North Carolina Department of Correction

Correctional, Probation and Parole Officer of the Year Reception

Thursday, May 8, 1997, 2:30 p.m.

Remarks by Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis

I appreciate your taking time out of your busy day to come to Raleigh. I wanted you to come here today so I could personally let you know how much I appreciate your hard work and dedication to the Department of Correction. You are special people because you were selected from more than 11,000 DOC officers statewide as Officers of the Year. You deserve special recognition.

Besides being dedicated to your job, I know that some of you also volunteer in your respective communities, helping out in schools and motivating young people. Please continue. Crime and poor education go hand-in-hand. Eighty percent of those in our prison system test below a twelfth-grade education. Over half read below an eighth grade level when they come to prison. Gov. Hunt’s Excellence in Schools Act demands more from students and teachers and holds them accountable. We must reach out to children in the early years, while they’re still in daycare. That’s why Gov. Hunt’s Smart Start program is so important. It’s about quality child care, early childhood education and health screenings. 1997 Officers of the Year

Although Gov. Hunt could not be with us today, he asked me to tell you how proud he is of this department and of all of you for being named officers of the year. In fact, he went so far as to proclaim this week as "Correctional, Probation and Parole Officers Week" in North Carolina. Listen to what Gov. Hunt says about you in his proclamation.

Governor's proclamation WHEREAS, more than 10,000 North Carolina correctional officers are responsible for the daily supervision and control of 31,000 prison inmates in 90 prisons. Officers work hard to make sure prisoners (many of whom are violent and have no respect for the law) behave. Officers also enforce rules designed to ensure a prison that is safe for the local community, staff, and inmates.

WHEREAS, more than 1,600 probation and parole officers supervise 120,000 offenders across the state, and provide counseling and support services. Officers make frequent contacts with offenders (on the job or at home) to ensure that they meet all the conditions of their probation or parole.

WHEREAS, correctional, probation and parole officers must act as counselors, communicators, and experts at crisis management. They must possess the intuitive sense to resolve conflicts and to restrain persons representing a danger to themselves or others. These highly-trained professionals must complete a rigorous 160-hour training program to become certified. The training includes courses on effectively communicating with offenders, policies and procedures, first aid, unarmed self-defense and firearm training. Officers have to refresh their skills with 40 additional hours of training annually.

WHEREAS, correctional, probation and parole officers must perform their work often under adverse and hazardous conditions, while conducting themselves in a manner which meets the high standards set by their profession and the expectations of the public.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES B. HUNT JR., Governor of the State of North Carolina, join Secretary of Correction Mack Jarvis in proclaiming May 4-10, 1997, as "Correctional, Probation and Parole Officers Week" in North Carolina, and recommend this observance to our citizens.

The Division of Probation and Parole selected eight officers of the year. As I call your name, please come forward so I may shake your hand and present you with a small token of my appreciation.

Kenny Owens is chief probation and parole officer in Edgecombe County. Mr. Owens has led his office to the forefront in the use of Electronic House Arrest, IMPACT, and drug testing of offenders to target those needing treatment. He has averaged more than 30 offenders on E-H-A during the past year and is one of the leaders in the number of offenders referred to IMPACT. While pushing his unit to a high level of achievement, Mr. Owens remains sensitive to his officers’ needs creating high morale.
Greg Batts is a probation and parole officer in Wayne County. Mr. Batts has a reputation for being very helpful to both colleagues and offenders. He has a positive attitude towards his work and his community. He shares his upbeat personality with others. It’s no wonder he’s in demand in his community. Mr. Batts has been involved in numerous organizations including the Goldsboro Jaycees, Wayne Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board, Special Olympics, and the Probation and Parole Association.
Kristi Ripper is a probation and parole officer in Franklin County. Although she’s been in Correction less than two years, she already exemplifies professionalism, dependability, and attention to detail. When there was a vacancy in her office, Ms. Ripper took on the extra workload and helped find several offenders thought to be absconders. Other officers assisted with the extra caseload but Ms. Ripper kept the files and saw more offenders. She never complained about the extra work and never neglected her own caseload.
Thomas Faircloth is an Intensive Probation Officer in Cumberland County. At the request of Judge Lynn Johnson, Mr. Faircloth assisted the sheriff’s department with developing a physical training program for probationers needing discipline. The program has received national attention. Mr. Faircloth puts in countless hours beyond his normal duties to ensure the program’s success. The program has been a valuable asset for DAPP in Cumberland County as an alternative to incarceration. The program’s success is due in part to Mr. Faircloth’s outstanding efforts and dedication. He also speaks to high school and college classes about his job... inspiring smart, energetic students to join the criminal justice profession.
Catherine Combs is chief probation and parole officer in Cabarrus County. Ms. Combs works closely with a program known as Meet the Courts and Law Enforcement. She introduces 9th graders to probation and parole, and explains the judicial process. The program is used at all Cabarrus County and Kannapolis city schools. She is a volunteer with Rowan County’s Rape Companion and Family Abuse Crisis Center. She supports rape victims by helping them understand court and police procedures and medical requirements.
Ted East is an intensive case officer in Forsyth County. Mr. East assisted with the Impact After-Care Pilot Project. He has shown strong leadership in coordinating this program. Mr. East has established an agreement with the city of Winston-Salem to employ Impact graduates and has arranged for job training. He also makes sure emergency housing is available for Impact graduates. Mr. East has arranged banquets to honor graduates and used community leaders as speakers. In addition, Mr. East has organized sporting events between after-care groups. The commitment Mr. East has shown towards this program is one reason he’s such a valuable staff member.
Bobby Cagle is chief probation and parole officer in Cherokee County. He’s also a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill. As part of his study, Mr. Cagle recently completed a year-long internship with the area’s primary treatment provider. Besides overseeing substance abuse treatment for individuals and groups, he completed two major projects during his internship which were very helpful to the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. First, he completed a study with recommendations for improvement of communication between the local mental health center and DAPP. He also planned and coordinated a meeting of DAPP staff in the 13th district and substance abuse treatment staff at the Smoky Mountain Mental Health Center. This helped to improve the two agencys’ relationship and the quality of service provided to local probationers and parolees.

Ralph Elliott is chief probation and parole officer in Cleveland County. Mr. Elliott has been a DOC employee for more than two decades. He’s dependable, helpful, and always completes his assignments. Mr. Elliott supervises six intensive teams and seven probation and parole officers. He conducts about nineteen case reviews each month. Although he has a heavy workload, he gets the job done and does it well.

Ryan Aycock is a correctional officer at Caledonia Correctional Institution. Last December, Mr. Aycock was on his way home from work when he noticed smoke coming from the roof of a house and a child in the front doorway. Mr. Aycock quickly pulled over and ran to the burning house. The child said his mother and sister were still in the home. Without regard for his own safety, Mr. Aycock searched the house until he found the other occupants and helped them outside to safety. Although the family lost their home, thanks to Mr. Aycock, they have something much more important, their lives.
Phillip Bowen is a correctional officer at Odom Correctional Institution and he knows the importance of being prepared. Last year, he was in the prison’s tower doing inventory when a car quickly pulled up and the doors flew open. The occupants were calling for assistance and indicating that a child in the car was not breathing. Officer Bowen raced to the car and discovered a two-year-old who was neither responsive nor breathing. Mr. Bowen used his DOC training and began rescue breathing while another officer called for more medical assistance. Odom’s nursing team worked on the child until a rescue squad arrived and took the little girl to the local hospital. She’s now doing fine thanks to the quick action of Mr. Bowen.
Roxanne Ferguson is a correctional officer at Western Youth Institution. The alertness and professionalism of Ms. Ferguson resulted in the capture of three escaped felons. Ms. Ferguson was the first to spot two of the inmates. Then, while keeping them covered, she saw a third one hidden beneath some vines near another officer. She was able to get control of the third inmate until he could be disarmed and shackled. The inmate, who had a screwdriver and scissors in his possession, had vowed not to be taken alive.
Cathy Dixon is a correctional officer at Pender Correctional Institution. Ms. Dixon is very dedicated to her job and often goes beyond the call of duty. Her mother passed away during the Easter holiday weekend. In spite of this, Ms. Dixon reported to work long enough (on the following Monday morning) to take care of important business. The day after her mother’s funeral, Ms. Dixon worked the command post during an institutional shakedown. She also worked in the command center during hurricanes Bertha and Fran.
Frederick Jones is a sergeant at Raleigh Correctional Center for Women. It was Christmas night last year when Mr. Jones learned that an inmate had just escaped. The inmate was in shackles awaiting transport to Women’s prison for segregation. Sgt. Jones ran out of the building and up the street through one of the most dangerous areas in Raleigh. He was able to catch up with the inmate and apprehend her a few blocks from the prison. At one point, Mr. Jones lost sight of the inmate. Instead of giving up, he continued and was able to find the inmate. Nearby residents were not in any danger thanks to Mr. Jones and his quick capture.
Daniel Pierce is a program supervisor at Wilkes Correctional Center. He was recommended for this honor because of his high productivity and exceptional work. He has made an extra effort to ensure that inmate programs are meaningful and that inmate job assignments are available. Mr. Pierce is also active in his community. He helped establish the first annual Children’s Classic Charity Golf Tournament. Mr. Pierce is also an active member of the State Employees Association and has served as chairman for district eight.
Frank Horne is a program assistant at Orange Correctional Center. Earlier this year, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall David Griffith and his wife were involved in a single car accident between Hillsborough and Durham. The car ran off the right side of the road, crossed over to the left side, went down an embankment and struck a tree head-on, trapping both occupants inside. The electrical system shorted out and the car filled with smoke. There was a strong possibility of fire. That didn’t stop Mr. Horne, who witnessed the accident, from dashing down the embankment and pulling the Griffith couple to safety.
Lewis Smith is a lieutenant at Anson Correctional Center. Mr. Smith does an outstanding job organizing training and teaching. He is the promotional exam instructor and officers’ refresher training instructor for the South Piedmont area. Mr. Smith is also very active in his community. He’s a member of the State Employees Association, American Correctional Association, the Peabody Community Action Club, and is a cub scout leader.
Marvin Biggs is a lieutenant at Hyde Correctional Center. He’s also a certified criminal justice instructor. He had the awesome task of being the prison’s training coordinator. This was when the new medium security prison was just beginning the process of recruiting, hiring, and training a full-time staff of 227 employees. Because of the remote location of Hyde, it was clear that there would be few applicants with prior criminal justice experience. Mr. Biggs accepted the challenge of developing and coordinating a major training program to prepare employees to work effectively. Gov. Hunt and I went to Swan Quarter last week to help dedicate Hyde Prison. We were impressed with how well the prison is running.
Richard Daywalt is a correctional officer at Davie Correctional Center. Last year when the prison was short-staffed, Mr. Daywalt would always respond to late night and early morning calls requiring him to work 16-hour shifts. Regardless of how many days in a row he worked, or the number of hours, he always had a positive attitude and performed in an outstanding manner.

I commend each of you for being named Officers of the Year. I hope all the guests and visitors will take a moment to shake hands with these special officers before you leave. Let them know how much you appreciate what they’re doing for the state of North Carolina.