Wreath-Laying Ceremony Kicks Off National Correctional Employees Week.
For the 10th consecutive year, National Correctional Employees Week kicked off in Washington, D.C., with a wreath-laying ceremony May 5 at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments'(COG) Corrections Chiefs Committee, the event is regional but draws a national audience because of its theme honoring slain correctional employees across the nation.
Odie Washington, director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections, was master of ceremonies in recognition of the scheduled Dec. 31 closing of the last of that department's seven Lorton prisons and its transition to a local jail system after nearly 90 years as a dual system.
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the keynote speaker, noted that the wreath-laying ceremony pays tribute to "unsung heroes who gave their lives." The job of a correctional officer, he said, is much more than just watching over people in confinement. "It takes a special person to work in our nation's jails and prisons," Williams said.
Many of the nearly 400 people in attendance were members of the International Association of Correctional Officers (IACO), whose annual conference took place that weekend in the nation's capital. IACO President Dennis Summers read the roll call of slain officers and introduced IACO's Officer of the Year, Aaron Krieger, of the Orofino Correctional Institution in Idaho, and its Correctional Supervisor of the Year, Ronald Park, a corrections operations sergeant at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon.
Calvin Scott, national field director of the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry, provided the invocation and prayer, while Joe Zelinka, public safety program coordinator for Metropolitan Washington COG, brought greetings from the sponsoring organization.
Members of the Honor Guard teams from the district and nearby Maryland and Virginia correctional facilities participated in the wreath-laying in various capacities, providing a colorful tribute.
Following the ceremony, honor guard teams from Washington metropolitan jurisdictions participated in a drill competition. Top honors went to the defending champion, Maryland's Prince George's County Department of Corrections; second place went to the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, also in Maryland; and third place went to Virginia's Fairfax County Sheriff's Office. Virginia's Arlington County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard team was judged "best dressed."
Vicki Duncan is public information officer for the Prince George 's County Department of Corrections in Maryland.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2001|
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