Grayson County’s detention staff got a little extra love this week as communities across the country celebrated National Correctional Officers Week, which comes to a close Friday.
Capt. Brian Ford said fellow members of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, local officials, agency vendors and members of the public had all expressed their thanks in various forms.
“I’m very proud of what our staff does and I think we’ve got one of the finest detention staffs in the state,” Ford said. “Our team is very good at what we do, but we remain firm, fair and compassionate. We try to show our officers as much as we can throughout the year how much we appreciate them, but, of course, it’s nice to have the community recognize what you do, too.”
Ford said the county’s jail is operated by more than 100 correctional officers and seven clerks, who work 12 hour shifts every day of the year. The facility has held a daily average of just under 400 inmates in 2019 and Ford said while a set routine helps keep things in order, no day is typical.
“We’re all pretty close-knit and you’ve got to be,” Ford said of his department. “We have to have each other’s back when you work long days, when it gets stressful and you run into trouble.”
Detention Officer A. Bishop joined the county’s corrections team in 2013 after moving from Arkansas and said, before arriving in Texas, she had never seen National Correctional Officers Week celebrated.
“It’s nice to know that we’re appreciated,” Bishop said. “I’m not big on perks — I don’t look for law enforcement discounts and I try not to wear my uniform out in public. But, it really does feel good to know that somebody is thinking about you.”
Bishop said she hoped the honorary week would also help change the way people see the profession.
“A lot of times when you tell people you work in corrections you get that ‘Oh…’ or that scoff or that snarl that says ‘That’s not really law enforcement,’” she said. “Well, we are. I think that attitude is still there, but it’s getting better.”
Ford said while corrections may play a more behind-the-scenes role in law enforcement, the county’s officers are well supported and well aware of their work’s value and place within the criminal justice community.
“It takes the entire justice system, working together and as a county,” Ford said. “I believe we do a great job. It starts with the officers making the arrest and bringing them in for us to process and handle. Then, of course, the courts and the DA’s office work together with us. We all contribute something.”
And with several correctional officer positions currently open, Ford said he hoped anyone with a passion for law enforcement and public service would consider a career in the field.
“It’s very rewarding for me and I believe our staff members here would agree,” Ford said. “That’s why we get up every day and every night to do this.”
Drew Smith is the crime and emergency reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Drew SmithHD.