BROOKLYN, N.Y. — It’s June 17, 6:21 a.m. Acting warden of the Brooklyn Detention Complex, Robin Beauliue arrives at work, parking her car in the warden’s space.
She then walks down the street with a young woman, believed to be her daughter, and enters a red door labeled “Fire Exit.” Beyond that door is her office.
At first glance, it may not seem like a big deal. But every employee and every visitor enters the jail through the main entrance, where they undergo security screening measures. According to the Department of Corrections, that is policy.
PIX11 News obtained surveillance video of Beauliue from a source who is a veteran Department of Corrections employee. We have concealed his identity.
“If you are a leader and you engage in this type of activity, it sets a bad precedent,” our source said.
This source has come forward to raise red flags in the security measures not only in Brooklyn, but throughout the Department of Corrections.
The agency is undergoing a massive 14-point reform plan that PIX11 has been highlighting as part of our “Inside Rikers” series.
At 9:33 in the morning, the fire exit door opens. An individual who appears to be a male correction officer is seen exiting with the warden’s daughter. In the video, the daughter’s hair is in a bun. At 1:14 p.m., the duo returns, but the daughter’s hair is now in braids. The two enter the same door.
“You need clearance,” our source said. “You cannot just bring her through the front door. You need to fill out paperwork.”
To be clear, we are not at all saying this warden, officer or young woman are bringing anything illegal through that door.
However, PIX11 has been highlighting the ongoing violence inside the city’s jail system, some which is caused by illegal contraband, like blades, making their way inside.
Two weeks ago, PIX11 showed you a Rikers Island inmate who was streaming on Facebook Live using a contraband cellphone, holding a blade. The incident happened a day after a correction officer was slashed in the face, needing five stitches. The two incidents are not related.
At Brooklyn Detention there has been a 159 percent increase in contraband finds this year, meaning 515 items were found so far in 2016, compared to 199 in 2015.
“They are scared and they should be,” our source said, in regards to what officers feel on a daily basis. “The officers really have concern for their safety.”
In February, PIX11 exclusively spoke with the Department of Corrections Commissioner Joe Ponte about the reform plans in motion to enhance security for staff, officers and the inmates.
“Our screening processes are more intense than ever,” Ponte said back in February. We have added a K-9 unit to our internal affairs unit and we do staff locker checks to keep everyone on their toes.”
But in Beauliue’s Case, there did not seem to be much security. So, we approached Beauliue ourselves to see if she had an explanation for bypassing security.
PIX11: Robin, are you supposed to be going through this door?
Robin Beauliue: Yes, I’m the Warden.
PIX11: But don’t you need to go through security like everyone else?
Beauliue: You know I can’t talk to you.
Meanwhile, around the corner at the main entrance, all rank and file were following proper procedure, entering a secure entrance where they were screened.
Later in the day, after our visit, the Department of Corrections sent out an agency-wide memo with the subject “Port of Entry Procedures.”
The memo states “all members of service are reminded that fire egress doors are to be used solely for their intended purpose. Absent an emergency, and in accordance with existing port of entry procedures, no member of service, regardless of rank, is permitted to use any fire door, at any time, to enter or exit any departmental facility.”
PIX11 showed the surveillance video to the Correction Officer’s Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen, since he is the head of the union.
“Obviously it should not happen,” Husamudeen said. “The warden and everyone should go through the front entrance. I think it is a stretch to say maybe the warden or officer is bringing something in.”
The Department of Corrections declined to go on camera regarding this report but sent a statement saying:
“One security lapse is one too many, and each concerns us greatly. We are investigating, and we will determine the appropriate action. We have zero tolerance for rule-breaking by staff, and we take these allegations seriously. We have systematically stepped up security at our front entrances in order to prevent the introduction of contraband, and we have made a lot of progress. Total contraband finds rose 159% at BKDC this fiscal year compared to last.”