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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: Correctional Officers

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Correctional Officers at an active shooter training at Lassen Community College

By Terra Avilla

This week I was reflecting about some of the components which make our county so unique. The most obvious answer is often so underappreciated or overlooked, and I was kind of embarrassed I haven’t written about it yet – our Correctional Officers.

They are such an integral part of our community that sometimes they are overlooked for the obvious benefits and services they provide to our little mountain town.

Prior to moving to Susanville I never fathomed that the terms CO, Watch Commander, Warden, ISU and ‘getting held over’ would be staples of my vocabulary.

In fact, prior to moving to Susanville, I didn’t know any Correctional Officers. Now, some of my very best friends work for the prisons.

The term “Prison Town” kind of sounds like a derogatory term – however, here in Lassen County, the prisons are one of the main lifelines of our community. A very important uniqueness that plays such an important role in who we as a community are, and what we are capable of doing.

Before moving here I really didn’t have an opinion about prisons or the people who worked at them. Fast-forward five years of working with various Correctional Officers and I can say that I have a huge amount of respect for the job that they do.

I also appreciate the sacrifices that their families make. A lot of which are the same sacrifices that police and fire make. Working long hours, away from family, in a niche that the public doesn’t always understand.

I can honestly say that our community is safer because we have correctional guards among us. Four years of doing active assailant drills with them and I can tell you, I have seen them in action.

They are well trained and conditioned. They are smart. They are dedicated and they take their jobs seriously.

I will never forget doing an active shooter simulation, where we had the ISU teams responding to help evacuate injured victims (role players), as well as help with perimeter and secondary searches.

Holy Moley… those guys got down to business. As I was proctoring the drill I looked over and their ISU teams were carrying, not one, but two to three victims at a time out of the threat zone. Dang. Pretty cool what they train to do. I don’t think the public is aware of how awesome these guys and gals are.

Prior to training they had offered to set up perimeters around the training facility so we could conduct the drill safely, they always bring cool equipment and they are always willing to share.

More importantly, they have an extensive amount of knowledge. Planning the drill one year, Matt Williams and James Crandall went out of their way to make sure we had all of the logistics covered. They thought of stuff I had never even considered.

I’ve done other operations with members of their ISU teams, whether it is having their help on a search warrant or probation compliance searches. These guys and gals know their stuff.

Their gang units have an extensive amount of knowledge and are willing to help provide this insight whenever they are called upon. What a crucial resource to our town they are.

Of course, I can’t forget all of the philanthropy they pour back into our community. Do you want to see a group of people get stuff done? Give it to the guys and gals at the prisons.

I have seen them surround one another in love, food preparation and financial support whenever one of their own needs it.

There is a lot of power in their numbers, but more importantly, within their ranks there are just a lot of good, good humans.

Correctional Officers ring the bell for Salvation Army, do drives for Toys for Tots and show up to escort kids shopping for Holiday with a Hero.

They do public outreach and education, they fundraise for youth sports and community events, all while combating the natural stresses of a job, where I would venture to guess… they are not told thank you.

So on behalf of all of us in this town, thank you so much for doing what you do. So much of it goes unnoticed, but I want you to know that it is so appreciated.

All of you who came from out of the area to raise your family here, to work here, thank you. All of you that are second or third generations Correctional Officers – Thank you.

You make our town so very special. You are one of the reasons why I, and so many others, love the place we live.



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10 Responses to Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: Correctional Officers

  1. Matt Williams

    Matt Williams

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you Terra Avilla for the awesome recognition of my brothers and sisters! We love being part of and supporting our community and local Law Enforcement!

  2. Sherrell McBroome

    Sherrell McBroome

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Very nice Terra Avilla! Another shout out to a group who is way under appreciated. Thank you! Happy to be part of the corrections family!

  3. Renee Staggs Barnes

    Renee Staggs Barnes

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Great article ❤
    I have been saying for a long time Correctional Officers are always in the back ground and do not get credit where credit is due.
    Thank you to all Correctional Officers!
    Thank you for this article.

  4. Lori Olah

    Lori Olah

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Well written and thank you 🙏

  5. Tracy Nareau

    Tracy Nareau

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Thank you!! As a daughter of of correctional officers and a sister of correctional officers, this article hit home thank you so much for this!

  6. Christina Sartor Nystrom

    Christina Sartor Nystrom

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:28 am


  7. Kelly Parker-Bigard

    Kelly Parker-Bigard

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for sharing. Marshel Couso and Jeremy Couso!!! Spot on!!

  8. Elizabeth Darley

    Elizabeth Darley

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Thank you! That means a lot 💜 we’ve lived in communities that we were despised as a group without people getting to know us as individuals.

    • Kelly Parker-Bigard

      Kelly Parker-Bigard

      Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Elizabeth Darley this is so true! Labeled based on assumptions, or a one time event! They have never walked a day in their boots, or seen what they’ve seen!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Susan Hatton

      Susan Hatton

      Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 7:23 am

      Elizabeth Darley as a federal c/o wife, this happens often up here. First place we have ever lived like this.

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