Security tightened at Dyer County Jail after man escapes through unlocked doorway

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DYERSBURG, Tenn. -- A Dyer County burglary suspect escaped from the county lockup this week. Edward Copeland, Jr., is now a fugitive from justice after running through an unlocked door.

Sheriff Jeff Box  promises it won't happen again.

He showed us where Copeland made his break for freedom Thursday.

Copeland was in the process of being booked for burglary and wasn't restrained when he followed a female correctional officer through a door in the booking area of the jail.

The officer was in the process of releasing an inmate.

"Copeland come through this door, behind the correctional officer, pushed the officer out of the way and ran out onto the street," said Sheriff Box.

Copeland apparently had no problem escaping through what's called a pass-through hallway, where the doors were not locked on both sides.

Sheriff Box said a review of the jail's security camera footage revealed what he called a "major design flaw" in the booking area doors.

"We determined yesterday that probably the booking area, where you have the incoming and outgoing traffic, is probably, was the weakest point in this facility," said Sheriff Box.

Shortly after Copeland escaped, Sheriff Box had keyed locks installed on all the doors in the booking area.

Deputies, along with Dyersburg police, searched  a Dyersburg neighborhood near the jail Thursday, but didn't find Copeland.

"We're still looking for him, intensely," said Sheriff Box.

The sheriff vows escapes like Copeland's won't happen again.

"He found an opportunity and found a door that wasn't secured and went through it. That particular incident has never happened before," said the sheriff.

Copeland isn't considered a dangerous criminal, but he will face additional jail time for escape when he's caught.

If you know where he is,  call the Dyer County Sheriff's Office of Dyersburg Police.