JAILCON 20/20 National Corrections Professionals Awards Ceremony


To respond to the need for training across the country the National Institute for Jail Operations created JAILCON 20/20 Special Edition–a unique, customized training opportunity for corrections professionals across the country.  Throughout the initial conference dates, September 7-30, corrections professionals across the country had the opportunity to access over 50 credit hours of online training through DACOTA (Detention and Corrections Online Training Academy), NIJO’s online training platform, from some of the top instructors in the country.  In addition to the online training sessions, NIJO hosted several LIVE webinars ranging from a keynote speaker session featuring Al Robertson and John Godwin, from Duck Dynasty, to sessions pertaining to current issues like COVID-19 in corrections, cultural diversity, reform in law enforcement and corrections, as well as legal updates in corrections.

The final LIVE webinar was an uplifting and inspiring Awards Ceremony recognizing many individuals and agencies who have demonstrated excellence in the corrections profession throughout their careers, especially during this past year.  NIJO Executive Director, Tate McCotter, spotlighted each recipient one by one in an inspiring presentation detailing the commitment and contributions of each individual and agency.  Adding to the stirring presentation of the awards to these highly deserving people, was the ongoing stream of comments in the webinar “chat” full of appreciative and congratulatory remarks from fellow corrections professionals and proud families and friends of each recipient who were also invited to attend the webinar.

One steady comment throughout the Awards Ceremony from participants was the wish that everyone across the country could watch the presentation and know of the integrity and selfless commitment that is demonstrated by so many of our nation’s corrections professionals.  Additionally, that our dedicated corrections officers and administrators throughout our nation could feel the pride and overwhelming gratitude that was expressed throughout this meaningful program.

Along with countless individuals across the nation, NIJO wishes to extend our congratulations to the following award recipients of the 2020 National Corrections Professionals Awards.

Civilian Employee of the Year Award Recipients:

Awarded to a “non-certified” Detention employee serving in a support section of the Office who has who provided innovative ideas that enhanced the efficiency of the facility in line with the mission of the Office during the past year.

Sophia Mitchell
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (IN)

Sophia seamlessly transitioned into the DOC/ Court Liaison position after serving as a deputy on the custody side of the house.  She has been instrumental in ensuring inmates time is calculated correctly as well as keeping DOC/Court professional partnerships intact.  Sophia has been able to coordinate several high-profile transports to the DOC from their jail this year which, as you can imagine, greatly improved operations … and staff morale. 


Jean Pingston Orange County Corrections Department (FL)

Dell Kubler, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, GA

Mrs. Jean Pingston from Orange County Corrections Department in Florida is praised for her forward-thinking, dedication and efficiency. To be specific, amid the challenges presented by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Pingston continued to come to work even though she was afforded the opportunity, as a civilian employee, to work from home. She was concerned about the staff and the department’s ability to remain in compliance with multiple regulatory and accreditation requirements.  From the words of her coworkers,  “Mrs. Pingston took the lead on converting many of our traditionally instructor-led courses to a computer-based format keeping our staff safe, saving manpower and overtime dollars, enhancing efficiency and our computer-based training library by adding multiple new training opportunities.” 

Detention Officer of the Year Award Recipients:

Awarded to a Certified Detention Officer, without regard to years in service, who has exhibited professionalism and dedication to the Office and the community during the past year.


Samantha Boyce Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office (WA)

Samantha is Wahkiakum County Jail’s youngest employee (23). (Don’t be haters …) That being said she is not only wise beyond her years, but she also excels in her ability to hold her composure in stressful situations as well as communicate to others. After a nervous applicant submitted papers for the job, Sam reached out with offers of help. From the applicant “I have now been working in the jail for year and half and she has never waivered in her efforts to help myself, our co-workers and our department as a whole become the best we possibly can.” 


Travis Kahn Crawford County Sheriff’s Office (KS)

Officer Kahn has always been a positive employee and has a positive attitude. He shows this by making himself available for duty when called upon, conducts inmate transports to court, the hospital, and transfers from other facilities. Officer Kahn will volunteer for other shifts when needed or required.  

Health Care Professional of the Year Award Recipients:

Awarded to the Detention Center medical staff member who set the bar for jail medical programs and best represents the overall spirit of professionalism, caring, and dedication. This award is submitted by peer nominations from medical or detention staff members.


Hollye Hill

It is not common for support staff to make themselves available 24/7 to detention staff; however, this is exactly what Hollye has done.  She has been instrumental in assisting jail administrators with procedure and policy for the care of the inmates during this current pandemic.  Staff wrote “We attribute much of our success of not having a single positive COVID case in our facility to her. From my 22 years of experience this is not the normal for a detention medical professional, but we are thankful to have her at our facility.” 


Dr. Teresa Moore Farmville Detention Center (VA)

Dr. Moore has led the clinical team at Farmville Detention Facility on the front lines of the COVID pandemic with an amazing attitude and focus on delivering compassionate care for all of the patients and staff.  She delivers great care everyday, regardless of the challenges faced during this time. 


Tracy Shumway Apache County Sheriff's Office (AZ)

Tracy Shumway has worked as a Nurse for ACSO for approximately 13 years. She is currently the Director of Nursing at Apache County Sheriff’s Office. From the application “I have worked with Tracy for four and a half years. I have learned so much from her! She has taught me how the be the BEST detention nurse I can be. Training is a must in any job. Tracy has always made sure I have the training I need to stay updated in my field and properly trained to work in a Jail setting. Those in law enforcement talk about having each others “six”. I can guarantee you Tracy has my back.”

Detention Supervisor of the Year Award Recipients:

Awarded to a Certified Detention Officer serving in a supervisory capacity (Corporal and/or Sergeant) who excel in their positions and are highly regarded by their staff for their consistent leadership, integrity, understanding and support, both professionally and personally, during the past year.


Adam Gonzalez-McFetridge Uinta County Sheriff’s Office (UT)

Sgt. Gonzales meets with each deputy and sincerely asks about where his staff are in their careers, where they are going and how he can help them get to where they want to be. He encourages staff to make the most of our time in this profession through education and helping others. Most of all Sgt. Gonzales is kind and always takes time to speak kind words to every officer and civilian and volunteer and inmate. Nominated by his peers, they wrote “I think that Sgt. Gonzales deserves to be recognized for lifting staff through his example and kindness. We really appreciate everything that he does for us and making the jail better.”


Tammy Alexander Franklin County Sheriff's Office (KS)

Corporal Tammy Alexander has devoted 24 years of her life to the Franklin Co Sheriffs Office and the citizens of Franklin County. From road patrol to detectives, and now Corrections, she has done it all.  Tammy is a floor supervisor, and administrative Corporal and a certified law enforcement officer.  Corporal Alexander demonstrates what it looks like to function at a high level as a supervisor. Constantly putting in extra hours, both day and night, to ensure that the facility is running in a correct manner.  Corporal Alexander shines as a leader, always willing to offer guidance to any officers in need, as well as


Wanda Presley Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department (FL)

With over 28 years of correctional experience, it is no wonder why Corporal Presley has flourished as a supervisor. Before her arrival to the unit, the area led all other areas in Response-to-Resistance (RTR) incidents and Battery-on-Inmate (BOI) Incidents. Since being assigned to the Courts Services Bureau Jail Arraignment/Bond Hearing Unit, Corporal Presley has exhibited immense leadership and interpersonal skills with staff, which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in RTR and BOI incidents. She used these techniques to implement new strategies for the unit and increase their efficiency. 


O.L. Sparks Morgan County Jail (AL)

Direct from his nomination–“Lieutenant Sparks is a 21 year veteran of the Morgan County Jail, and hidden jewel in the corrections world, who has displayed an unmatched work ethic, determination to succeed, and a heart for guiding all of the staff members at our facility. Lt. Sparks currently serves as the liaison between the facility and our court system, manages all inmate sentencing documents, oversees classification and booking procedures, as well as contributing to the development and training of staff in the facility. He is an invaluable resource to our facility and has never truly received the recognition he deserves. Lt. Sparks has become a source of wisdom for our staff, to include everything inside the facility to how to maintain an immaculate lawn (seriously, it’s impressive).”

Detention Administrator of the Year Award Recipients:

Awarded to a detention administrator/commander who has shown exemplary leadership and has contributed to the improvement of the jail environment positively for enhanced safety, security, and custody to benefit overall jail operations, officers, staff, inmates, and the general public.


Seminole County Sheriff's Department (FL)

Chief Bedard has been more than stellar with implementing ways to reduce unwanted or increased outspread of COVID-19 while focusing on maintaining control of the inmate population by supplying them with extra reading material, recreational activities, mental activities (such as inmates designing holiday cards to help those less fortunate confined to nursing homes).  From the nomination, I quote “During her current years of services here at the facility, a growth of improvement and accomplishments has been achieved to include unnecessary cost related medical expenses, reduction of Response to Resistance, cleaner working environment, food/meal served to both inmates and staff, leadership & training opportunities and up to date information as it relates to federal guideline to help reduce the possibility of falling subject to Civil Liabilities against the facility and the agency.”  She is admired for her transparency by often making herself visible, conducting physical walk throughs with staff and supervisors. 


Sandra Dalton Hinds County Sheriff's Office (MS)

Sandra Dalton has shown exemplary leadership with facility improvements but also the positive influence of the personal lives of many of the staff and inmates. Her drive to give the facility, personnel, and inmates a better environment is unstoppable.  With limited resources, she maximizes jail operations to gain control of a dangerous facility, inspires staff to stay encouraged and uplifted on a daily basis.  Her staff explained “With her we gained a family and a safe and secure environment that supports both the staff and the inmates.”  One officer articulated “I have worked under many Facility Commanders, but I have never worked under one who took full responsibility and care for each staff member and inmate like she has.  She’s truly an amazing woman that gave many of us hope beyond measures.”


Matt Figueroa Coconino County Sheriff's Office (AZ)

Commander Figueroa has dedicated his professional life to detention services since 1996 and has been responsible for a multitude of improvements to the Coconino County Detention Facility. One of Commander Figueroa’s recent accomplishments, which was recognized nationally for its innovation, is the introduction of a “Pre-Rule 11 Committee” which reviews an inmate’s status to determine if they are eligible for mental health or medical treatment better suited for a non-custodial environment.   Creating a partnership between detention staff, municipal and justice courts, community mental health providers, in-custody mental health professionals, prosecutor and public defender offices, local support groups and charities, and other stakeholders is extremely difficult but under Figueroa’s leadership, the committee has thrived, diverting over 100 people to treatment best suited for out of custody care.  He has been a strong positive voice in the jail, community, and state. 


David Hannon Miller County Sheriff's Office (MO)

Long hours and sleepless nights are what it takes to be an effective jail administrator. Captain Hannon knows all about that and more. His communication skills and the knowledge of jail procedure has allowed the Miller County Jail to grow into what it is today. Some of his accomplishments include: Successful implementation of jail training program for staff; serving as a key decision maker when integrating video visitation into the jail; and streamlining the booking and inmate’s services process by working with vendors to provide the best and most cost effective products. Taken directly from the nomination, “Captain Hannon’s greatest asset is his ability to be personable and communicate with his staff at a degree which has decreased the turnover rate in the jail and has raised moral significantly.”


Cody Patterson Clay County Sheriff's Office (AL)

Patterson has devoted many hours of his time, going above and beyond his normal duty hours, in order to ensure that the Clay County Detention Center meets or exceeds all State and Federal requirements for a county detention center.  Since January 2019, the jail tripled its housing of federal inmates.  Clay County is a small rural county with limited resources.  His sheriff emphatically stated  “due to Patterson’s leadership, dedication to duty, expertise, and his excellent work ethic, I would be willing to compare the Clay County Detention Center to any detention center in the state.”


Riley Riser Box Elder County Sheriff's Office (UT)

Riley Riser gets things done.  He redeveloped their FTO program, exponentially improved communication and relationship with the courts, and has written proposals to add civilian booking clerks to the jail, which were approved.  After hiring, he trained the clerks, so that the County’s booking information is consistent, accurate, and improves dialogue between the courts.  From the nomination “I know he puts in countless hours that he does not claim on his timecard, and gives up time with his own family to ensure that all deputies, sergeants and corporals have what they need, including time off. He will come in and work on his days off to cover shifts so others can be with their families. He is the most humble and kind giant of a man.”

Detention Facility Innovation Award Recipients:

Awarded to a detention facility which has demonstrated exceptional achievement in developing and/or enhancing a particular aspect or feature in the facility or in the operations of the facility in line with the mission of the Sheriff’s Office during the past year.


Collier County Sheriff's Office (FL)

The Correction Department’s mission is to create a safer community by effectively managing offenders and providing opportunities for positive change. The Second Chance Cell Dog Program is a partnership between Collier County SO and the Humane Society Naples. The purpose of this program is to give county puppies a second chance at life; teaching them to be disciplined, loving and faithful family pets and increasing their chances of going to a forever home. At the same time, it teaches inmates valuable life and job skills in the areas of dog training, grooming and veterinary assistant skills that they will be able to use after they complete their sentences.


Rockdale County Sheriff's Office (GA)

Starting a career in the Jail could be overwhelming, especially those never exposed to the detention facility setting, learning new safety policy and procedures, dealing with mental health inmates and all other responsibilities that come with working in the Jail Division. This award recognizes the Employee Mentoring and Wellness Program created by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.  The program promotes cultivating new officers in their knowledge, confidence and competence in the profession through the guidance of senior staff. Educating, training, supporting, providing employee mental health and wellness services when they are needed helps keeping the continuity in operational practices and helps with inmate and public interactions


Wayne County Sheriff's Office (IN)

The Wayne County Jail has been “under construction” for a long time in efforts to revamp and renovate its facility.  (Imagine having to serve 3 sack meals a day to inmates for 5 months straight).  Getting funding is no easy task.  The jail has been able to update the kitchen floor, light fixtures to save on electricity cost; mezzanine mesh screening to prevent inmates from jumping from the second tier, resurfacing all unit shower walls, electronic water management software so we can turn the water off from the officer satellite instead of physically turning off a valve in the units, all new toilet sink combos in the units as well as new shower water fixtures; and an upgraded security system.  

NIJO Dedication to Excellence Award Recipients:

(aka Overworked and Underpaid Award)

Awarded to a detention officer, supervisor, or administrator who in the past year has gone above and beyond normal expectations by working extra hours, making extra effort to ensure the safety and security of staff members, inmates, and the general public.


Greg Bennett Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (CO)

Early in 2020 a vacancy occurred for the “Advisement Deputy” position.  Deputy Greg Bennett willingly accepted the challenge even though it meant a big change from the shift schedule he previously had.  He hit the ground running with enthusiasm and energy. Soon thereafter, the pandemic crisis hit and closed the courts. Bennett kept busy helping in the jail with many other tasks. When courts started reopening, he arranged virtual hearings with the County Courts and several municipalities. Bennet went so far as to arrange hearings, using a laptop, from dayrooms of inmates in isolation. 

Bennett has displayed technical ability combined with excellent decision-making skills to get the Court system up and running while maintaining security, safety and social distancing for inmates and all court personnel present in the court room. He is organized, very safety conscious and enthusiastic about his tasks every day.  He is also involved in the future planning of enhanced “virtual” appearances which will help with less transports across the state. 


Jason Coulombe Shasta County Probation (CA)

Jason started his career as a Deputy Probation Officer 3 years ago and was assigned to adult supervision where he supervised Domestic Violence caseloads. While assigned to this supervision caseload, he worked hand-in-hand with the DRC, as well as with other batterer treatment services, to ensure offenders were attending and participating in the treatment needed to help promote positive change. He also works with other law enforcement agencies to assist with local compliance activities, is one of the department’s range masters, and is currently working on becoming a Field Training Officer for the department. From the nomination “Jason has a unique way with other staff that when they leave a conversation with him, they are armed with more knowledge that what they came with. If Jason feels someone can benefit from knowledge he has, he will share. This trait is a coveted trait held by so few, and we appreciate Jason greatly for being so wise, knowledgeable and willing to share.”


Aaron Sabine Crawford County Sheriff's Office (KS)

Aaron has four years of service in the Sheriff’s Office. He has always been a reliable employee and makes himself available to work whenever needed.  Aaron always goes the extra mile for the Office and has a great work ethic. He volunteers for overtime no matter the shift. He is a reliable transport and court officer and is always wanting to learn more. He is the agency instructor for body restraint and inmate control devices. He is also a Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy, which is a volunteer duty. Aaron is always helping to improve Corrections and implementing new ideas.


Teresa Stevens Hernando County Sheriff's Office (FL)

Teresa Stevens has put it all on the line.  She volunteered her own extra time and her own sewing machines to teach female inmate workers how to sew masks, designed to cover N95 masks so they would last longer – and then donated thousands of these masks.  She has a passion for law enforcement, detention, and community and has donated hundreds of yards of her own cloth for the masks to be made.   The inmates had never even used a sewing machine and became so efficient and proud of their work as they churned out thousands of masks with their own very strict QA of their own work.  Teresa Stevens led the way, taught inmates a valuable tool, helped the community, but more importantly utilized the sewing time as true mentoring and building up of the female inmate workers.  Get this – the original inmate work crew even saved scraps of material and made her a quilt top to present her, all signed by the original startup inmate worker sewing crew!

Distinguished Valor Award Recipients:

Awarded to a detention officer, supervisor, or administrator who has put it all on the line, by either voluntarily risking his/her own personal safety to heroically serve and protect or who has made critical decisions or has taken preventive actions that ensured the safety and security of staff, inmates and the general public.


Travis Allen Baldwin County Sheriff's Office (AL)

On January 26, 2020, Travis Allen was off duty and at the hunting club in a rural part of his County. He was standing beside Scotty Barnett when Scotty’s shotgun gun went off unexpectedly.

Quote from Angie Barnett, Scotty’s wife, about Travis Allen’s actions on 1/26/20: “When the gun went off. I remember looking at both of their eyes and thinking this didn’t just happen. Travis was calm.  He was quick to take his belt off and started trying to stop the bleeding. The 911 operator talked him through things to do. I remember the gate was locked so I had to run about 300 yards to unlock it.  When I got back, Travis had Scotty calm and breathing slowly. He never lost it. He helped the medics while they cut his hunting bibs off and starting iv’s. He talked to Scotty the entire time, to keep him calm. He kept reassuring me that he had him and help was on the way. He applied pressure the entire time after applying the tourniquet, this lasted for about 40 minutes. If it hadn’t been for Travis, Scotty wouldn’t be here right now. The Dr.’s said, 6 minutes is all Scotty had before he bled to death. The bullet took out both of his major arteries.” 

For his quick actions and ensuring the safety of the public, Congratulations Travis Allen! 


Jessica Bickle Weber County Sheriff's Office (UT)

On July 2, 2019 Corporal Jessica Bickle met an arresting officer in the sally port. While the officer secured his weapons, Corporal Bickle recognized the arrestee lying in an unnatural position and foaming at the mouth. Corporal Bickle immediately removed the arrestee from the car and preformed life saving measures using a round of NARCAN from the officer’s vehicle. Corporal Bickle was quick to call for medical personal to respond and provided information in advance to medical before they arrived on scene. This individual was transported to the local hospital where they admitted themselves into a drug treatment program. Corporal Bickle’s quick actions and solid performance allowed this individual’s life to be preserved.

A few months later on September 24, 2019 Corporal Jessica Bickle was monitoring the phones in booking. Corporal Bickle overheard an individual say he no longer wanted to live. Corporal Bickle responded to the phone area and found the individual had wrapped the phone cord around his neck, hooking the receiver underneath the cord. This individual was seated in a wheelchair and used his legs to push against the wall in an attempt to cause his body to fall out of the chair and use his body weight to hang himself. Corporal Bickle picked the individual up out of the chair, relieving pressure on the cord. While holding this person, Corporal Bickle was able to call for help. Corporal Bickle’s attention to detail and quick actions preserved the life of this individual. 

Corporal Bickle is directly responsible for preserving two inmates’ lives within the last year. Corporal Bickle is a vital part of the team at the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, consistently gives 110% in all she does.  For her critical decision making and preventative actions, Congratulations Jessica Bickle! 


Jazmany Castellanos Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department (FL)

After working his shift on Saturday, May 11, 2019, Officer Jazmany Castellanos went to the gym and while in the parking lot heard a scream. He observed a car had just hit an elderly man on 22nd Avenue in the City of Miami. After observing several people attending to the man, he decided to chase the driver in his vehicle. The chase lasted a few blocks and Officer Castellanos decided to cut off the driver. The driver then tried to reverse, but Officer Castellanos jumped out his car, opened the door, apprehended the suspect and handcuffed on him. At that moment, he was made aware that there was a second occupant in the car. Officer Castellanos gave verbal commands and told the passenger to exit the car and slowly approach him. He then handcuffed both the driver and passenger together and held them until the police arrived. 

This incident demonstrates the situational awareness he exhibited during the incident and the bravery in actively apprehending suspects in a hit and run accident. Regarding the incident, Officer Castellanos says that “he was just doing his job as a sworn law enforcement officer.” This incident touched close to home as his fiancé’s grandfather was involved in a deadly hit and run accident in 2010. With this in mind, he felt compelled to detain these suspects to ensure they were brought to justice. He says his corrections training kicked in and was instrumental during the entire incident.    

I have heard many administrators say the very best street officers they have are all experienced corrections officers and this is proof of that!  For heroically risking your own safety, Congratulations Jazmany Castellanos! 


Bryant Searcy Wayne County Sheriff's Office (MI) (Posthumous)

Bryant Searcy was an 18-year veteran of the force when he was viciously assaulted and killed by an inmate September 2nd, 2020. Sheriff Benny Napolean said of Corporal Searcy

“He was a good deputy, a solid family person, very active in his church and in the community. Clearly, he was someone who has been a beacon of light to the community. He was a consummate professional, very much a person who recognized that he was in charge of the care of inmates, but very professional in his interactions with them.”. 

His daughter said of her father “He joined the force to stand up to injustice and help counsel people through difficult times. I believe that he decided that law enforcement would be the area in which he made a difference in the world. I think his biggest thing was being the light that those inmates saw and constantly encouraging them even if they were in tough situations”. 

Searcy is survived by his wife, Sherry, and 21 year old daughter, Chasadie.

NIJO Executive Director Award (aka Gary W. DeLand Award) Recipients:



This award is rightly named after NIJO Board Member, Gary DeLand, who knows more about corrections hands down than any person on this planet!  The award recognizes extraordinary service to the detention and corrections field by an individual based on leadership, knowledge and contributions to the corrections profession.  Because of the national platform, there are two recipients this year.


Don Bischoff Mohave County Sheriff's Office (AZ)

Tate McCotter stated, “After working closely with the Arizona jails and sheriffs for the better part of the last decade.  Commander Bischoff has shown incredible leadership throughout his career but most notably, his leadership through the challenges of 2020 has been stellar. He is an inspiration to his peers and within his own facility and should be recognized for his efforts and achievements.”

During the early stages of the pandemic, Don proactively assisted in organizing weekly virtual jail meetings represented by every jail in the state of Arizona with the purpose of reporting COVID outbreaks, responses, and issues.  

Both security and medical staff are present, included allied agencies to address potential issues like DOC intake, PPE vendor shortages, and more, ensuring everyone was informed and what resources are available to our jails/personnel during this heath crisis.  On the homefront, Don reached out on behalf of fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters in the valley for riot control devices during the protests.  He insists that judges and the rest of the legal community are aware of the possible crises if they continue to impose jail time for nuisance crimes. He constantly battles the local arresting agencies and Probation Department on minor infraction incarceration. Don is always willing to help, has a wealth of knowledge and has everyone’s best interest at heart.  A few quotes from his staff: 

“Cpt Bischoff has been very transparent in keeping the inmates informed of any policy changes regarding COVID-19. We are very lucky to have someone who is willing to assist employees and inmates.”  – Lacy Roads

“He has worked tremendously hard to make sure we are protected.” – Lindy Weaver 

“I have worked closely with Captain Bischoff for approximately seven years and I’ve worked with, and directly for many large organization administrators but I cannot remember a more dedicated and focused leader than Don. He incorporates a brand of “team” approach that I have not seen before.  I have often marveled at his ability to simply pick up the phone and get a community leader, the County Attorney, Public Defender, or a Superior Court Judge to drop what they are doing and talk to Don Bischoff.  That’s the kind of rapport and respect our community partners have with him. Anytime I’ve had a personal issue at home, before I can finish explaining what I need to do, Don will ask what I‘m still doing in his office when I should be on my way home. Family always comes first; no questions asked. I’ve seen him take several officers under his wing since he has been the commander and given them guidance through issues they were having, both professional and personal. He makes himself available to anyone twenty-four hours a day.” – Lt. Bob Vollbracht

Shari Kimoto Hawaii Department of Public Safety (HI)

Shari Kimoto has been employed with the Department of Public Safety since 1994. Since 2015, she oversees the operations of Hawaii’s jails and prisons.  Previously, Shari served as the Mainland Branch Administrator and Interstate Compact Coordinator for 10 years managing up to 2,000 Hawaii inmates housed in out-of-state private and public correctional facilities in various states due to overcrowding issues in Hawaii.  She was also responsible for the auditing and monitoring of these out-of-state facilities.  Shari has worked as a case manager/unit manager at the Halawa Correctional Facility and Inmate Classification Officer.

Some of you might be wondering “Does Hawaii even have correctional institutions?  Why?  I know all the jokes – if they escape, where are they going to go?”  A few of you may wonder what sort of problems a facility smack dab in the middle of a kukui nut aloha paradise could ever possible have?  I can sufficiently say they have their full share of issues.   Crowding?  Check.  Staffing shortages?  Check.   Grossly limited budgets?  Outdated facilities?  Check.  Politics?  Check.  Union and administration challenges?  Check.  Gangs? Check.  Lawsuits?  Check.  Less resources to deal with all of the above…  CHECK! 

That is the most amazing part of all this and why Shari Kimoto is the recipient of this award.  To make positive change against decades of entrenched history when seemingly everything is pulling against you requires clear vision, a strong committed soul of faith and determination.  Shari Kimoto is just that to a profession often not recognized – except for when something bad happens.  But I have watched over the years and seen the good happening in that state which has come from her consistency and effort.   

Under Shari’s leadership and positive attitude, Hawaii has made continual strides of improvement.  There have been many “firsts” which Shari has witnessed during her service and many accomplishments.  For example, they successfully ended DOJ consent decrees.  They implemented legal-based jail standards and brought top, legal-based training into their facilities.  Shari was instrumental in the implementation of a web-based audit system, now being used to manage internal audits, PREA and external inspections.  Policies, procedures, and operational processes have been revamped and improved significantly.   Limited resources make it difficult to turn around any battleship, but Shari has rallied and, with others, they are doing just that.  While this award is presented to Shari, I think of many individuals who she has worked with, who have adopted her dedication and show up every day, unrecognized heroes behind the scenes and quietly go about their jobs.  It is this sustained effort of improvement that we wish to publicly recognize.


The National Institute for Jail Operations developed the Professional Certification Program in response to the need to provide a respected national certification for individuals looking for a process that involved legal-based curriculum by an organization which supports and defends their agencies’ worthy goals and objectives.   NIJO Professional Certification is a professional designation – earned not issued – for jail and detention officers, supervisors, administrators and sheriffs who have demonstrated to possess the requisite understanding, knowledge, skills, experience and abilities to function to a specific level.  Achieving NIJO Certification is a significant accomplishment and reflects intense training, effort, experience and comprehension proving that an individual confidently knows and can follow clearly established laws and procedures in fulfilling his or her duties within a correctional facility.

National Certified Corrections Executive (NCCE) Certification was awarded to the following individuals:

Adam Gonzalez McFetridge
Uinta County Sheriff’s Office, UT

Cathy Irvin
Blount County Sheriff’s Office, AL

Kevin Jones
Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, SC

National Certified Corrections Supervisor (NCCS) Certification was awarded to the following individuals:

Damon Reynolds
Boone County Sheriff’s Office, MO

Jeremy Rudy 
Blount County Sheriff’s Office, AL

Jeremy Vetter
Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, SC

National Certified Corrections Officer (NCCO) Certification was awarded to the following individuals:

Nikki Lawson
Coffey County Sheriff’s Office, KS

Jessica Milner
Coffey County Sheriff’s Office, KS

Dave Nicholls
Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, UT

Darin Provo
Coffey County Sheriff’s Office, KS

Jimmie Wood
Grand Traverse County, MI


NIJO Accreditation is an established process for correctional administrators to verify and be recognized nationally as compliant to what the law requires to run a constitutionally safe facility. As the only such accreditation in the country, NIJO promulgates over 600 Legal-Based GuidelinesTM specific to each state, to ensure that detention and correctional facilities comply with current legal requirements applicable to each state, circuit court and federal rulings and statutes. Achieving accreditation is not a walk in the park. It requires legal-based policies and procedures, documentation and consistency on all levels. NIJO is pleased to recognize three agencies that have achieved Accreditation or have repeated their accreditation cycle.

Pima County Sheriff's Office, AZ

Pima County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) was first recognized for achieving NIJO accreditation at JAILCON18.  Since then, to maintain that accreditation, they have shown considerable dedication and effort in keeping policies, procedures and actual practices up to date.  Last year there were over 50 changes to the AZ Legal-based guidelines alone!  When case law changes, the legal-based standards change.  And when standards change, policies and procedures and training also need to be modified accordingly.  Change isn’t always easy for large facilities, but Sheriff Mark Napier, Commanders Josh Arnold, Sean Stewart, and Darin Stephens and the entire organization always seem to be ahead of the curve.  This was truly a proactive, group effort.  With that, we are proud to recognize Pima County Sheriff’s Office in their achievement being reaccredited just this month.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office, AZ

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) was the first county in the entire country to achieve re-accreditation Level I status – the highest that can be awarded by NIJO. Since their initial accreditation in 2012, Pinal County Detention Sheriff Mark Lamb, Chief Matt Hendricks and the entire facility has worked diligently to keep its policies and ongoing operational practices current and compliant to the law and the Arizona Legal-Based Guidelines amidst intense budget cutbacks, depleted staff and numerous other challenges.  

Wayne County Sheriff's Office, IN

First accredited in January 2017 under the leadership of Sheriff Jeff Cappa, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office became the first jail in Indiana to undergo and successfully meet accreditation requirements, receiving a Level II status.  Sheriff Randy Retter, Captain Andrew Abney-Brotz and Lt. Kevin Hay and all their entire agency has continued to hold those high standards, initiating steps to bring their processes in the review to a higher level, which we now recognize – scoring 100% to achieve the highest possible accreditation rating – Level 1.  We congratulate you and your staff for this exceptional achievement.

We would also like to recognize the following agencies for maintaining their accreditation status in 2020:

Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, AL - Level II

Shelby County Sheriff's Office, AL - Level I

Boone County Sheriff's Office, MO - Level II

Congratulations to all of these outstanding and dedicated professionals and their agencies. You are the unsung heroes of law enforcement. We appreciate you and are dedicated to providing legal-based training and resources for the employees of jails and detention facilities across the country.

Stay safe



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