Police chief addresses concerns one week after Wyatt escape

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — The Central Falls Police Chief answered to the City Council about a prisoner that escaped from the Wyatt Detention Facility last week.

Massachusetts State Police arrested inmate James Morales in Somerville on Thursday, but the investigation on how he escaped continues. On Monday night though, City Council focused more on how residents felt about the notification process.

“Residents should have been notified in some way of the events that had happened. From speaking to residents, I think they were very concerned,” said Carlene Fonseca from the City Council.

Police Chief James Mendonca said he believed that notifying the public would have heightened unnecessary concern.

“If we thought when we responded that it was an imminent threat then I can guarantee we would have put out something right away to the citizens but I think at that point in time it was not necessary,” Mendonca stated.

Police said that they were not notified for five hours after Morales disappeared on New Year’s Eve. 

“As soon as we arrived, we had really good information he had already left the area,” said Mendonca. He assured that extra units were called in, the area was cordoned off, and all precautions were taken.

City Council President Bob Ferri told Eyewitness News that he would like to see better communications between Wyatt Center and the police department. “I don’t want to get into great detail about the conversations we had with the Wyatt or the US Marshal Service but it’s pretty clear we’re not happy with the way things unfolded prior to our arrival,” he said.