Corrections officers need support

Correction officers and sergeants, like myself, in Oneida County and across New York State are disgusted with the decision of District Attorney Scott McNamara’s office to pursue criminal charges against a correction officer who was attacked in the course of his duties in a correctional facility by an inmate. Presently, we go to work every day, risking Hepatitis C, Multi-drug Resistant TB, AIDS, along with countless other maladies that accompany inmate populations. We do our very best to maintain order in place that has the propensity to become one of the most violent in law enforcement in the blink of an eye. We are critiqued by administrators who review for weeks what we took a split second to decide.

Now the D.A. is criminally charging an officer for doing his job and protecting himself. What will it be next? Do our officers in facilities and in our communities have to worry about criminal charges for responding to violent situations albeit riots, gang fights, suicide attempts, armed robberies, violent domestic disputes etc. if they have to use force to contain the situation? Will one of our family members be further injured because an officer hesitated in one of these incidents because he feared possible criminal charges for doing the job he/she was hired for and is compelled to do?

A moment’s hesitation in a violent encounter can mean the difference between life and death in a facility! We are all part of the system that keeps our communities safe! We need the D.A. to be part of the solution! Not the problem!

— John Gavin, Holland Patent