Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Makes A Good Officer?

That's a good question. There are people on our camp that I would trust without hesitation. The ones that I know are "good" at what they do and wouldn't get me off in a wreck.

There are some that if they asked me to get them a soda from the machine I would question their motives. Yet they are also, in their way and in their element, "good" at what they do.

I guess it's all on what your job is and where you work. The academy taught us to be Fair, Firm And Consistent. But that wouldn't work if you went from house to house. The things I do and say in the Adseg unit wouldn't work well over in the treatment house. Or over in the R&O house where the newbies are. The officers that are good in the treatment house probably wouldn't last long in Adseg. I'm not putting them down. They are fine at what they do. It's all context.

I think I do okay. I haven't heard too many complaints. And I've worked other houses. I didn't like them much, but I did okay. And there are people who wouldn't want to work with me. I'm sure they think I'm a loose cannon or something. I always hear the remarks about breaking windows with inmates. Man! You do something one time and you're labeled for life....

It's funny, but some of the biggest screwballs on the camp have been officers for years. I can think of a few that make me cringe. And they've been doing this at least twice as long as I have. It's a mystery.

There have been a few that came in fresh from the academy and I thought to myself "This joker will never make it. He/She is going to get someone hurt." And most of them are still here. And a couple of them have actually turned out to be really good officers. You just never know.

There are jobs on this camp you couldn't force me to do. I would suck at them so bad I'd be banned from the institution inside of a week. Like working the front desk and dealing with the visitors. Or working up at Central for the Major and all the Captains and Lieutenants. I'd be fired for sure. And some of those people would do as poorly amongst my wayward children.

We should have the same MOS system as the military. You could be classified suitable for one job or another through testing. Some people would be classified high in all fields. They would be our "utilities" that just go where they are needed.

And some of us would never be allowed to roam free. For the safety and security of the institution.


  1. It's a funny thing you brought this up. I had been pondering this subject lately. I agree with you, there are those who shouldn't be CO's at all, and those who suck at some duties but excel at others, and then those who do well no matter where they are. In the end, I came to the conclusion that it takes all kinds of CO's to make the institution "work". Even the ones I may not like or the way they do business are necessary. Think of the prison as a microcosm of nature, where, every niche is filled. You need the hardworkers, the by-the-book types, the gray area operators, the schmoozers, and yes, even the a**holes, and b*tches. With any luck, the "shouldn't be theres" weed themselves out. Each of these types usually finds the job within the prison that suits there area of "specialization" the best. The problem comes when they they end up working out of their element, if you will.

  2. So you do better when you are segregated from the general population? Color me surprised.

  3. I like working Adseg for several reasons. Mainly, it's a busy, fast-paced environment and the day goes by quickly. Also, every day is different, you don't have the routine as you would in a normal housing unit. You never know what you're favorite knucklehead is going to do. And I guess I have the temperment to do well there. I don't get excited easily and am not bothered most of the time by what I see and here going on. Not everybody can do it. But I can't stand being trapped in a bubble all day pushing buttons, so I don't do as well in a control room as most control room officers. As far as being segregated from the general population, in truth, I have as much inmate contact as any officer in camp. Everyone in the hole is from general population, so much so that we need a revolving door in our house as of late.

  4. Leave it BA to sum it all up nicely. He finds the words where I just throw out mush. That's exactly what I was talking about. And you're one of the "best suited" officers for Adseg, in my book. And I would do okay in a Gen Pop environment, but I have become so used to the hectic pace of the Adseg unit that I would get bored quickly. The last time I worked a GP house the Sarge made me go outside because I was running around so much doing searches and wing checks it was making them and the inmates crazy. It's really too bad that the only way to find places for everyone is to put them in places where they might not work out. It's a trial and error process every day.