|When God Made Correction Officers|
|By Tracy E. Barnhart|
When the Lord was creating CORRECTION OFFICERS, he was into his sixth day of 16 hour overtime when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?”
A CORRECTION OFFICER must always bear in mind that rehabilitation is based on self-respect. In the event of rebellious actions or disparaging remarks towards them by inmates they must always maintain a quite firm demeanor.
A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER has to be able to tolerate the ignorance of some, without losing hope.
A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER must also be prepared to cover a life-threatening situation, canvass the institution for witnesses, write a perfect report, and testify the next day.
A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER has to be in top physical condition at all times, running on black coffee and half-eaten meals when it is necessary.
A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER has to have six pairs of hands.
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way!” “It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord, “it’s the three pairs of eyes an Officer has to have.” ”Is that on the standard model?” asked the angel.
The Lord nodded and said, “One pair that sees through a bulge in a pocket before the Officer asks, ‘May I see what’s in there, sir?’ (When the Officer already knows and wishes he’d taken that accounting job.)” The second pair, here in the side of his head for his fellow Officers safety and the third pair of eyes here in front that can look reassuringly at a bleeding victim and say, “You’ll be all right, when the Officer knows it isn’t so.”
“Lord,” said the angel, touching his sleeve, “rest and work on this tomorrow.” “I can’t,” said the Lord, “I already have a model that can talk a 250 pound inmate out of a rebellious intention without incident and feed a family of five on a civil service paycheck.” The angel circled the model of the CORRECTIONAL OFFICER very slowly, “Can it think?” the angel asked.
The Lord said “Can it think!” A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER can recite departmental rules in its sleep; detain, investigate, search, and arrest a gang member on a tier in less time than it takes five Federal Judges to debate the legality of a cell search… and still it keeps its sense of humor. “This CORRECTIONAL OFFICER also has phenomenal personal control.”
A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER can deal with crime scenes painted in hell, professionally watch over a child abuser not allowing emotions to stand in the way of helping a inmate better himself, comfort a fellow Officers family with a loss, and then read in the daily paper how the department and its Officers are not sensitive to the rights of inmates.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the CORRECTION OFFICER. “There’s a leak,” the angel pronounced. “I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model!” the angel exclaimed.
“That’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “it’s a tear”
“What’s the tear from?” asked the angel.
“It’s for bottled-up emotions, for fallen comrades, for commitment to that tattered piece of cloth called the American flag, and for lady justice.”
“You’re a genius,” said the angel.
The Lord looked somber and said “I didn’t put that tear there.”
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