Alex Cabrero reporting A sheriff's deputy in Daggett County almost died on his last day on the job. But a jail inmate came to his rescue.
In most jails and prisons, there is a clear line. On one side, you have the officers. On the other, the inmates. Fortunately for Deputy Casey Slaugh, the Daggett County Jail isn't like most others.
Ervin Brafford used to be the type of guy you didn't want to meet in a dark alley.
Ervin Brafford: "I just kept making the wrong choices."
Those choices put him here, at the Daggett County Jail.
Ervin Brafford: "Got in a fight at a bar, and a burglary."
Ltn. Nancy Pickering: "He was a brat."
Nancy Pickering sees plenty of inmates come through her jail, but Brafford stuck out.
Pickering: "He was a little scary, and pretty hardcore."
But after a few months, Brafford says he noticed something different about this jail and the others he's spent time in.
Ervin Brafford/ Inmate, Daggett County Jail: "This one finally showed me, we'll let you be this way if you want, but look at what we have to offer. Look at what life can be like, and I said, 'Okay, let me see what you have to offer.'"
Right away, Brafford changed. Maybe it's because deputies treat inmates like adults, hold them accountable, and talk to them one-on-one when there's a problem. Whatever it is, it made a big difference this past weekend.
Pickering: "I was just floored when I heard it."
Deputy Casey Slaugh, on his last day at work, started violently choking on a pistachio. Brafford was the only one nearby.
Sgt. Quenten Wilde/ Daggett County Jail: "He ran over and gave him the Heimlich maneuver."
Lt. Nancy Pickering/ Jail Commander, Daggett County: "Deputy Slaugh's airway was completely shut off. So yes, he definitely saved his life."
It would've been so easy for Brafford to see Deputy Slaugh choking, turn his back, and just walk away. Even Brafford says it's somethign he probably would have done a year ago.
Ervin Brafford: "I probably would've walked over him as an enemy, but I don't have enemies now."
Other inmates say the jail's system changed them, too.
Mark Carlson/ Inmate, Daggett County Jail: "I've never been to a place where officers ask you, talk to you, and they want to know how your day is going."
Carlos Toledo/ Inmate, Daggett County Jail: "They treat you with the utmost respect, so you feel obligated to treat them with respect as well."
And that, as simple as it sounds, is what this jail is all about.
Ervin Brafford: "They'll open that door and accept you. But it's up to you to take it, or you can keep being the same way."
Brafford is up for parole in two years. We tried to talk to Deputy Slaugh, but he didn't return our calls. We're told he may be out of the area.
As for the jail, it's been there for seven years and they've never had an assault incident between an inmate and an officer.