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DCS guards caught sleeping at work in pictures, video

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Channel 4 I-Team obtained photographs and video of guards at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center sleeping at work instead of watching the dangerous juveniles they are paid to supervise.

The photos and video show different guards sleeping, with their heads tilted back and slumped forward, in an area of the facility where they were supposed to be monitoring the teenage offenders.

"This type of behavior at work is totally unacceptable," said Albert Dawson, deputy commissioner of the Department of Children's Services.

The video shows one guard's head slowly falling back until he's asleep. The guard sitting next to him also appears to be asleep.

The guards were in a section of the facility called "the booth" where they monitor on televisions teenage juveniles in their dormitories.

The Channel 4 I-Team showed the video and photographs to attorney Everette Parrish, who represents many of the teenagers at Woodland Hills.

"If a person who is held wants to be out, the best time is when a guard is sleeping," Parrish said.

"There's no excuse, whatever the reason. There's no excuse for that kind of behavior," Dawson said.

"It's not a good use of taxpayer dollars."

Assault records at Woodland Hills show there is never a good time to take a nap.

In a six month period last year, staff members were assaulted 17 times and two had to be taken to the hospital.

The records show there were 50 times when juveniles attacked each other, not including just five days ago - when according to an affidavit - one teen choked another teenager until he turned blue and ultimately passed out before he was taken to the hospital.

The state has only been able to identify two of the sleeping guards so far, and one of the guard's records show that in September 2011, he was caught sleeping and given a written warning.

"It is the odd, irresponsible, untrained, undisciplined individual who have now made this difficult for the rest of them (other guards)," Parrish said.

The state believes that the guards were sleeping on the overnight shift.

Before the Channel 4 I-Team obtained the photos, DCS had already placed a new supervisor on that shift and they believe the sleeping has now stopped.

The female guard shown in the photos denied our request for an interview, and we were unsuccessful in reaching the other guard identified.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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