Helena, Mont. State Corrections Director Bill Slaughter is praising guards for intercepting contraband a weapon and liquor that was headed into a state prison. He has apologized as well: The forbidden items were in his car.
It's a case of "the director's an idiot," Slaughter said Friday.
The guards found the hunting knife and liquor flask during a routine search of Slaughter's state-owned car in June. It was subject to a search because he was taking it into the prison auto shop for an oil change, which would be done by inmates.
The items were part of a survival kit in the trunk that included jumper cables, flashing lights and other gear.
"An old cop carries this stuff in case you get in trouble," said Slaughter, a former sheriff who was appointed director of the prison system in February.
Slaughter said Friday he hadn't given a second thought to the items. "I'm still learning what the protocol is," he said.
He said he told the guards not to give him any special treatment. "Whatever you do normally, do it. Don't cover it up," Slaughter said he told them.
They didn't; they confiscated the knife and flask and filed an official incident report.
Slaughter wrote letters of apology to the four officers.
"I am sorry I forgot to closely check my car before bringing it in for service," Slaughter wrote. "Thank you for doing such a good job catching the problem for me. I'll try to do better."