DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Theodis Beck, Secretary
Tracy Little, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926
May 12, 2000
|Department of Correction Honors
Officers of Year
RALEIGH Sixteen correctional and probation/parole officers from throughout the state were honored as Department of Correction Officers of the Year during a ceremony held May 10 in Raleigh.
The officers were recognized for various accomplishments, ranging from acts of heroism to initiating projects to improve operations of prison facilities and supervision of offenders.
During the ceremony, Correction Secretary Theodis Beck expressed his pride in the work of the officers. He said, "For not much money, and for often terrible hours, on a daily basis, officers put their lives at risk for two simple reasons -- to protect and help others." Beck went on to say, "In many situations, these officers try to help and protect people they do not even know, and, on occasion, they help and protect those who may even wish them harm. There is no greater calling in this great country that calls for more moral strength, sacrifice and fidelity than that of public service."
Individual stories of each honoree follow. For a JPEG photo of any of the officers, call Bryan Bass at the 919-733-4926 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officers recognized are:
Division of Community Corrections
Bob Hogan is chief probation/parole officer in Burke County. An example of Hogan's effectiveness in his job is a recent search. On March 16, Hogan helped coordinate and carry out searches of 15 offenders' residences in Burke County. During the search, corrections officers found illegal drugs, firearms and drug paraphernalia. Judicial District Manager David Throneburg said, "Bob leads by example and never asks anymore of his staff than he is willing to do. His work ethics and dedication make him an outstanding role model for those he supervises."
Carl Wayne Jewett is a probation/parole officer in Tarboro. In the evening hours of September 16, the Heartsease Fire Department requested Jewett's assistance in the rescue effort of 20 stranded flood victims in the Dunbar Community. Using two small boats, Jewett and others rescued all 20 people and their pets from the rising floodwaters. The next day, Jewitt reported for work. For the next 15 days, Jewett averaged more than 11 hours a day in truck, boat and helicopter rescue operations.
Kenneth L. Jones is a surveillance officer in Bladen County. He was instrumental in helping to bring offenders into compliance. The intensive supervision officer at the unit could not work due to injuries from a car accident. At the time, there were 47 probationers/parolees who were on intensive supervision. Jones reviewed the caseload and made recommendations for case staffing. Through his recommendations, his unit was able to change a caseload with serious compliance into one that now has minimal compliance problems.
Laura Bowers Bame is a probation/parole officer in Cabarrus County. Bame, who supervises sex offenders in the Sex Offender Control Program Pilot frequently goes the extra mile -- literally -- to ensure public safety. At one time, Bame was supervising a "sexual predator" on parole from Texas. Before his time in custody, the offender frequented bowling alleys where he targeted young people. Bame visited local bowling alleys to advise employees of his presence in the area. An owner of a bowling alley told her the offender had joined a bowling league to teach youngsters. The offender was then arrested and extradited back to Texas.
Leroy Reid is a drill instructor at IMPACT East. On February 16, bus 129 from Ellerbe Junior High was faced with an emergency. A student on the bus was having difficulty breathing and the driver stopped to try to perform first aid. Reid and his co-worker correctional officer Andrew Estridge, who were on their way to work, saw the bus, stopped and offered assistance. Reid used a sternum rub and CPR on the child to promote breathing. After emergency personnel arrived, the boy was taken to the emergency and released shortly thereafter.
Lynn Jeffrey Vickers is a program assistant at IMPACT West. Vickers developed computer databases for IMPACT West that greatly improved the efficiency of recordkeeping at his unit. The databases help keep track of tools, and personnel and probationer information at the facility.
Division of Prisons
Dana Andre Ross is a correctional officer at Sandhills Youth Center. On July 19, Ross noticed that Lois Culler, a registered nurse at the Center, was choking on her dinner. Culler could not breathe. First, Ross performed the Heimlich maneuver on Culler. When that proved ineffective, Ross then managed to dislodge the food from her throat by striking her back with the heel on his palm.
Mike Reynolds is a correctional officer at Dan River Prison Work Farm. As Reynolds was returning home August 25, he saw a flaming car. Inside the car was Jimmy Odell, unconscious and badly burned. Reynolds quickly grabbed Odell's belt buckle and pulled him out of the vehicle. Odell was then taken to a local hospital.
Richard David Miller is a correctional officer at Lumberton Correctional Institution. On March 11, inmate Robert Ferguson collapsed on the recreation field at the institution. Miller was the first correctional officer on the scene. Ferguson was unconscious, and Miller noticed a change in his skin color. Miller tried to revive the inmate by shaking him and shouting, but he received no response. Without regard for his own health, Miller immediately administered CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Ferguson. However, despite Miller's brave efforts, Ferguson died.
Ricky Rivenbark is a captain at Pender Correctional Institution. On September 17, the Pender County Sheriffs Department requested assistance from Pender Correctional Institution in evacuating people from floodwaters created by Hurricane Floyd. Rivenbark responded with a four-person team, a truck and two buses. His crew traveled through dangerously high water to get to the affected areas. After arriving, Rivenbark stationed one bus in a central area and sent out a roving vehicle to search for people who were stranded.
Robert Allen Reed is a sergeant at Western Youth Institution. During his employment at Western Youth, he has consistently accepted new challenges and responsibilities. These responsibilities include achieving his General Instructor Certification. Other certifications include unarmed self-defense and Sexual Harassment Prevention.
Truman Brien Harris is a sergeant at Randolph Correctional Center. Harris has served on a Prison Emergency Response Team (PERT) since 1988 and was recently promoted to assistant commander of PERT A-Company 3rd Battalion, which serves the Piedmont Region. Randolph Superintendent Raymond Smith Jr. said Harris' current assignment is "an unequaled position for a correctional officer." He also said that Harris has "worked tirelessly in the reorganization and training of the PERT in this region."
Kenneth Shields is a correctional officer at Nash Correctional Institution. In the early morning hours of September 16, Shields and fellow officer Christopher Beasley were attempting to drive their vehicles to work in spite of the conditions created by Hurricane Floyd. The two men's cars became trapped in the floodwater and started drifting in the currents. Shields climbed from his car with his cellular telephone and made it to solid ground. Beasley attempted to swim to safety, but the currents exhausted him, forcing him to cling to a tree to stay alive. Until help arrived two hours later, Shields called out to Beasley and encouraged him to not give up.
Eddie Keith Overby is a lieutenant at Franklin Correctional Center. On March 4, Overby was teaching a class how to make a fire using a flint and steel and dried grass and moss. During a test, a student began sparking his flint, but then blew too hard on the sparks. Flames shot up, igniting grass the student was holding. A safety officer at the class tried to extinguish the fire using a wool blanket, but the safety officer's coat sleeve caught on fire and, in an instant, his entire coat was in flames. The officer dropped and began rolling to put out the coat fire but rolled into an area of broom straw and spread the fire. Overby immediately grabbed a wool blanket and dove on the officer. Other safety officers at the church then began putting out the fires still burning.
Jeffrey Clark is a correctional officer at Blue Ridge Youth Center. On March 26, Clark was driving to work and saw a flaming truck down an embankment beside the highway. Clark quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher from his vehicle and worked to get the17-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl from the burning truck.
Kenneth Coley is a correctional officer at Neuse Correctional Institution. Coley was on approved vacation following Hurricane Floyd, but reported for duty after securing his family. After assisting in the full evacuation of the institution, he reported to the Red Cross where he worked 10 to 13 hours a day. Unfortunately, Coley was seriously injured in a car accident not long after Hurricane Floyd. He is still recuperating from his injuries. Still, Coley continues to report to work and function in whatever capacity is needed. Throughout it all, Officer Coley served with diligence and dignity.
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