Updated: Aug 10, 2022
“The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office was my workplace for nearly 10 years. I spent nearly 10 years forming professional relationships with the staff in security, and across all departments. I worked hand in hand with them every day. I showed up when called, helped everywhere I was able, did what I said I would and kept my word. I was respectful to all of the staff, did my work and took on extra responsibilities when needed. I had a positive attitude, did my best, acknowledged the accomplishments of my colleagues, listened to their concerns and said thank you. In law enforcement and corrections your word is all that you have. I stand by my word and all of the men and women of corrections I have worked with over the years know that I do. The security staff always knew that I respected their work and its difficulty and always tried to work together on finding solutions to problems that affected us both.
I have always been one of the staff. I continue to be to this day. My role has never been supervisory and even in my current position I remain a line staff member. I know, at least in part, what the security staff experience because I am a hands-on working corrections professional. For nearly 10 years with them I saw the incarcerated population daily, as they did. I addressed a number of the same issues, as they did. I dealt with the same frustration of implementing policy and procedure that may have looked good on paper to Administrative staff, but was severely lacking in practical application because the line staff weren’t consulted. The staff know me as a peer and experienced colleague. They know that I have their safety and wellness at the forefront of my mind when administering my nursing practice. They know my thought is always, how can I best serve my patient and keep the staff safest.
COVID taught us a lot in corrections. In the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office it taught us who the essential staff was: Security, Medical, Maintenance, Kitchen. Sheriff Cahillane sent everyone else home for months and decreased his already limited presence on the secure side of the facility even further. I can tell you as part of that essential group during those earliest, darkest moments of COVID until we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, all of us took that role very seriously and leaned on one another for support, guidance, reassurance and compassion. The security staff, as well as all other essential staff and the incarcerated population that remained, knew I was watching out for their health and safety. They were educated, I answered questions as best I could, asked questions to find answers when I could, freely shared information to help keep them safe. I told the truth and kept my word. They needed to trust me and I needed to trust them.
I never asked the security staff to do something I wouldn’t do first. We never did anything together until everyone felt prepared and educated. And they always knew I was grateful for the work they were doing and the personal sacrifices to family and health that they were making.
In times of crisis bonds are formed, even more deeply than before. I know that the staff know me. I know that they trust me. I know that they want change. I know that they want that change to be me. And I am ready to be the change we all want to see.”