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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    The Yard


Police and
Law Enforcement News

March, 2002

We recently did an article on professional courtesy in which we mentioned corrections officers. In response, we received several emails from corrections officers thanking us for including them. Why they felt the need to send such emails is a problem.

Corrections officers are law enforcement officers, no more, no less. To exclude them is no different than excluding FBI agents, Sheriffs Officers, or State Troopers. While our jobs may differ, we all deal with the same bad guys and are all part of the same culture.  They are part of us.

Imagine the worst street in your town (if you even have a worst street). You know, the street that you avoid when there is ten minutes left in your shift. Now, multiply that street times ten. That’s what corrections officers deal with every day. How these guys deal with these shit birds on a yearly, monthly and hourly basis is beyond me.


I’ve had times where we’re bringing a guy to the jail who is going bananas. We call ahead to see if a CO or two can meet us outside and help. When we arrive there is a friggin mob of them waiting for us. They all have two things in common. They’re all wearing a uniform, and they’re all wearing black gloves. When we pull in and the bad guy sees his fate, most of the time he will turn into the most cooperative person you’ve ever handled with the manners of an British Prince. On the few rare occasions where he keeps fighting, he disappears into a blue cloud. All you see is this cloud moving back into the jail with a pair of ankles as a tail. It’s actually kind of funny to see.

CO’s are also the guys that pull up to you on that 2 a.m. stop when you’re alone and the car has four occupants. “You okay Bro?” I happen to work in a town where the county jail is located, and I can’t even count how many times that has happened.

Corrections Officer is also the one law enforcement job that people quit from out of fear. They have had such a problem with new hires leaving half way through the first shift or after their first day because they couldn’t handle the inmates, that DOC had to change their hiring procedures. Now, in most facilities, you have to actually work in the facility with the bad guys before you can go to the academy to ensure that you can handle it. And, this is not criticism of those who left there. It’s a very tough job. Bottom line, you have to have courage to work there.

Imagine the ten worst bad guys you ever dealt with throughout your career. Now imagine having to deal with hundreds of them at one time. It’s dealing with the All-Star team of shit heads. That job takes balls, man, raw balls. Many facilities have gone to this new prisoner management style called Direct Supervision. Under this style one or two CO’s monitor an entire meal hall with as many as a hundred prisoners. These two guys are alone and locked in there with the bad guys.

Many of us, even those who are skilled in other law enforcement jobs, could not necessarily handle the job of a corrections officer. To me, the guys and girls who work there hold a badge of honor being a corrections officer. If you doubt this, ask any cop on the street who began his career in with a corrections agency.
March, 2002

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