Honoring our correctional officers

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan wrote these words:

“Correctional officers have the difficult and often dangerous assignment of ensuring the custody, safety and well-being of the over 600,000 inmates in our Nation’s prisons and jails. Their position is essential to the day-to-day operations of these institutions; without them it would be impossible to achieve the foremost institutional goals of security and control.

“Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as ‘guards,’ occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails. In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding. They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles. The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect. The important work of correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves. It is appropriate that we honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections.”

As jail supervisor at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, I know firsthand the hard work and dedication our jail staff exhibits on a daily basis. Our officers have to deal with the worst society has to offer. Being spit on, sworn at and assaulted is something all too common that comes with the job. These professionals on a daily basis put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of this great county and the inmates themselves.

When the public doesn’t hear about us, that means we are doing our job. Our officers work tirelessly regardless of the conditions. I get the honor to work with these professionals on a daily basis and get to see their skills at work. Whether it’s de-escalating a verbal confrontation, or having to do a cell extraction of a violent inmate, I am amazed every day with the limited tools you are allowed to have in a correctional facility and how well our staff works together. With no more than a set of handcuffs, pepper foam and their verbal skills, they take on tough tasks head on. We truly are a family that has each others back. I am honored and privileged to work with these professionals every day.

This past week we celebrated National Correctional Officers Week. Join me in recognizing the men and women at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, not only during this special week but throughout the year.

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Patrick White is the jail supervisor at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.