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Correctional Officers – True Grit
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 12/01/2014

Boots Many officers may be unaware they possess true grit. Watching the movies, we know John Wayne and Jeff Bridges showed us an aggregate demonstration of the intangible quality that is hard to pin down as a measured gift. We do know when we observed “true grit” in action we saw perseverance, passion and a tenacious personality or character developing leading them into other ventures.

Some may even say obsession or tunnel vision come into play when we display true grit. It has been my experience in this career that those that achieve a twenty, twenty five or thirty year goal in corrections have true grit.

Never distracted what their job was and focusing on the end goal makes them role models for such challenges. Oblivious to those things that may cause discouragement to others, they tread forward without regard to difficulties or barriers placed before them.

The upside of possessing true grit is the fact these officers make good teachers and mentors. They work hard to get the most and the best out of their pupils. Field training officers have true grit. They volunteer their time and experience to make others better.

Officers that go to the gym and work out religiously have true grit. Working out regularly takes a commitment, focus and perseverance to hang in there and get it done. In the same parameters, officers that concentrate and achieve difficult challenges do so because of their ability to deal with adversity and manage to formulate respectable methods to overcome such encounters.

People with true grit work harder, try harder and at the same time make others around them do the same. It is a measure of physical and mental strength and lack of discouragement. Officers with true grit rarely give up on anything and because they are the tenacious types they succeed more often in attaining their personal or professional goals.

Finally, grit is a recently proposed personality trait associated with persistence for long-term goals, predicts success in part in promoting self-control, thus allowing people to persist in repetitive, tedious or frustrating behaviors that are necessary for success. People high in grit are more passionate about their goals and more dedicated to accomplishing them.’

Summing up true grit in a prison setting we know that survival of the fittest applies at all costs. We also know that surviving is a method attained by those that are the most adaptable. Adaptability is one of the most important factor in life. We all face changes, setbacks, even tragedies. Survival depends on how well we can cope with these, change our plans, alter direction, relocate, and transfer and change job assignments.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


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