People outside the corrections industry rarely are made privy to just how dangerous the job of a correctional officer truly can be. These men and women go to work every day with the uncertainty of whether or not they are going to be alive at the end of their shift.
For years, correctional officers and their union representatives have chided political officials for what they see as a lack of recognition of just how dangerous and stressful their jobs are. Now, however, correctional officers in the state of California have finally gotten some of that recognition that they have long sought from their voter-appointed superiors.
Corrections officers in Sacramento were honored recently by state officials for what they have called arguably the world’s most dangerous occupation. In a ceremony commending the counties corrections personnel, officials recognized that officers who work in California’s prison system have the unenviable but heroic task of overcoming near insurmountable odds every day while at the same time protecting and saving the lives of the inmates as well as their fellow officers and colleagues. The officers, officials say, oversee a large population of violent and “unpredictable” individuals, many of whom have ties to dangerous street gangs.
Officials also took time to recognize individual officers like Ney Vencer who they say deserve commendation for their bravery in taking on the role of corrections officer in a state penal facility.
In 2013, Vencer was attacked by an inmate who was wielding a shank. He spent several moments fighting the inmate during which he suffered deep lacerations to his throat. His fellow officers came to his aid and Vencer’s life-threatening injuries were treated in time to save his life.
Vencer was rewarded with the medal of valor for his role in the incident as well as for his general tenure with the California state prison system. The other officers were also awarded, each with the gold star for bravery.