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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Forgotten Cop

Submitted anonymously

What would the average citizen say if it were proposed that Police Officers be assigned to a neighborhood which was inhabited by no one but criminals and those Officers would be unarmed, patrol on foot and be heavily out numbered? I wager that the overwhelming public response would be that the Officers would have to be crazy to accept such an assignment. However as you read this, such a scenario is being played out in all areas of the country.

We are Correctional Officers. Not Guards (who are people that watch school crossings). We work at minimum, medium, and maximum security Correctional Facilities. We are empowered by the State to enforce its Penal Laws, rules, and regulations of the Department of Correctional Services. In short we are Policemen. Our beat is totally inhabited by convicted felons who, by definition, are people who tend to break laws, rules, and regulations. We are out numbered by as many as 50 to 1 at various times of our work day and contrary to popular belief, we work without a side arm. In short, our necks are on the line every minute of every day.

A Correctional Facility is a very misunderstood environment. The average person has very little knowledge of its workings. Society sends it's criminals to Correctional Facilities and as time passes, each criminals crime fades from our memory until the collective prison population becomes hordes of bad people being warehoused away from decent society in a place where they can cause no further harm. There is also the notion that prison inmates cease to be a problem when they are incarcerated.

Correctional Facilities are full of violence perpetrated by the prison population against the prison population and facility staff. Felonies are committed daily but are rarely reported. They are called "unusual incidents" and rarely result in criminal prosecution. Discipline is handled internally and, as a rule, the public is rarely informed of these crimes. In the course of maintaining order in these facilities, many Officers have endured the humiliation of having urine and feces thrown at them. Uncounted Correctional Officers have been kicked, bitten, stabbed and slashed with home made weapons, taken hostage, murdered and even raped in the line of duty, all while being legally mandated to maintain their Professional Composure and refraining from any retaliation which could be the basis for dismissal from service.

In addition to these obvious dangers, Correctional Officers face hidden dangers in the form of AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C. Courts are now imposing longer sentences and the prison population is increasing far beyond the systems designated capacity. As the public demands more police on the street, governments everywhere are cutting police in prison where violence reigns supreme, jeopardizing all those working behind prison walls.

Although you will never see us on "911" or "Top Cops" we are Law Enforcement Professionals. We are the "FORGOTTEN COP," hidden from public view, doing a dangerous beat, hoping someday to receive the respect and approval from the public who "WE SILENTLY SERVE."

Written by Donald E. Premo, Jr.
New York State Corrections Officer

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lets get this straight. You are not policemen. You don't make arrest, have court or even have the training that a cop has. do not rank yourself in this catagory. There is tv shows for you also. Please do not misguide the people.

Anonymous said...

KUDOS!

Sounds to me like this guy has an inferiority complex. In fact, from my experience, most "correctional officers" that I have met suffer the same problem. Many of them for whatever reason didn't make it as a "policeman", and so they become "guards". Then they taste the POWER, and it's this power that keeps these "forgotten cops" coming back everyday.

Now don't get me wrong. Not all guards are like this, just most. Also, there is a huge difference between the duty of a prison guard versus a jail guard.

Now I'd like to comment further on what this Mr. Premo has said:

"A Correctional Facility is a very misunderstood environment. The average person has very little knowledge of its workings. "
-----How very true. If the average person really knew how you guards treated inmates (even those who have not yet been convicted and may be innocent).......

"Discipline is handled internally and, as a rule, the public is rarely informed of these crimes."----and normally a one-sided corrupt "hearing" is held, which 99% of the time results in the inmate being found guilty.

"Courts are now imposing longer sentences and the prison population is increasing far beyond the systems designated capacity. As the public demands more police on the street, governments everywhere are cutting police in prison where violence reigns supreme, jeopardizing all those working behind prison walls."-----YEP. Alot of prisons are now privately owned, and everyday these private corporations lobby for stricter punishments. I mean come on it's their business, the more people in their prisons the more money they make...the more soap and food and towels the prison must buy from the other huge corporations who also lobby to put people in prison for having marijuana etc.

No prison should ever be privatized.

People in this country need to wake up, do real research, and really see what is going on...what drives this country....the o' mighty dollar. From healthcare to immigration and the prison system....our rights and tax dollars are being stripped from us via a series of lies that the American public swallows hook-line-and-sinker everyday.

Do the research...see how many people have been taken from their families and incarcerated because they had pot. People taken from their families and put in prison because they had a plant. Now, instead of being a productive citizen (and yes many were), we now have to spend the tax money to keep them locked away. It's ridiculous, and this is just one example.

Crazy that this country has more people imprisoned than anywhere else in the world.

Anonymous said...

9:17
there is tv shows for you? Clarify please?

"Lets get this straight. You are not policemen. You don't make arrest, have court or even have the training that a cop has" I know cops that left the beat to work in prisons, know Correctional officers that have attended court proceedings, as recently as this week. I have known people who have been killed during riots in prisons, and i would love to have you explain the lack of training to an ex MP with 6 years of training v.s act 120 training. It is dispicable for you to attempt to belittle them.

Anonymous said...

"Sounds to me like this guy has an inferiority complex. In fact, from my experience, most "correctional officers" that I have met suffer the same problem. Many of them for whatever reason didn't make it as a "policeman", and so they become "guards". Then they taste the POWER, and it's this power that keeps these "forgotten cops" coming back everyday. "

Funny thats my experience with most cops i know.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone was "belittling" them, and what does an MP have to do with being a prison/jail guard?

I know citizens that attended court proceedings this week...means nothing.

There is one common denominator when it comes to most guards....they love the feeling of power they get from being in charge.

Nothing is infallible or 100% accurate 100% of the time. Not all guards are like this, just most.

It is not despicable to speak the truth, regardless of whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Tv shows? Come on....you've never seen a prison documentary? Try watching something other than FOX for a change....like maybe TLC, PBS or the Discovery Channel.

Anonymous said...

It continues to amaze me, that so many people, in such a remote area
as McKean, Potter and Cameron County, claim to have all this worldly experience.
You claim to have first hand experience on any issue, no matter what the topic deals with.
You seem to know more about government, law, real estate, gas exploration and don't forget, WIND TURBINES, than anyone else on planet earth.
Good! That's great!
Then get off your computers, move to Washington D.C. and make use of
this claimed knowledge. this expertise.
Do this to help your fellow man.
We need you! You're just what the doctor ordered.


Otherwise ... shut up.

Anonymous said...

this guy kinda reminds you of "hoseheads". plenty of those attention seeking individuals isnt it?

Anonymous said...

"I know citizens that attended court proceedings this week...means nothing."
You said that correctional officers do not attend trial, well they do, thus debunking your argument.

"I don't think anyone was "belittling" them, and what does an MP have to do with being a prison/jail guard?"
Several ex military MP's end up as CO's, therin making it relevant.

"It is not despicable to speak the truth, regardless of whether you like it or not."
It has to be the truth first, you would have know most CO's, be an ex con, or actually be a CO to make your truth, until then it is still an opinoin.

1:00

In McKean county we have a federal prison, don't you think it is highly likely that one of the 250 employee's of that facility or their families would make their way to this blog. If you do then it may also be possible that i do have some sort of knowledge base on the topic and am pleanty able enough to speak on it. I agree in some cases that it is true they are power hungry, but people in general have a will to control in some manner of thinking, I feel that the first comments were overly generalized and took offense.

Anonymous said...

"Tv shows? Come on....you've never seen a prison documentary? Try watching something other than FOX for a change....like maybe TLC, PBS or the Discovery Channel." Oh and by the way, i hate Fox, just didn't really know what you were talking about with the, there is tv shows for you, your wording was confusing. Very knowledgable as to the exsistance of those shows, I grew up watching them, as well as cops with my father, who made a life change when he moved from being a cop to......you guessed it a Correctional Officer.

Anonymous said...

It appears that this is your chosen profession. My question is who's respect are you looking for, I feel that respect is earned, you are in a hidden profession and you are right the public doesn't see or know what it is like behind bars, I was a police officer and I wouldn't trade jobs with you for anything. But it is unclear to me the meaning of your post, is your contract up ? how can the public help?

Anonymous said...

1:00 sounds like you have a family member employed at prison

Solomon's words for the wise said...

This piece was submitted in conjunction with Governor Ed Rendell recognizing the many correctional officers with a proclamation last week. Our area has many who are employed as correctional officers in the local, state and Federal system. Do we have to beat up on everyone who is honored in any way. Some of you would crucify Jesus himself.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I dont think anyone is crucifying this man, or anyone who works in the corrections field. I THINK what some are trying to say is, some people(this officer included) look to others for a pat on the back. And it is nice to receive credit from time to time. But this is person is seeking more than a pat on the back. This attention seeker wants you to believe his job reaches the level of others, others that IMO far exceed this gentlemans.

Satisfaction from a job well done starts from within. If we all needed the amount of attention this gentleman is implying, most wouldnt get out of bed every morning because it doesnt come. Be happy with yourself, and know that your job is important. That youve done the best you know how. That my friend is the only recognition most get, and need.

Anonymous said...

Ofcourse they would crucify Jesus himself, as long as they get to remain "anonymous."

L. H.

Anonymous said...

And what does L. H. stand for?

Anonymous said...

"Try watching something other than FOX for a change...."

Why don't you people get over yourselves? If you do not like Fox then do not watch it!

Many Americans must like the Fox News channel because their rating are beating the heck out of ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and the list goes on! Ha
Truth in numbers people...It is what it is!

Anonymous said...

I am appalled to be living in Potter County among anyone who would have these sorts of opinions. I am ashamed for you. These men and women put their lives on the line every day in state, federal and local prisons. Your right it is their job but if they didnt do it who would you? Probably not no your the type who will just sit at home and blog about everyone else instead of getting up off your lazy behind and doing something that would benefit the community as these men and women do.

Anonymous said...

I did not view this man as a bragger. I have a family member who is in with a numerous amount of inmates, and is not allowed to carry a weapon. He has had training-only leaving being a cop due to threat to his family and himself. I feel that these people should be forced to be trained and be required to carry a weapon to protect themselves. Yes, doing this type of work is a choice, but for some, there really is not a better option out there. I hope that some of you did not make others feel badly about themselves. They are doing a job that many would not be brave enough to do.

Anonymous said...

Power hungry? Give me a break!.The ratio of the average Officer is 15 inmates to 1 Officer. Where else do you find the odds that lopsided? We go home every night in part because the inmates let us.
We know what these inmates are serving time for, and must by law treat the minor offenses of a small amount of marijuana the same as the ones that are serving time for molesting a young child, possibly even your child. Could you do the same? Could you treat the individual fairly that threatened to kill you and/or your family when they get out and then try to follow thru by setting a fire at your house while your loved ones were home? We do.
Most Corrections Officers are not power hungry, although the few that may be get the most attention and are therefore considered the norm. Please do not judge us until you have done our job for a while. I suspect that those criticizing the most on here are those that have broken the law or are friends/family with those that have.
P.S. Those that work in this profession area at the county and state level are all trained by the State Academy and must pass that course to retain our job.