Reprinted from American Jails. ©2016 American Jail Association. www.aja.org
On May 5, 1984, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, delivered a proclamation designating the first week in May as National Correctional Officers Week. The importance of all staff members who serve cannot be overstated, because each has an important role, whether civilian or security staff. Those who serve in the field can easily identify with the depth and spirit found in the context the nearly 40-year old proclamation. The President—and possibly the Nation—began to recognize that we are no longer “guards,” but trained professionals. In this article, we share some of the ways in which National Correctional Officers and Employees Week was observed in 2016.
Riverside Regional Jail Authority
Prince George, Virginia
Riverside Regional Jail Authority was in the middle of a barbeque to celebrate its employees for National Correctional Officers Week, and had to quickly transition from celebrations to an emergency situation due to a suicidal/homicidal individual approximately 100 yards away from the picnic area in which staff were celebrating.
Riverside Regional Jail Authority Jail officers quickly switched modes; they ensured everyone was evacuated safely. Operations continued as normal as possible at the main jail and pre-release center as personnel assisted the Prince George Police Department and Virginia State Police in securing a perimeter to protect the community and jail employees while the isolation, location and identity of the suspect were identified. In addition, staff who were not directly involved in the support of the emergency situation participated in relocating food to the main jail so that employees who had not yet attended the staff barbeque were able to enjoy the fine food and festivities.
Superintendent Jeffery L. Newton, CJM, commended his staff by sending out an email in which he stated that he “was proud of the manner that RRJA staff were easily able to transition from having a barbeque in celebration of Correctional Officers Week to assisting the Prince George Police Department and Virginia State Police in resolving the incident. You have a Great Team here and I am proud to be your Superintendent. Great Job By All!”
The Command staff at Riverside Regional Jail Authority would like to publicly thank each of its jail officers and employees for your relentless and diligent efforts and contributions. This incident was a great example of the ever-changing circumstances that jail officers face in the daily performance of assigned duties.
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