New York City
Jan. 18, 1984 -- Sept. 22, 1986
coverage of Correction Award Day Ceremony
Honoring 102 at City Hall Plaza:
Click image above for larger uncropped photo with others on dais.
A total of 102 Departmental employees were praised by Mayor Edward I. Koch and Commissioner Jacqueline McMickens for their work in the Department. Mayor Koch praised the employees for their "skill, ingenuity, and professionalism in the performance of their duties."
The water main break that occurred off Rikers Island on June 28th, affecting the power and water supply on the Island, provided the stage for the six civilian employees to demonstrate skill and comprehension of the emergency to avert a crisis. The Department also set a precedent by recognizing four city agencies who responded swiftly that day, underscoring the City's emergency preparedness.
The six civilians who received the Meritorious Service Award were Joseph Bahar and Raymond Osso, both senior stationary engineers; Angelo O'Neill, stationary engineer; Maggio Ventura, electrician; Fred Rudin, plumber; John Haughney, steamfitter. All are assigned to the Rikers Island Support Services.
For their part in the June 28 response, Supervising Warden Martin Montiero and Assistant Deputy Warden Robert Huguenin were granted the Department's Certificate of Merit.
Supervising Warden Montiero assumed command of the island at the outset of the emergency and spent the following 16 hours coordinating the Department's response, monitoring conditions in the affected institution and working with all the outside agencies to restore water and power.
ADW Huguenin who commands the Department's Support Services Unit, coordinated the many efforts undertaken to preserve equipment, supply emergency water and power and restore normal service.
At the ceremony eight officers received the Exceptional Merit Award. They were:
In October 1982 an inmate undergoing treatment at Kings County Hospital surprised his escort officers, shooting one of them and then seized eight hostages. The inmate asked to speak to his cousin, Officer Gerald Garner, who was immediately brought to the scene.
After a briefing from members of the Police Hostage Negotiating Team, Officer Garner was allowed to make contact with the inmate and for much of the next 47 hours, he provided a crucial link. He was credited by the police with perhaps the single most important role in bringing the longest hostage siege ever perpetrated by a lone assailant to a safe conclusion.
Officer Dominick Stavola heard a commotion on an upper tier at the Brooklyn House of Detention on April 29, 1983. He started toward the area and encountered several inmates fleeing. He saw one inmate stab another and observed others fighting.
Officer Stavola disarmed the inmate and ordered the others to stop fighting. He moved three inmates into a single cell and locked them in. Spotting another homemade weapon, he disarmed a second inmate and moved three others into a dayroom. It would have been within the Department's rule and regulations if Officer Stavola had waited outside the tier until an Emergency Response Team arrived. But he moved single-handedly to preserve life and restore order.
On August 6, 1983, Officer Pagan was on stake-out duty in Manhattan as part of the Department's investigation staff trying to locate and apprehend an inmate escape from Rikers Island. Officer Pagan spotted the fugitive and followed. When the man realized he was under surveillance, he ran. Giving chase, Officer Pagan overtook the man several blocks away and arrested him.
While on duty in the punitive segregation unit at the Adolescent Center on March 31, 1983, Officer Smith saw on inmate move toward another with a knife. Officer Smith moved swiftly to disarm the attacker and prevented injury or loss of life without regard for his own personal safety.
When a fellow officer staggered into the staff office of the Training Academy last September 23rd, unable to breathe and choking, Officer Parker raced to the distressed officer and applied the Heimlich maneuver. On the third attempt, the blockage was overcome and the officer stopped choking.
On January 15, 1984, Officer Heines of the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island was informed that an inmate was attempting to hang himself with a belt. Officer Heines responded and with the aid of three inmates, cut the belt and lowered the inmate. Finding no apparent pulse or respiration, Officer Heines began heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Breathing was restored and the inmate survived.
In March, 1984, as he verified the count in a housing area at the Adolescent Center, Officer Pena spotted an inmate hanging in his cell. Officer Pena alerted Officer Baily entered the cell and cut down the inmate. Officer Pena and Baily revived the inmate who survived.
In commemoration of his 36 years of service to the Department of Correction, retired Captain Alfred Mandanici was presented with the Certificate of Merit.
Former Director of Health Services, John Rakis, now with the Board of Correction as its deputy executive director, received the Department's Certificate of Merit for devising and implementing the Suicide Prevention Program, which has received acclaim as being the best in the nation.
Commissioner McMickens said in her Correction Day remarks, "We have not eliminated suicide from our midst.... but with this program we have saved lives, given suicide prevention aides among our inmate population a greater sense of self worth, and fostered positive relationships between inmates and staff."
Officers Richard Monroe and Hortense Wiley, who worked with Rakis, won the Department's Commendation Award, given to members of the Department in performance of duty for a highly creditable or unusual accomplishment, demonstrating intelligence, resourcefulness and ability.
In 1984 Unit Citation was presented to the House of Detention for Men, which exemplified the professionalism of the agency by performing as a unit. Commissioner McMickens observed the change in the institution. "I don't have to look very far for a reminder of what kind of condition that command was in just a couple of years ago," she said.
"Nobody wanted to work in that place. Now, through good management and dedication of staff, the situation has been turned around. Captain Charles Coleman commands a central punitive segregation unit that not only serves his own facility, but solves problems for every institution in our system."
Accepting the citation on behalf of the staff of HDM were then Warden Otis Banturn current Warden Thomas Murray, Captain Coleman of its Punitive Segregation Unit, and Officer Willie Sutton, the COBA delegate.
Deputy Warden Anthony DiRusso was awarded the 25 year perfect attendance Award.
Other honors presented on Correction Day were Excellent Duty, which is given to an employee for an intelligent brave or skillful act or valuable service demonstrating special faithfulness, perseverance and service to the Department. Letter of Appreciation recipients are acknowledge for an act or accomplishment performed off duty, reflecting credit to the Department. Certificate of Education Achievement and Perfect Attendance Awards for 20, 15, 10 years of service were given.
The national anthem was sung by Officer Emma Parnell of the Queens Court Pens. Ray McKinley, jazz pianist, accompanied Officer Parnell. The Department's Emerald Pipe Band provided a musicial selection.
Now, I’ve known something about minority membership over the years. As a person of color from Alabama, a woman in the criminal justice system and a Protestant in the City of New York, I’ve had my fair share of minority representation, shall we say,
Yet there are drawbacks and challenges to my latest ‘minority’ that seem new to me. First, we’re a rather small minority—about 16 percent of the entire department work force. Second, many of us (myself excluded) don’t earn as much as the uniformed “majority” with whom we work, and very few of us are entrusted with the right to bear arms anywhere but in an amusement arcade gallery. Then, too, we learn first hand about the old adage, ‘There is no free lunch.’ We pay for the meals we eat in facilities and while we enjoy some very favorable benefits they certainly are no match for the benefits available to uniformed officers.
You would think that with all of these factors involved, the majority might really appreciate this new minority of mine and regard our work efforts with understanding and enthusiasm. Well, you might think that but you know how it is with majorities and minorities— those who have more seldom think first about those who get less. Indeed some of us are greeted on our very first day of work not with a warm welcome but an icy glare—from an officer who remembers how years ago the job we are filling used to belong to a member of the unitormed staff.
This kind of attitude is explained and discussed at civilian orientation, but the problem is that most civilians get to attend orientation weeks or months after starting work, and then for only three days of classes contrasted with the seven weeks of training new officers receive even before their first assignment—which begins with more orientation at the facility level.
As a uniformed officer, I must admit that I shared a sense of smugness with others in the majority about the status of civilian employees in the Department of Correction That’s the way it is with “majority” opinion. Correction officers have tough, stressful, challenging jobs and most of them earn every penny they get and more; and deserve far more respect and credit for their contributions to society than the general public is usually willing to grant them. When you feel a little beleaguered about your own situation, it is awfully easy to vent your frustrations on somebody whose echelon may be below yours—a lot easier certainly than to take on those who actually might be responsible for whatever grievances you have.
If I can search my own soul and acknowledge that I once had some of these feelings about some of the non-uniformed members of this agency with whom I worked, you can be sure I understand why our civilian “minority” can be subject to derision or abuse by the uniformed “majority.” I can understand it, but frankly I cannot countenance it; not in this day when we are moving to professionalize and specialize and computerize and to make our department the best municipal correction agency in America. We need all the help we can get and a share of that help will come from civilian employees who are recruited, hired and trained to perform tasks that help us all, important tasks that should not and will not be relegated to somebody’s idea of a soft post for a burned-out correction officer.
We will continue to have work opportunities for uniformed officers on limited duty for medical or other reasons, but these will not be jobs that ought to be filled on a full-time, ongoing basis by someone trained, experienced and dedicated to the clerical, craft, administrative or protessional skills they require. This is not a commit- ment to cost savings, but rather a commitment to excellence, to establishing and maintaining a sense of continuity and of purpose in these areas. Indeed, the fact that some of these jobs are performed by skilled individuals who are paid less than correction officers should not be a point of resentment by our uniformed staff but of pride. Our uniformed officers earn more than many individuals in and out of our department is recognition of the value of the work they were hired and trained to perform.
By recruiting and training qualified civilians to perform certain functions, we are helping the agency in at least two other ways. A growing number of men and women now in responsible positions of authonty at D.O.C. are rising through the civilian ranks, much the way uniformed managers can rise through the promotional ladder, providing us all with a cadre of civilian leaders with a great sense of pride in and loyalty for our agency. Then, too, any number of uniformed officers begin here as entry-level civilians and take the test for CO, bringing unusual insights to the job when they are hired as officers
If we need an example ot the way in which uniformed and civilian employees can and do work together for the betterment of everyone, we need look no further than the story in this issue of Inside/Out detailing the magnificent eftort we undertook in the aftermath of this summer's water main break on Rikers Island. Working side by side, recognizing and respecting the complementary importance of their duties, officers and civilians moved with speed, assurance and ability to maintain order, preserve equipment, protect lives, effect emergency procedures and restore power before dark and water before morning.
That was a crisis; when we normally do not even think of the kind of contributions that non-security personnel can make. On a day-to- day basis or at times when we must put together, such as last year’s forced release of inmates or last spring's opening of the Brig, civilian employees have more than pulled their share, making important and lasting contributions to our overall performance and supporting uniformed personnel in a manner that allowed them to do their work in a safer and more efficient manner. We need loyal and proficient civilians in almost every area of our operation and all of us ought to certain to let them know how much we appreciate their work on behalf of this department.
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