IJMC The Forgotten Cop

                     IJMC - The Forgotten Cop

Ok, post numbero duo for tonight, then I'm off to la-la land. Luckily, 
the modifications to my scripts worked the first time around...bascially, 
I don't have to stay up all night convincing Netcom that IJMC doesn't 
actually have to exist to send posts. :) I'm happy. Now I'm going to bed. 
Say good-night, Gracie. "Good-night, Gracie."                       -dave

"The Forgotten Cop"
   by Donald E. Premo, Jr., New York State Corrections Officer
    What would the average citizen say if it were proposed that police
officers be assigned to a neighborhood which was inhabited by no one but
criminals and those officers would be unarmed, patrol on foot and
heavily outnumbered?  I wager that the overwhelming public response
would be that the officers would have to be crazy to accept such an
assignment.  However, as you read this, such a scenario is being played
out in all areas of the country.
    I am a New York State corrections officer, not a guard (who is a
person that watches school crossings).  I work at a maximum security
correctional facility.  I am empowered by the State of New York to
enforce its penal laws and the rules and regulations of the Department
of Correctional Services. In short, I am a policeman.  My beat is
totally inhabited by convicted felons who, by definition, are people who
tend to break laws, rules and regulations.  I am outnumbered by as much
as 20, 30 and even 40 to 1 at various times during my workday, and,
contrary to popular belief, I work without a
sidearm.  In short, my neck is on the line every minute of the day.
    A correctional facility is a very misunderstood environment.  The
average person has little knowledge of its workings.  Society sends its
criminal to correctional facilities and as time passes, each criminal's
crime fades from our memory until the collective prison population
becomes a vision of hordes of bad people being warehoused away from
decent society in a place where they can cause no further harm. There is
also the notion that prison inmates cease to be a problem when they are
    Correctional facilities are full of violence perpetrated by the
prison population against each other and the facility staff.  Felonies
are committed daily but they are called "unusual incidents" and rarely
result in public prosecution.  Discipline is handled internally and, as
a rule, the public is never informed of these crimes.  In the course of
maintaining order in these facilities, many officers have endured the
humiliation of being spat upon and having urine and feces thrown at
them.  Uncounted Corrections Officers have been punched and kicked,
bitten, stabbed and slashed with homemade weapons, taken hostage and
even murdered in the line of duty, all the while being legally mandated
to maintain their professional composure and refraining from any
retaliation which could be the basis for dismissal from service.
    In addition to these obvious dangers, corrections officers face
hidden dangers in the form of AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and
hepatitis C.  Courts are now imposing longer sentences and the prison
population is increasing far beyond the system's designed capacity.  As
the public demands more police on the street, governments everywhere are
cutting police in prisons where violence reigns supreme, jeopardizing
all those still working behind prison walls.  
    Although you will never see me on "Rescue 911" or "Top Cops", I am a
law enforcement professional.  I am THE FORGOTTEN COP, hidden from public
view, doing dangerous thankless duty on the world's most dangerous beat,
hoping someday to receive the respect of and approval from the public whom
I silently serve. 
                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~Donald E. Premo, Jr.
This mesage was taken from the Fraternal Order of Police magazine
Kentucky Knightbeat

I am sending this message to everyone I know and ask that you please
send it to everyone on your e-mail list.......I have been employed for
the last 8 years in Kentucky's only maximum security facility, and I do
know the happenings as they are described above. I am hoping that
everyone will at least have an idea about what we do on a daily basis is
not just have a job that is termed "a high priced baby-sitter"
               Sam Fletcher............Eddyville, KY

IJMC November 1997 Archives