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ACA president leads 2008 annual tribute to fallen officers.

American Correctional Association President Gary L. Maynard kicked off Correctional Officers/Employees Week in Washington, D.C., on May 3 with this year's annual tribute to fallen correctional officers. Maynard, whose term as ACA president ends in August, is also Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services in Maryland. He shared keynote honors with Craig W. Floyd, president and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The wreath-laying event, sponsored annually by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Corrections Chiefs Committee, took place under sunny skies and mild temperatures at Washington's Judiciary Square Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This is also the future site of a national law enforcement museum, which is scheduled to open in 2010 and will showcase the corrections profession, its history and its practitioners.

In addition to honor guard contingents from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, participants from other jurisdictions throughout the nation took part in the wreath-laying activities that honored the nation's slain correctional officers. The honored included the nine officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2007, as well as those officers from COG regional facilities who made the ultimate sacrifice in previous years. Attendees of the solemn event were welcomed by COG Corrections Chiefs Committee President Arthur Wallenstein, who is also director of the Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, and Michael Knapp, chair of the COG Board of Directors.

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Floyd, who noted that correctional officers are "highly trained and courageous professionals who work one of the toughest law enforcement beats of all," read the roll call of slain officers. As he announced each name, a dove was released and an honor guard representative placed a single long-stem rose on the memorial to recognize that officer. Cap. Thomas Shaw of the Loudoun County (Va.) Sheriff's Office played "Taps" as the wreath was lowered into place, and bagpipers from the Fairfax County (Va.) Sheriff's Office followed with "Amazing Grace."

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In his address, Maynard stressed the importance of corrections working closely with its partners in criminal justice and law enforcement as one way to ensure the continued safety of correctional officers. He recalled the violent deaths in 2006 of two Maryland officers who are now among the 527 correctional officers whose names are inscribed on the memorial wall.

"Today, we honor the service of these two men," Maynard said. "We honor their commitment to keeping the public safe." Correctional agencies, he said, can help improve the environment in which correctional officers work by purchasing new, state-of-the-art equipment and providing necessary training, as well as by increasing intelligence-gathering and contraband-interdiction capabilities with law enforcement partners. Continually striving to keep today's officers safe is the only way we can truly pay tribute to the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in past years, he said.

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Floyd provided an update on the museum project. A gallery called "Being an Officer" will be a central focus at the museum, he said, noting that the California Correctional and Peace Officers Association had made the exhibit possible with its $1 million gift. "Our goal at the museum is to have visitors come away with a deeper understanding of the difficult and dangerous work-of our corrections officers and a much better appreciation of the contributions these professionals make each and every day," Floyd said. "We hope that this experience will make more people want to walk up to the men and women of corrections and say 'thank you.'"

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Following the ceremony, Wallenstein presented a plaque to the Philadelphia Prison System for its continued participation in and support of the COG ceremony. A juried regional honor guard competition closed the annual event. The honor guard team from Arlington, Va., finished first, ousting the Prince George's County (Md.) team after a five-year reign at the top.

Vicki D. Duncan is public information officer for Prince George's County (Md.) Department of Corrections.
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Title Annotation:American Correctional Association's Gary L. Maynard
Author:Duncan, Vicki D.
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Words:658
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