LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. - Deputy jailer Mary McCoy thought it was going to be just another day when she left her family to go to work. "I kissed them goodbye. I kissed my husband goodbye, and I promised them I would come home. And I did," she recalled.
She did make it home, but not before an inmate attacked her. After breaking up a fight between two men in a cell on September 24, McCoy separated them by taking one to the booking area. When she bent down to cuff his ankle, following the jail's policy, the inmate swiped her taser and shot her with it.
"When it hit my vest it was 14 seconds. So he was repeatedly pulling the trigger," McCoy explained. "So he wouldn't have stopped."
She wasn't entirely incapacitated because she was wearing a taser resistant vest. After more tussling, McCoy fought him off, locked him in the booking room, and secured the jail.
The only other person in the facility that night was the control officer sitting in the monitoring room. Thankfully that person could see what was going on in the booking room and called for backup.
The issue is a lack of funding to hire enough guards for all the inmates. Missouri is delinquent in paying the Lawrence County Jail nearly $500,000 for housing state inmates. The cost to McCoy: scrapes, bruises, and a knee injury. Until she's fully healed, she has been reassigned to light duty.
Her kids still don't know how she got banged up; McCoy said, "You don't tell your children about the boogeyman."
When McCoy moves back to regular duty inside the jail, she knows she'll face working with the inmates alone, again. "I love what I do, but I would like not to have to kiss my kids goodbye and know if they could have had somebody else in there to help me," she said tearing up.
Without the state reimbursements, Sheriff Brad Delay is worried the county could end the year in the red and potentially not have enough funds to cover paychecks. If that were to happen, McCoy said she'll work for free.