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May 4, 2005

Blagojevich administration recognizes Corrections Officers of the Year
Five Illinois Department of Corrections front line employees receive top honors

SPRINGFIELD – On behalf of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Roger Walker today recognized five outstanding front line employees as 2005 Correctional Officers of the Year.  The recognition comes during Correctional Officer Week in Illinois May 2nd – 6th. 


“Through their professionalism, leadership and courage, these employees serve by example in protecting the public and enhancing the success of offenders who are reentering into society,” said Gov. Blagojevich.


Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Roger E. Walker Jr. also commended the efforts of front line staff and noted that the agency’s main focus is to operate a safe and secure prison system.


“In every decision we make and in every action we take, safety is at the forefront of our operations,” Walker said.  “Today, it gives me great pride to honor the excellence of our front line staff.  This fine group of men and women face challenges every day with steadfast commitment.”       


Employees receiving top honors during a ceremony at the agency’s General Headquarters in Springfield are:

  • Correctional Officer Tyrone Carter of Vandalia Correctional Center

Officer Carter, Vandalia Correctional Center, has exceptional knowledgeable regarding his duties and responsibilities.  He consistently completes his assignments in a successful and professional manner while maintaining harmony and enthusiasm. Officer Carter upholds a good relationship with his fellow employees and assists others when needed.


  • Correctional Officer Angelita Hanson of Decatur Correctional Center

Officer Hanson, Decatur Correctional Center, works virtually every assignment at the center with little or no supervision and currently is assigned to the Industries Department.  She always maintains a positive and professional attitude and a commendable attendance record.  Officer Hanson works well with fellow staff members, offenders and the public.


  • Youth Supervisor II Leonard DiFiore of Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles

DiFiore, Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles, can always be counted on to have a positive attitude and demeanor.  He adapts well to change and has exceptional knowledge of automobiles and mechanics.  He is assigned to the Statewide Transportation Unit and is a significant part of that team.  His primary assignment is to perform security functions.


  • Correctional Residence Counselor I Maxine Walker of Crossroads Adult Transition Center

Walker, Crossroads Adult Transition Center, has developed a reputation for firm, yet fair and consistent treatment of all center residents.  She maintains a professional demeanor in her daily encounters with staff and residents.


  • Parole Agent Shannon Champion of District 4

Agent Champion, District 4, chose to work with a specialized caseload of sex offenders maintaining her caseload in an effective and efficient manner.  She has an excellent rapport with the community and other law enforcement agencies.  Because of her expertise in dealing with sex offenders, she is often asked to speak to various groups in the community.


Nominations for this year’s award come from officers recognized at each of IDOC’s 27 state prisons, eight juvenile centers, eight adult transition centers and parole districts.  This year’s top five front line employees were presented with recognition letters from the governor and IDOC director and a $500 check from the Employee Benefit Fund.  The nominees are judged on leadership, initiative, professionalism and service to their community and career.  


Other facility nominees include:

Women and Family Services Division

Lincoln Correctional Center                          Sgt. Robert Polley

Dwight Correctional Center                          Sgt. Sam Zito

 Illinois Youth Center-Warrenville                   Youth Supervisor II Chad Heriaud

 Illinois Youth Center-Pere Marquette                    Youth Supervisor II Byron Harris

 Fox Valley Adult Transition Center              Correctional Residence Counselor I James Luttrell





Adult Division


Big Muddy River Correctional Center            Correctional Officer Larry Provence


Centralia Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer George Godoyo


Danville Correctional Center                          Sgt. Eric Judy


Dixon Correctional Center                          Sgt. Thomas Butler


East Moline Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Doug Riggs


Graham Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Kenneth Moore


Hill Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Harold Stark


Illinois River Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Chad Sappington


Jacksonville Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Jodie Blackley


Lawrence Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Paul Schnepper


Logan Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Edward Baunach


Menard Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Thomas Duvall


Pinckneyville Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Christel Crow


Pontiac Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Penny Salzman


Robinson Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Terry McCleave


Shawnee Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Michael W. Reeder


Sheridan Correctional Center                          Sgt. Michael Windsor Sr.


Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center            Correctional Officer Richard McIntyre


Stateville Correctional Center                          Sgt. Dorothy McKinney


Tamms Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Frederick Madison


Taylorville Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Angela Merano


Vienna Correctional Center                          Correctional Officer Jay McElmurry


Western Illinois Correctional Center              Correctional Officer Kenneth DeWitt



Juvenile Division


Illinois Youth Center-Chicago                        Youth Supervisor II Fyshanda Johnson


Illinois Youth Center-Harrisburg                    Youth Supervisor II Kenneth E. Riley    


Illinois Youth Center-Joliet                             Youth Supervisor II Kenneth Bacon


Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee                      Youth Supervisor II Ken Hilgendorf


Illinois Youth Center-Murphysboro               Youth Supervisor II Tim Bowen



Adult Transition Centers (ATC)


Jessie “Ma” Houston ATC                           Correctional Residence Counselor II

                                                                    Rodella Morgan-Knazze


North Lawndale ATC                                     Correctional Residence Counselor I

                                                                       LaToya Ross


Decatur ATC                                                   Correctional Residence Counselor I

                                                                        William Craig Appleby


Peoria ATC                                                      Correctional Residence Counselor II

                                                                         Shawn Pardieck


Southern Illinois ATC                                        Correctional Residence Counselor I

                                                                         Mike Jennings


District Parole Offices


District 1                                                          Parole Agent Sandra Woodhouse                 


District 3                                                          Parole Agent David Farkas


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