North Carolina Department of Correction

Officer of the Year

May 5, 1999

Correction Secretary Theodis Beck names
North Carolina Department of Correction Officers of the Year

Comments by Secretary Beck

I appreciate your taking time out of your busy day to come to Raleigh this afternoon. 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 11,500 DOC officers statewide as Officers of the Year. Each of you were chosen for your outstanding contributions to the Department of Correction. Many of you put in long, often stressful hours, working to make this Department what it is today. You volunteer to train your fellow staff members, you lead inmates into communities to help clean up after disasters, you develop relationships with others in the criminal justice system to help ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens of North Carolina and you stop and help your fellow man when he is in danger. Each and every one of you deserve this special recognition.

Besides being dedicated to your job, I know that some of you also volunteer in your respective communities, helping out with Special Olympics and volunteering in the schools. Please continue. The news today is filled with so many stories of children who have been led astray such as the recent tragedy that took place in Littleton, Colorado where so many lives were destroyed by the acts of two students. As professionals, we have a duty to serve as positive role models for our children. By reaching out to children before it’s too late, we may be able to prevent some of them from ending up in our prisons or on probation later in life.

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 "Correctional, Probation and Parole Officers Week" in North Carolina. In his proclamation, Gov. Hunt says that Correctional and Probation/Parole Officers have some of the hardest jobs in the state. Not only are you responsible for ensuring the safety of the general public, staff and offenders, you must also act as counselors, communicators, and experts at crisis management, acting to resolve conflicts and to restrain persons representing a danger to themselves or others.

Gov. Hunt and I, as Secretary of the Department, recognize the number of hours you put in as officers to develop and maintain your skills through rigorous basic and annual training, and we appreciate your efforts. We appreciate the fact that you must often perform your work under adverse and hazardous conditions, all the while, continuing to meet the high standards set by your profession and the expectations of the public.

Thank you for all that you do for this department and the state of North Carolina.

Now I would like to recognize our 1999 Officers of the Year. As I call out your name, please come forward to receive your certificate in recognition of your outstanding contributions to this department.

Vernon Bryant is a chief probation and parole officer with Judicial District 6A. He has coordinated the district’s House Arrest Response Team activities since the program’s inception. He is responsible for developing schedules for personnel serving on the Response Team and serves as the contact for the on-call officers when they have difficulties or need assistance. As a result, he receives many calls to his residence on weekends and nights. JDM Frank Pittard said Mr. Bryant provides the guidance necessary to enable the Response Team to perform its mission in a manner that emphasizes safety for both the staff and the general public.

Thanks to strong support for the program by Mr. Bryant, the judges and the District Attorney, Halifax County has been a leader in the use of House Arrest as a sanction. In addition to his duties as a chief probation and parole officer, Mr. Bryant also serves as a member of the Roanoke Rapids School Board.

John Cyrus is a chief probation/parole officer for Judicial District 26. He was selected to plan and implement the Community Policing Program in Mecklenburg County. By working in conjunction with the Police Department, he developed a strategic plan consisting of a mission, goals and objectives for the program. He personally named the program CEASE for Combined Enforcement and Supervision Effort. The program allows police and probation and parole officers mutual access to each agency's information systems while working together to keep tabs on offenders. This unique program provides cross training for police and probation officers, and the cooperation is expected to play a proactive role in preventing crime in the community.

Charles Harris is the superintendent of IMPACT West. Major Harris was requested to assist his division by overseeing IMPACT East as well as IMPACT West for a period of time last year. This required Major Harris to travel long distances and spend a great deal of time away from his family. Major Harris provided important leadership, carried out his duties overseeing both boot camp operations in a professional manner and provided recommendations to the Director for changes that were put into place and greatly improved operations at IMPACT East. With his leadership and the cooperation of the staff, IMPACT West continued to do an excellent job supervising young men in its rigorous and challenging program.
Christopher Oxendine is a chief probation and parole officer for Judicial District 18. He is the coordinator and contact person for High Point Police Department’s Violent Crime Task Force, a program that has helped to dramatically reduce the occurrence of violent crime in the community. He is also District 18’s liaison for the Federal Community Policing Task Force. Mr. Oxendine oversees all community policing activities within Guilford County by maintaining contact with all federal and local law enforcement agencies along with the probation and parole officers. He has also coordinated the cross-training of rookie police officers for the High Point Police Department and actively participates on the Division Case Management Task Force.
Stephen Wood is a probation and parole officer for Judicial District 11. Mr. Wood serves as chairman of District Two’s Combined Campaign and the district’s Special Olympics Committee. As chairman of District Two’s Special Olympics Committee, Mr. Wood demonstrated his leadership skills by raising more than 1,500 dollars in T-shirt sales alone. His motivation and professionalism has enabled Division Two to raise several thousand dollars to support the Department’s efforts in the Special Olympics.

Division Two Chief Woody Fullwood said Mr. Wood has an excellent rapport with the criminal justice community and readily assists his co-workers, volunteering to help out in the absence of others.

Thomas Ashley is a sergeant at Dan River Prison Work Farm. Since joining the staff at Dan River, Sgt. Ashley has been a true leader with the Community Work Program. Sgt. Ashley wrote the facility Standard Operating Procedures, assisted in the CWP correctional officer selections, ordered all required equipment, and ensured that all CWP personnel were properly trained. Sgt. Ashley has worked closely with local leaders by personally reviewing requests for work and conducting site inspections to ensure CWP activities are conducted in a professional and safe manner.

Sgt. Ashley worked many long hours cleaning up the tornado damage in Stoneville and the hurricane damage at the coast. As part of this complex disaster relief, Sgt. Ashley coordinated with federal, state and local government agencies, as well as, numerous volunteer and non-profit groups to ensure all work requests were prioritized.

Milton Briscoe is a sergeant at Cleveland Correctional Center. Superintendent Ross said Sergeant Briscoe has continued to display a professional attitude and has been an inspiration to others even while faced with the diagnosis of a degenerative kidney disease and a possible reassignment due to the pending closure of the prison. With the possibility of closure looming over the facility, Sergeant Briscoe has set a positive example for other employees by being supportive of management and dealing with employee concerns. He has also assisted management in shift coverage due to the recent hiring freezes and the defections of other staff.

Despite the diagnosis of his disease, Sergeant Briscoe has continued to fulfill his duties without self-pity or bitterness and has also taken on the additional duty of volunteering to represent the unit at the Special Olympics.

Joe Floyd is a unit manager at Hoke Correctional Institution. As central unit manager, he has worked to improve communication by establishing regular meetings with line staff and subordinate staff to review policy and procedure. He established a training package for newly promoted and transferred sergeants and an orientation sheet for correctional officers to ensure all employees fully understand their duties. He also designed standard operating procedures for Town Hall Meetings with inmates to address inmate questions and concerns.

After determining the need for more administrative office space, Mr. Floyd designed the plans and supervised the construction. He also established a new inmate identification/count board and designed inmate bulletin boards to ensure all information pertinent to inmates is easily accessible.

William Holloway is a lieutenant at Tyrrell Prison Work Farm. Upon the opening of the facility, he helped establish Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines. Lieutenant Holloway was given the task of managing third shift by himself and has managed to keep morale high by encouraging everyone to bring food to the staff meetings while he prepares the main course. When the staff was preparing to open the facility and the kitchen was not yet in use, Lt. Holloway helped prepare lunch for the staff. He also cooks for other staff functions and has been instrumental in two fundraisers for staff who had family medical problems.

Lt. Holloway also initiated using a mirror to check under vehicles and in some areas of the dorm which has led to the finding of serious contraband.

James Horne is a fiscal sergeant at Neuse Correctional Institution. As fiscal sergeant, he has written numerous Data Ease applications to improve the prison’s efficiency including a maintenance work order system that allows supervisors to submit work orders electronically to the facility maintenance supervisor and an application that generates up-to-date price lists for the canteens and warehouse. Another application designed by Sgt. Horne tracks items issued through the indigent inmate radio and battery program.

Sgt. Horne also keeps the Local Area Network up and running and serves as the principal editor on the digital video system. His efforts have saved Neuse countless man-hours.

James Langston is a lieutenant at Wake Correctional Center. Lieutenant Langston excels as the Officer-in-Charge of second shift operations by encouraging the professional development of the staff. During the past year, he served as chairman of a facility work group to make recommendations on revising the facility smoking policy, handling this sensitive issue in a professional manner.

Lieutenant Langston has also served his community by volunteering to help out with the North Carolina Special Olympics, the North Carolina Senior Games and the DOC and SEANC information booths at the State Fair. He also volunteers in the local schools and serves as a school PTA member.

Roger Lee is a captain at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women. Captain Lee conducts and directs the internal affairs investigations for the Warden at NCCIW. Performing his duties with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism, he is a thorough investigator, making sure to obtain all the relevant facts. Warden Caldwell said his written investigative reports are clear, concise, and he uses sound judgement in all actions and resulting recommendations.

Also, during the extensive construction taking place at the facility, Captain Lee has been responsible for ensuring security supervision on a daily basis for each site. His duties have included working out schedules with numerous contractors and providing security clearance for workers.

Michael McIntyre is a correctional officer at Southern Correctional Institution. He has been instrumental in the success of the Institution’s Blanket Recovery Project, a project that uses inmate labor to turn scrap material into blankets for charitable organizations. Officer McIntyre began the project with six inmates and now employs nine with hopes of starting a second shift. Officer McIntyre has used his creativity along with the suggestions of the inmates to turn the scrap material into blankets for the Red Cross, blankets for the Aging in Housing Projects, wheel chair cushions, wheel chair lap blankets, painting smocks for schools, kindergarten mats and Christmas stockings.

Superintendent Clark said Officer McIntyre is an outstanding liaison between the public and the Department of Correction in the distribution of the blankets being made at the facility.

Terry Rutan is a correctional officer at Caledonia Correctional Institution. Officer Rutan was leaving work in September when he saw a state car spin out of control and wreck in a ditch. Stopping to help who he thought was a fellow state employee, Officer Rutan soon realized that the driver was not a state employee but an escaped inmate. The inmate started running toward the woods and Officer Rutan followed and captured the inmate. He even attended to gash on the inmate’s head until help could arrive.

Due to Officer Rutan’s thoughtfulness in attempting to help a fellow employee, he was able to use his skills and instincts to apprehend an escaped inmate from Tyrrell Prison Work Farm.

Ricky Ward is a sergeant at Johnston Correctional Institution. He was getting ready for work in November when he was called upon to help a neighbor involved in a life-threatening situation. Sergeant Ward asked his wife to call 911 while he went next door to help. As he approached his neighbor’s house, Sergeant Ward saw his neighbor lying on the couch with blood on her head, face, hands and carpet. A man was holding the neighbor by her hair, and the neighbor’s son was standing in the doorway holding his head and crying.

Sergeant Ward entered the house and pointed his pistol at the man. He handcuffed the man and told the neighbor and her son to go to his house. A sheriff’s deputy arrived soon thereafter and took charge of the situation. Superintendent Woodard said Sgt. Ward acted in a brave and heroic manner while placing his own life in harm’s way.

Once again, thank you all for everything that you do for the Department of Correction. As Secretary of the Department, I want you to know that your efforts are certainly appreciated.

Danny Ray is a correctional officer at Buncombe Correctional Center. Unfortunately, he is unable to be with us today because his father is undergoing surgery.

Officer Ray started the Community Work Program at Buncombe and takes an active role in operating the program. He attends and implements all training with the CWP officers and played a big role in ordering the necessary equipment to get the program started. The inmates look up to Officer Ray as a role model and, in return, give 100 percent effort. Officer Ray’s personnel file is full of letters from community leaders thanking him for the excellent work done. Assistant Superintendent Cantrell states, "Without Officer Ray, the Community Work Program here at Buncombe would not be the success it is in the community."

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