Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release:
May 7,1999

Governor Taft Praises Corrections Officers

(Columbus)-- Governor Bob Taft praised the work and dedication of Ohio’s nearly 8,000 Corrections Officers (C.O.) at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (DRC) Corrections Officer of the Year Banquet today. The annual celebration caps Public Employee Recognition Week.

After noting that C.O.s’ duties include everything from problem solving to unarmed self-defense, and from rooting out contraband to noting and dealing with volatile situations, Taft expressed his pride in the officers. "As your governor, I am proud of you. I am also sincerely grateful for everything you do to keep us safe; everything you do to help turn around the lives of those offenders who look to you as examples of good citizenship; and for your many contributions to your community and your state," said Taft.

This banquet is DRC’s premier event, attended by the Corrections Officer of the Year from each prison and their families as well as executive staff from each prison. A statewide Corrections Officer of the Year is selected from a pool of 30 officers representing all Ohio prisons. The winner is presented the Ronald C. Marshall award. DRC’s top award is named in memory of Ron Marshall who epitomized corrections professionalism, rising from the rank of "guard" at the Ohio Penitentiary to warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

This year’s Marshall Award recipient is Donald Ray Morgan from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF). Morgan is a member of SOCF’s Honor Guard and Strategic Response Team (SRT). He is also a team leader for DRC’s STAR (Special Tactics and Response) Team, a position held by only four C.O.s in the state. Officer Morgan is certified in advanced unarmed self-defense, basic and advanced SRT, basic and advanced Incident Command Systems, rappelling for safety services, Remington Armorer School and tactical tracking. An expert tracker, Morgan assisted in the tracking and safe recovery of a missing four-year-old Scioto County girl in January.

DRC Director Reginald A. Wilkinson noted the trait of responsibility among the assembled corrections officers. "In an age where so many people seem to want to blame others – or society – for everything that goes wrong, you are willing to step forward and say, ‘this is my dorm, or cellblock, or visiting room. I am responsible for what happens or doesn’t happen here,’" said Wilkinson. "You are being honored today because you are willing to step up to the plate and get things done."

For more information please contact DRC’s Public Information office at (614) 752-1150.