Sheriff Says Problem is Not Enough Staff

March 22, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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March 22, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard addressed the Erie County Legislature Thursday morning regarding the release of an inmate from the Alden Correctional Facility earlier this month.

Howard says 32-year-old Awet Gebreysus was accidentally released the weekend of March 10, 2012 because of human error. He is not excusing the error but says the problem is because there are not enough people to cover shifts forcing staff members to work overtime.

"Our problem is and continues to be we don't have enough employees that can be uniquely and specifically assigned and left in booking," says Timothy Howard, Erie County Sheriff. "We don't have enough employees that when we've exhausted them by going beyond the hours they can work or can be forced to work or bringing others into the records area that don't have a background or training in records."

Sheriff Howard says they have identified two people where the error occurred. He says because the employees have not made the same mistake before they can only suffer suspensions.