county hospital. Our focus along with other resources from various agencies was to attempt to capture the individual as quickly as possible based on the information that was available to us. Unfortunately, that did not occur.”
Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards also addressed the response to Roulack’s escape at a recent press conference.
“I think that’s where there was a bit of a disconnect that was that had taken place in the city. We felt it would have met the criteria for code red,” said Edwards. “But there is a there is a like a reverse 9-1-1 that we think in the future, if we have an incident like that, we’ll make the decision to push that out to our community.”
8News spoke to security expert Mike Jones, who said, in an emergency, timely communication is important so that residents can protect themselves.
“The whole idea is to get the information out there so people can take their own measures to protect themselves because the police can’t do it all,” said Jones. “They can’t lock everybody’s door. They can’t watch every child at the playground.”
VADOC is leading the investigation into Roulack’s escape but the department has not released any updates since a few days after the incident. On Aug. 16, VADOC and the U.S. Marshals Service announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to Roulack’s capture.
Roulack was serving a 13-year sentence for aggravated malicious wounding, grand larceny and hit-and-run. If caught, he will have to finish serving his initial sentence, as well as the additional felony charge for the escape.