Search underway for escaped Shelby County inmate

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Local law enforcement officers are actively searching for a Shelby County inmate who walked away from a work detail Tuesday morning.

Shelby County authorities say Jodie Pope was working with a trash crew on the Riverdale exit ramp at Bill Morris Parkway when he escaped through some bushes.

His supervisor couldn't say where he went next.

Authorities said he did not have any issues during his time behind bars so he was eligible for the detail.

There's a wooded area on one side of the parkway and a busy shopping center on the other.  It's even possible Pope jumped into a car.

"Anyone who walks away from work line, or anyone that is incarcerated, you want to treat them as dangerous," Corrections Deputy Director, Anthony Alexander, said.

Pope was serving six years behind bars on robbery charges. He was arrested before for violent crimes, but we only found a prior drug conviction on his record.

Residents in the area say the felt uneasy about his escape.

"That's crazy. Where were the supervisors and all that? Who just lets someone walk off the job?" a resident asked.

Corrections officers and fellow inmates are now being questioned.

Investigators say they are also going through phone records while deputies and Memphis police remain on the lookout.

"He was eligible for parole in 2020, and, with the credits he was receiving, he probably would have been eligible for release in 2020," Deputy Alexander said.

Now Pope could face additional jail time.

Not to mention, anyone who helped him escape could face criminal charges too.

If you see him call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.