Neighbors Near Prison Say They Want Better Alerts During Escapes - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Neighbors Near Prison Say They Want Better Alerts During Escapes

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IONIA, Mich. (WLNS) - Neighbors in Ionia say they're used to hearing officials testing sirens from the reformatory and correctional facilities almost on a weekly basis. However, after convicted killer Michael Elliot escaped, they say they didn't get notified nearly fast enough.

Elliot broke out of a multi-level prison in Ionia. Officials didn't notice he was gone until hours after he broke through two fences, setting off an alarm.

Neighbors in Sherwood Community say when sirens go off at the Ionia Reformatory, it's loud and people can't miss it. 

"It goes and goes and goes for a long time," said Ionia Resident Mary Mikulka.

"We were just sitting there watching tv, right in front of the slider and didn't hear a thing," said Tom Kauffman, who lives in the area. He also rents out the home across the street from where Elliot escaped and says the people leasing the home didn't hear anything either.

Russ Marlan with the Department of Corrections says their log book shows sirens did go off at 9:42p.m. "When the facility realized prisoner Elliot had escaped, we sounded our siren, we notified the state police, local law enforcement and they responded," said Marlan. He says some neighbors received phone alerts letting them know what happened.

"I was out here taking trash out and had no clue that was going on, very upsetting," said Renee Cook, who also lives near the prison.

Marlan says it's uncertain how far the siren at Ionia Correctional carries, but homeowners in the area say it wasn't far enough.

"We didn't get a call or anything, I'd like that to change," Cook said.


"More sirens, maybe even maybe even look at making them louder," Kauffman said.

The Department of Corrections says they're seriously looking into the changes. "We're going to make improvements and we're going to better ourselves. We're definitley going to make security enhancements so this doesn't happen again," said Marlan.

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