SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) held a ceremony today to recognize the departments’ past and present heroes. Respective facility and district nominees, who were selected as the officer, agent or specialist of the year, were congratulated and recognized in addition to six of the nominees receiving top honors from their departments. The ceremony also paid tribute to honor the memory of the IDOC and IDJJ fallen heroes, who died in the line of duty.
Top honors were awarded in the categories of: Officer of the Year in the Adult Division, Officer of the Year in the Women and Family Services Division, Residence Counselor of the Year in the Adult Transition Center Division, Agent of the Year in the Parole Division, Juvenile Justice Specialist of the Year, and Juvenile Justice Aftercare Specialist of the Year. The winners were chosen from a field of nominees, who were nominated for the award by their colleagues and supervisors at their respective work place. The overall winners were chosen by each of the departments' executive staff.
IDOC Director S.A. Godinez and IDJJ Director Arthur D. Bishop commended the efforts of front line staff within their respective agencies.
“Correctional officers are skilled professionals who must act as counselors, communicators and crisis intervention experts,” said IDOC Director S.A. Godinez. “In addition, they must maintain their professional demeanor while often facing hostile, aggressive and intimidating behavior from offenders, and must possess the intuitive sense to resolve conflicts and save lives, while also possessing the physical ability to restrain people representing a danger to themselves and others. For these reasons and more, Governor Quinn has declared this week, May 6th to 12th, Correctional Officers Week in Illinois to recognize the excellence of correctional employees. Today, we are here to commend our front line staff and pay tribute to honor the memory of our fallen heroes named on the Memorial Wall for their commitment to public safety, their heroism and their leadership to the state of Illinois.”
"IDJJ is committed to the understanding that youth have different needs than adults in their rehabilitation to become productive citizens,” said IDJJ Director Arthur D. Bishop. “The department’s staff works diligently to encourage youth to work toward making the right choices and being the best person they can be to avoid a revolving prison door. IDJJ is dedicated to providing treatment and educational, vocational, social and emotional services to the state's incarcerated youth to help them successfully return home. The employees being recognized today are commended for their dedication and support toward this major goal."
Nominations for this year's awards recognize front line staff at each of the state's 27 prisons, eight juvenile centers, adult transition centers and parole districts. This year's top six front line employees were presented with recognition letters from the governor and IDOC and IDJJ directors and a $500 check from the Employee Benefit Fund. The nominees are judged on leadership, initiative, professionalism and service to their community and career.
Employees receiving top honors during today’s ceremony are:
Correctional Officer Jimmy Hollon at Lawrence Correctional Center
Correctional Officer Jimmy Hollon carried himself in a professional manner at all times and displayed a positive attitude toward his job. He was always willing to assist other staff when needed. Officer Hollon was a member of the Tactical Team and was in good standing. Officer Hollon passed away November 20, 2011. During the time he was battling cancer, he would always try to make it in to work, no matter how ill he was from treatment and was often seen working overtime as well. He always had a positive comment, never complained and assured staff that he was fine and would even inquire about how they were doing. Officer Hollon was committed to the department as well as his family and fellow man.
Correctional Residence Counselor II Rodella Morgan-Knazze at Westside Adult Transition Center
Correctional Residence Counselor II Rodella Morgan-Knazze works hard to ensure the facility is in compliance with institutional mandates. She is fair, firm, consistent, motivated and dependable. She is the facility IACO coordinator for contract monitoring, food service coordinator and back-up coordinator for the Disciplinary Tracking System, Intake, Local Procedure and Resident Benefit. She also serves on the Adjustment & Program Committee. She is a member of the department’s Go Green Committee. She is devoted to the center and is always willing to assist whenever and wherever needed.
Correctional Officer Aberardo “Al” Salinas at Dwight Correctional Center
Correctional Officer Aberardo “Al” Salinas joined the IDOC in 1989. CO Salinas illustrates a superior level of work ethic and dedication, and he is often called upon for specialized duties. He has gained the respect of his peers and has consistently been highly evaluated by his supervisors. CO Salinas is part of the statewide NEMAT team and COT screening team. He exhibits professionalism, honesty, dependability and enthusiasm and is a role model to both new and seasoned officers alike.
Parole Agent Harry D. Pyle at Parole District Five
Parole Agent Harry D. Pyle is currently assigned to the sex offender unit, and he has performed a tremendous job managing this population over a large geographical area. He attended extra training and became familiar in this specialized area. He established great partnerships with local law enforcement in his region as well as the counselors and other members of the containment team. Agent Pyle is always willing to give a little extra to get the job done right; he is respected for his work ethic and always represents the department well. Agent Pyle continually volunteers to assist others in the unit. He is the Interstate Compact liaison and helps train other agents on the ICOTS system. Agent Pyle is intricately involved with Parole School. He selflessly gives his time and talents to help offenders transition into society and reduce recidivism. Recently, Agent Pyle put in countless hours on the development of a Parole School video that will be used to teach future classes in the institutions.
Juvenile Justice Specialist Chad Heriaud at IYC Warrenville
Juvenile Justice Specialist Chad Heriaud is selected for his enthusiasm, work ethic and dedication at his facility. JJS Heriaud began his career in 1997 and is assigned as the primary training specialist for the facility. He assists with the audits, screening, Crisis Team and Adjustment Committee. JJS Heriaud is a consummate professional with excellent attendance. He can always be counted on to show great initiative on all assigned duties.
IDJJ Aftercare Specialist Janice Griffin
IDJJ Aftercare Specialist Janice Griffin has provided quality services to her assigned youth and families within the community. She has an exemplarily work ethic and dedication to serving youth and the community. Griffin has been an example for others to follow and is always willing to go the extra mile for the youth.
Below is the complete listing of all the IDOC and IDJJ nominees. These individuals were recognized as their respective facility or district employee of the year.
Nominee list for 2012
ADULT CORRECTIONAL CENTERS
Big Muddy River CC Correctional Officer Shane Smith
Centralia CC Correctional Officer Gary McQuarrie
Danville CC Correctional Officer Steve Hall
Dixon CC Correctional Officer Timothy Mitchell
East Moline CC Correctional Officer Timothy Saathoff
Graham CC Correctional Officer Terry Hefley’s
Hill CC Correctional Officer Bobbette Ramage
Illinois River CC Correctional Sgt. Jackie Althiser
Jacksonville CC Correctional Officer Tamilia Patton
Lawrence CC Correctional Officer Jimmy Hollon
Logan CC Correctional Lt. Kevin Standley
Menard CC Correctional Sgt. Nathaniel Birkner
Pinckneyville CC Correctional Officer Samuel Staffey
Pontiac CC Correctional Officer Todd Bullard
Robinson CC Correctional Officer Olena “Kathy” Arnold
Shawnee CC Correctional Officer Billy Austin
Sheridan CC Correctional Officer Donald Terry
Southwestern Illinois CC Correctional Officer Raymond Mosby
Stateville CC Correctional Officer Joshua Clements
Tamms CC Correctional Officer John Maragni
Taylorville CC Correctional Officer Robert Barbee
Vandalia Correctional Officer Kristofer Reynolds
Vienna CC Correctional Sgt. Aubrey Edwards
Western Illinois Correctional Sgt. Michael Robeson
ADULT TRANSITION CENTERS
Decatur ATC Correctional Residence Counselor I William Appleby
Peoria ATC Correctional Residence Counselor II Charles Olden
Southern Illinois ATC Correctional Residence Counselor II Michael Sullens
West Side ATC Correctional Residence Counselor II Rodella Morgan-Knazze
WOMEN & FAMILY SERVICES
Decatur CC Correctional Officer Ronald Wilhour
Dwight CC Correctional Officer Aberardo “Al” Salinas
Lincoln CC Correctional Officer George Martin
Fox Valley ATC Corrections Residence Counselor II Patricia Jones
District One Senior Parole Agent Jorge Ortiz
District Two Senior Parole Agent Candice Larson
District Three Senior Parole Agent James Bettis
District Four Senior Parole Agent Tammy Bush-Hamilton
District Five Parole Agent Harry D. Pyle
ILLINOIS YOUTH CENTERS
IYC Chicago Juvenile Justice Specialist Jimmie Lenior
IYC Harrisburg Juvenile Justice Specialist Tiffany Grubbs
IYC Joliet Juvenile Justice Specialist Allen Lofton
IYC Kewanee Juvenile Justice Specialist Jeremy Crisp
IYC Murphysboro Juvenile Justice Specialist Alice Sterns
IYC Pere Marquette Juvenile Justice Specialist Bernard Nutsukpui
IYC St. Charles Juvenile Justice Specialist Robert Camery
IYC Warrenville Juvenile Justice Specialist Chad Heriaud