The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said deputies gave a man CPR after they found him hanging in his jail cell on Tuesday morning.
Arthur Lanum was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center by ambulance, and Chief Deputy Jeff Meyer said on Tuesday afternoon the inmate was believed to be in critical condition.
Meyer said the suicide attempt came as a surprise. He said Lanum was being housed in general population and made several phone calls on Monday.
“We actually tried to make contact with the people that he called yesterday and they said he was jovial, just laughing and didn’t have any signs whatsoever,” Meyer said.
Meyer said they take several precautions to monitor for signs of suicide in the jail’s nearly 175 inmates.
“Every hour, we’re required to do a complete walk through of the jail, visibly have to check on each one of the inmates,” he said.
Meyer said deputies use a “pipe system” to do those walk-throughs. There’s a reader on each one of the cells that deputies touch a pipe to as they check on each inmate. The information from the pipes are downloaded, showing the exact time that each cell was checked.
“It’s not something you could fudge on a piece of paper. You actually have to physically go to each of the cells and visibly check on each of the inmates in there,” he said.
Meyer said they also train deputies to look for signs of harmful or suicidal behavior in inmates and take appropriate action.
If inmates do display such behavior, they’re moved into an isolation cell, given a paper gown so they aren’t able to hurt themselves and are under constant surveillance.
Meyer said the sheriff’s office has also taken steps to train inmates to look for warning signs in other inmates to facilitate early detection of suicide.
According to an incident report, a deputy found toilet paper covering the window of the Lanum’s cell around 7:30 a.m. When deputies opened the cell, they found the man hanging from the rail of a window by a jail-issued bed sheet.
Meyer said deputies cut Lanum from the rail and started performing CPR.
“At that point in time, they were able to get a pulse and he was breathing on his own,” he said.
Meyer said the last check of the cells happened at 6:30 a.m., so Lanum had to have taken the steps to harm himself within about 50 minutes. He said if deputies had checked his cell even a few minutes later, the situation could’ve ended much differently.
Meyer said Lanum was in custody for charges relating to carrying a concealed weapon and having a weapon under disability, although it’s not clear from online records how long he’s been in custody.
Tuesday’s incident is under further investigation.
HOW TO GET HELP
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.