at Training Academy in Albany
IN HONOR OF THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN
As bagpipes played, bugles echoed and rifle fire resounded, the New York State Department of Correctional Services on June 29, 2000, dedicated a permanent memorial in Albany to 32 civilian and uniformed employees who died as the result of inmate actions since 1861.
Just inside the Academy's front entrance, a room off the main lobby has been set aside for the display of 32 individual plaques bearing the names of the agency's memorialize dead.
The deceased employees honored during the early afernoon ceremony at the memorial included 25 uniformed personnel and seven civilians. The list numbered 29 men and three women. Twelve names came from Attica, six from Auburn, five from Clinton, three from Sing Sing and one each from Elmira, Fishkill, Eastern, Green Haven and Great Meadow correctional facilities, plus one employee who worked in New York City in the parole division when it was part of Correctional Services until 1977. The 32 memorialized include
Among the more than 1,500 guests attending the ceremony were nearly 100 family members of some of the 32 employees who lost their lives as the result of inmate actions. They included 64 from Attica and 16 from Auburn. Also present to honor their colleagues were eight of the surviving hostages from the 1971 riot at Attica.
Katherine N. Lapp, the Governor's Director of Criminal Justice, represented him at the ceremonies and declared: "He is proud of the difficult and dangerous work performed every day by Correctional employees. That is why he has been at your side since he took office. He authorized the largest expansion in history of maximum-security beds, most of them disciplinary housing cells to control inmates who attack staff and disrupt operations. He has increased Correction Officer staffing alone by 17 percent since 1995, while the inmate population rose by 5 percent. He authorized the purchase of cell extraction vests for Officers in disciplinary housing units as well as tactical vests for CERT teams. He has signed a law that adds up to five years to the sentences of 'inmate throwers.'"
Senate Codes Committee Chairman Dale M. Volker, whose district includes Attica, said, "We honor Correctional employees today who paid the ultimate price for their devotion to duty, state and country. It is a tragedy that, until now, New York never acknowledged with a statewide memorial the incredible sacrifice of both Correction Officers and civilian employees. That was particularly true at Attica after 1971. We are trying to deal with at least some of that oversight today."
Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry, chairman of the Corrections Committee, said, "I am honored to be here today to pay homage to the Correctional employees who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties to the people of our state. I am proud to stand here today with their families and coworkers in the dedication of this memorial to them. It stands as a reminder to all of us of the difficult work that we expect every day from the Department and its employees."
In his remarks, Commissioner Goord said, "No one should have to go to work each day and wonder if they will come home each night. No family should have to worry if their loved one is safe on the job. But that is what each and every one of our employees and their families face each day. That is not what going to work is supposed to be about. It should not take courage just to go to work."
Commissioner Goord said it was that courage and ultimate sacrifice paid by employees that were being honored today: "It is like the courage shown every day by the employees present here."
Commissioner Goord noted that, with increased sentences for violent offenders and the elimination of discretionary parole, the percentage of violent offenders is on the rise. He noted that employees are given the tools to deal with that population: "The training provided at the Academy. The experience and judgment of our employees in the field. The dedication of our work force. The professionalism of our employees. These tools will guide us in the new millennium.
"We also have the tools provided by Governor Pataki," Commissioner Goord said. "He has been a strong supporter of this system since the day he took office. He has given us the cells we need to house violent offenders. He has increased staffing. He has enriched programs that provide inmates with positive direction for their energies."
The ceremony, which will become an annual event, took place in the recently-completed permanent memorial park at the Department's 50-acre Training Academy campus at 1134 New Scotland Road in Albany.
The memorial park includes landscaping and assorted flowers, trees and shrubberies; an outer two-foot-high circular concrete retaining wall; park benches; lighting and 40 ballards with approximately 130 feet of decorative chains. A "memorial mall" of stone, highlighted by three flag poles (displaying the national, state and MIA flags), connects the monument site to the entrance of the Academy.
The Academy was originally constructed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1952 as the Mater Christi Seminary. The Department leased the facility and grounds in 1973 and purchased the complex in 1987. Approximately 1,000 Correction Officer recruits train at the facility each year, with an equal number of higher-level staff receiving specialized training there annually. The Academy has a staff of approximately 45.