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June 14, 2019 - After completing a rigorous 10-week academy, 37 new correction officers took their oaths of office today and embarked on careers at the Westchester County Department of Correction.  

The ceremony began with a call to order, opening prayer and a presentation of the colors by the Department’s Honor Guard, who entered the Westchester County Center accompanied by bagpipers and drummers of the Westchester County Emerald Society.

In  addressing the recruits, Correction Commissioner Joseph K. Spano reinforced that the new career they have chosen is one of the most challenging – but also most rewarding – in all of law enforcement.  Commissioner Spano stated “Correction officers play one of the most important roles in criminal justice.  Over the last ten weeks, we have provided you with many of the tools you will need to have successful careers.  In turn, we expect that each of you will adhere to the Department’s core mission: recovery, rehabilitation and the safe return of those we serve to their home communities.” Commissioner Spano further noted that based upon the Department of Correction’s 30-plus programs, hundreds of partnerships and the steadfast dedication of its staff, it remains the only correctional agency in New York that is nationally accredited by three different oversight agencies.    

Westchester County Executive George Latimer then delivered keynote remarks, in which he highlighted the unique life experiences that the officers and new sergeants will rely on every day.  County Executive Latimer stated, “One of the unseen yet most important functions of County government is the safe running of a correctional facility.  In this county, we believe that there are no ‘throwaway people.’  The individuals in your custody have arrived there for many reasons and will look to you as mentors and role models.  Rest assured that my administration will have your backs as you begin this new journey.”

Following the County Executive’s remarks, Captain Wanda Smithson of the Department’s Training Academy detailed the unique training that the recruits received during the last ten weeks, including newly-developed curriculum related to implicit bias and secondary trauma.   Recruits also received training in effective communication, de-escalation of incidents, defensive tactics, crisis intervention and interaction with seriously mentally ill people.  

2019 marks the Department of Correction’s fiftieth year as a criminal justice agency, formed in 1969 from what were then functions of the County Sheriff and the Department of Public Welfare.  In merging these functions, Westchester County sought to extend the rehabilitative initiatives afforded to its sentenced offenders to pre-trial detainees, and to create a unified workforce of similarly-credentialed officers.  

Prior to the close of the ceremony, awards  were presented to members of the class who distinguished themselves during the academy, including the best student, the best conditioned recruit and for leadership. Those joining the Department and being promoted today are:

Correction Officers:

Algbedo, Omosefe

Arellano, Armando

Arroyo, Miguel

Baez, Kristopher

Bellamy, Damien

Boddie, Ryan

Boro, Arne

Brodie, Shyann

Brooke, Christopher

Brooks, Jasmine

Campbell, Nicholas

Castilho-Vigato, Otavio

Chanchee, Steven

Criollo, Jorge

Dennard, Preston

Farrell, Mackenzie

Foster, Kimesha

Gamboa, Jose

Getter, Zhane

Green, Michael

Huggins, Ishemela

Jimenez, Jasmin

Jones, Marvin

Lynk, Judan

O’Shea, Christopher

Pfeiffer, Kevin

Poulson, Kirk

Reilly, Tyler

Roche, Patrick

Rodriguez, Modesto

Sandoval, Antonio

Seraphin, Daniel

Stewart, Matthew

Thomas, Dexter

White, Shawn

Whiting, Thomas

Yeagley, David

Promoted to Sergeant:

Herman Dawson

Jeffry Deigan

Larry Vazquez, Jr.