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Corrections honors fallen officers.

Correctional officers slain in the line of duty were recognized by their colleagues on May 1 at a solemn wreath-laying event, which also kicked off the national observance of Correctional Officers/Employees Week, May 2-8. The wreath-laying event is held each year at Judiciary Square at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial site in the nation's capital. Sponsored by Washington, D.C., area correctional chiefs under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the event honors all local officers who have ever been killed in the line of duty plus all who lost their lives in the line of duty across the nation during the past calendar year. This year, correctional officers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan as members of National Guard or Reserve forces called to duty also were recognized.

Honor guard members from jurisdictions surrounding the nation's capital placed a single long-stemmed rose to commemorate each of the fallen officers as their names were read. This was followed by a formal wreath laying on the same site, featuring a prayer and the playing of "Taps" by Lt. Thomas Shaw of the Loudoun County (Va.) Sheriff's Office and Cpl. Melvin Fulton of the Prince George's County (Md.) Department of Corrections.

Mel Grieshaber, president of the International Association of Correctional Officers, brought greetings from his association's membership. The Hon. Phil Mendelson, 2004 Council of Government board of directors chair, welcomed those who attended and expressed concern about growing numbers and costs associated with treating those with mental health needs in the nation's jails and prisons. Sheriff Beth Arthur of Arlington County, Va., served as mistress of ceremonies.

John M. Vanyur, senior deputy assistant director of the Correctional Programs Division for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, pointed out in his keynote address that the United States is experiencing the highest level of incarceration ever, with more than 2 million people in jail or prison. He said the nation's institutions do a good job providing the basics of security, but that the public's attention today is focused on re-entry. "The public," he said, "is calling on us now to prepare the incarcerated population for effective re-entry." Vanyur said he feels confident that U.S. institutions will rise to meet the challenges both of preparing inmates for re-entry and providing treatment for the growing numbers of incarcerated people with mental health problems.

The formal event was followed by an honor guard competition among Washington, D.C., area jurisdictions. The Prince George's County DOC took first place, followed by the Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Third place in the competition went to the District of Columbia. A trophy for "best dressed" was awarded to the Alexandria, Va., team. Military personnel from the Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets in Washington, D.C., judged the competition.


John Bennett, Texas

Mike Douds, Ohio

Jerry Ford, Georgia

Cody Hathaway, Illinois

Fred Hyatt, Tennessee

Robert Jordon, California

Darla Lathrem, Florida

Betty Llayton, West Virginia

Vicki Duncan is the immediate past president of the Maryland Criminal Justice Association and coordinator of the annual wreath-laying ceremony.
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Author:Duncan, Vicki
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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