SLO County’s great cake caper

August 17, 2016

Susan Cameron

By KAREN VELIE

It turned out to be sort of a half-baked plan.

On June 7, Susan Cameron, a nursing supervisor in charge of medical staff at the San Luis Obispo County Jail, brought a cake in for her co-workers to enjoy. “While all the employees were in another room eating cake,” Cameron was allegedly getting high on opioids.

But Cameron appears not to have considered a video camera that monitored the room. She was caught on video stealing and consuming an inmate’s prescription methadone, according to a search warrant affidavit.

A day later, Cameron failed to appear at work. Co-workers tried to reach her by phone but she did not answer.

A deputy was dispatched to Cameron’s home in Cayucos where the officer found her inside the home, unresponsive with foam coming from her mouth, the search warrant affidavit said.

Because Cameron was cold to the touch, the deputy started CPR. Once paramedics arrived, Cameron was given a shot of Narcan, an opioid blocker that can reverse an overdose, and transported to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Following Cameron’s overdose, Commander Jim Voge mounted an investigation. One of the therapists interviewed said she had discovered a discrepancy in the log from June 7, the day before Cameron overdosed. Nurses giving drugs to inmates are required to initial each dose. But, in several cases, the initials were missing.

In addition, the therapist noticed methadone missing from a prescription container, she said.

Witnesses told investigators of multiple incidents in which Cameron failed to follow drug dispensing protocols and that her behavior was of concern.

“That behavior consisted of rambling, fidgety, pale and diaphoretic (heavy sweating),” the affidavit read.

After Voge viewed the tape of Cameron using methadone at work, the sheriff’s department applied for a warrant to search Cameron’s home.

“It would not be uncommon for an employee who steals prescription medication from their employer and consumes it while at work, to conceal it and remove it from their place of employment,” the probable cause statement used to obtain the search warrant read. “It would not be uncommon for that employee to store that stolen prescription medication at their home, so as to be able to use it at a later time.”

The statement also suggested that, “it would also not be uncommon for Susan Cameron, a registered nurse, to steal and/or forge blank doctor’s scripts… .”

On June 22, sheriff deputies served the search warrant on Cameron’s home.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing a request from the sheriff’s department to file a criminal complaint against Cameron, Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said.

Employees from both San Luis Obispo County’s human resources and sheriff’s departments failed to respond to questions about Cameron’s employment status.

The kind of cake Cameron brought to the jail was not reported.


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26 Comments

  1. Scott says:

    NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

    FTW= FOLLOW THE MONEY

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. sand_runner says:

    Addiction is a cunning foe!
    It sleeps in the recesses of one’s psyche laying dormant until the right conditions combined with lethargic treatment enables the covert and vicious beast to once again take another prisoner. Yet this “jailer” holds the prisoner in plain sight inside the addicts work, family, and community enabling the infliction of destruction one hundred fold.

    Please do not get me wrong. Ms Cameron should be held accountable for her misdeeds.
    She should also be given the specialized treatment effectively send her disease into remission.

    Nurses work in tremendously stressful situations, especially those in criminal psychiatric hospitals, prisons, and jails! Many give of themselves for decades to care for the infirmed.
    Our “systems” should be scrutinized, but do not miss that many good people fall victims in many ways. Thank God she wasn’t found dead!

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  3. mej says:

    Netflix has a great series called Nurse Jackie. Similar to this, and so good it’s a binge type show.

    (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
    • kayaknut says:

      But just like Nurse Jackie, this public employee will suffer no real consequences for her actions.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        The Board of Registered Nursing will step in. You can go to the Board of Registered Nursing website and look up the status of a license. You can report a registered nurse for wrongdoing, drug use, abuse.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
        • kayaknut says:

          That would just mean she would have to get a different job with the government, not a “real” consequence, firing and forfeiture of payout, pension and benefits, now that would be be something, but it will never happen.

          (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  4. demiseofslo says:

    Go to the jail and spend a few hours in the holding tank. Observe the LEO thugs in their domicile. There is corruption around every single nook and cranny of the jail and sheriffs department. They will go out of their normal routine to humiliate and degrade you, regardless of your offense. Don’t forget that SLO county jail had one of the highest inmate death rates this year as well :(

    (-3) 33 Total Votes - 15 up - 18 down
  5. sloweb says:

    I have one observation and two questions.
    1) This CAN’T be the first time for her.

    1) Why was the stealing not discovered until they found her OD’d?
    2) Are they investigating their failure to discover ongoing theft?

    (25) 29 Total Votes - 27 up - 2 down
    • kayaknut says:

      My answers would be:

      1. No one wanted to spill the beans because she then might turn them in on their issues.

      2. No, don’t want to upset the system.

      (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
  6. CentralcoastRN says:

    The jail nurse is not LEO. She is a nurse who works in a jail.

    She is an addict.

    There is no cover up. This must be documented and handled VERY careful so that all objective documentation is there. She is a union employee, and they must prove that she stole the meds from jail, that she consumed meds at the jail, and that they investigated fairly so that they can discipline or fire her.

    The video will certainly help, but the process must still occur. The “county” needs to NOT speak and let the “official investigation” occur so this nurse has ZERO grounds to drag this out longer than it needs to. Believe me, she will try HARD to keep this job because NO ONE will want a nurse with drug issues. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    (22) 38 Total Votes - 30 up - 8 down
  7. CentralcoastRN says:

    The Board of Registered Nursing will either revoke her license or suspend her license pending successful treatment of rehab and other crap.

    I know a few nurses who work at the jail. They are WONDERFUL nurses, talented, and devoted to our community.

    When a discrepancy like this occurs, there SHOULD be a policy in place that tells the staff member what to do. In general, if a discrepancy occurs, a second staff should recount. Then, staff should go over the med log and double check that all meds were initial/signed for. THEN, staff should try and reconcile where the missing med could have gone. Usually if a controlled medication needs to be “wasted”, a second nurse will witness the discarding of the med in order to prevent abuse, prevent errors, etc. No one leaves if the count is off until a supervisor is notified. That is what SHOULD happen.

    Since the prison realignment, I am not sure what policy changes have happened in order to accommodate the surge of inmates. I have heard that there has been HUGE staff turnover due to stress and lack of pay. With this comes the “opportunity” for someone with tendencies to abuse the naïveté of staff who are not yet fully trained.

    http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/docs/realignment-fact-sheet.pdf

    I don’t think the County can really comment until they figure out what the heck happened, and if it is a policy issue, then they will need to fix it.

    I am very disappointed in this nurse. She tarnishes the good reputation of nurses in her behavior.

    (17) 21 Total Votes - 19 up - 2 down
    • Jorge Estrada says:

      Drug dealers, bar tenders and commercial airline pilots have the same problem. Maybe we should require a co-nurse for administering certain drugs? Yes, there are many forms of addiction and most prefer to avoid this issue until it is a family member.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  8. Scott says:

    NO it is called Cover Up, lawsuits will follow against the County she is not the only employee who has committed crimes while on duty. Several are still pending against the coutny.

    SLO County has more corrupt employees than it wants to admit…

    The DA should recuse and bring in the State AG’s office

    (14) 30 Total Votes - 22 up - 8 down
    • AmericaBeautiful says:

      In theory you may be right, but the current AG would make sure justice was not done. She needs to be voted out.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  9. Scott says:

    What is going on is pure and simple, CORRUPTION is rampant in all facets of our local authorities, remember X SLO Officers Cory Pierce, Armando Limon, McDow and many others all caught using, smuggling drugs while on duty working as officers, not one was caught by their own Departments all were caught by the Federal agents, so as one can see abuse, illicit drug use, lying, perjury are now the norm in SLO LEO’s.

    We have many great men and woman of law enforcement, i had lunch with 5 of them today and they are all disgusted at the problems of being tainted by the dirty, dope using staff. 3 of the 5 today I had lunch with work for the Sheriff’s office the other two work for SLO PD.

    It is a shame this continues to happen and taints the good ones who sacrifice so much for all of us, a in-depth house cleaning is in order, now by there own but an outside independent group of investigators and medical personal not affiliated with the local LEO’s .

    Since several local LEO’s were listed on the Narcotics Task Force fake FB of Summer Johnson site, this is now an epidemic in our local agencies and cover ups will take place unless a major outside investigation is done and done with integrity, ethics, transparency and about all the TRUTH, you can not just tell we the public “Oh all the staff have volunteered to submit to a urine or blood test ?

    Let the public see all the results and take polygraphs as well, if your a honest, law abiding LEO you should have no shame in proving to the people your clean

    (18) 28 Total Votes - 23 up - 5 down

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