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October 21, 2011

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Officers recite the Correction Officer’s Oath at a recent Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department graduation ceremony.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is currently assembling a new recruitment class to join the ranks of officers at the Suffolk County House of Correction and the Nashua Street Jail.

Seeking officer candidates that embody the high standards of professionalism, commitment and conduct established by Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, the Department is looking for dedicated men and women of all backgrounds who are interested in a rewarding career in law enforcement.

The essential functions of Jail and Correction Officers are to maintain the care, custody, and control of inmates in accordance with departmental policies and procedures. As public servants, officers employed by Suffolk County must conduct themselves in an exemplary manner both on and off duty and they must know and scrupulously observe the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department’s standards of employee conduct.

“We are the largest sheriff’s department in Massachusetts,” said Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Superintendent of Human Resources Michael Harris. “We have approximately 1,100 employees, including the 900 to 950 of whom are custody or uniform staff. We are a 24/7 operation with approximately 2,500 inmates and detainees in our care, custody and control on any given day. We are essentially running a small city, so we are always in need of additional manpower. What we’re looking for are good, qualified candidates.”

As a former Jail Officer who has risen through the ranks to become the Supervisor of Training, Deputy Superintendent Yolanda Smith is the person tasked with the implementation of the Department’s training, which includes those candidates chosen to participate in the Department’s Correction Officer Training Academy. Speaking about the Training Academy experience, Deputy Superintendent Smith described the dual nature of the instruction that each officer candidate receives.

“We have a twelve–week comprehensive training program in which candidates are taught, among other skills, CPR, defensive techniques, suicide prevention, ethics and professionalism, use of force continuum, firearm safety and handling and many other skills needed to become a correction officer,” said Deputy Superintendent Smith. “We test physical endurance and mental toughness and our training is similar to a boot camp. During each academy, we also have practical training in which officer candidates will be assigned to the House of Correction or Nashua Street Jail and learn firsthand what it’s like to work in the units alongside veteran officers.”

“We have thirteen full–time instructors who are cross–trained in each discipline and are proficient in any subject we teach,” DS Smith continued. “Our academy is designed to prepare strong, capable officers to succeed in their careers at the Department. We provide feedback during the academy process so that we can let candidates know what their perceived strengths and weaknesses are. We are not looking to fail anyone who is trying, but who may need a little help. We focus on skills building and working with dedicated candidates to fortify any weaknesses that they may have in a particular area to make them the best that they can be.”

As another former Jail Officer who has excelled and achieved in her role with the Department, Sergeant Jessica Cabrera offered her perspective as a woman of color in a profession often stereotyped as unwelcoming to diversity.

“Although corrections can sometimes be a stressful environment to work in, women working in corrections has become the norm,” said Sergeant Cabrera. “The male officers I work with are respectful and protective, and it’s a great feeling knowing that they have my back and I have theirs. Women hold positions as officers and administrators in this Department and in corrections in general. Women can and have progressed along the path from Officer to Sergeant, Lieutenant to Captain and – here in Suffolk County – to Sheriff.”

Detailing some of the requirements that a potential officer candidate must possess to be considered by the Department, Superintendent Harris echoed Sgt. Cabrera’s statements about the diverse personnel employed by the Department.

“Clearly, we want the best available candidates,” Supt. Harris said. “We require at least a high school diploma or GED certificate, but we give preference to college graduates and military veterans. With that said, statistically, we select about one out of every eight to ten candidates. We favor diversity – we want people of all backgrounds, experiences, and maturity levels, because we feel that it makes us a better organization. Like many organizations today, we have a diverse clientele and we think that it’s important for the people in charge of their supervision to represent that same diversity.”

To be considered for employment by Suffolk County as a member of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, applicants must satisfy all of the following requirements: *Be at least 21 years of age; *Present a copy of a high school diploma or G.E.D. certificate; *Present a copy of a birth certificate; *Present a copy of a DD-214 (if the applicant was in the military); *Pass a criminal record check; *Pass a background investigation; *Pass a written skills test, oral interview, and physical fitness test; *Prove United States Citizenship; *Pass a physical examination (if a conditional offer of employment has been extended) which includes: A determination that the applicant is fit to perform a Jail/Correction Officer’s essential functions; Drug screening test; Must not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace; Possess ability to perform all essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

For additional information or to download a copy of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department employment application, please click here.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is an equal opportunity employer.

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