Two area corrections officers were recently singled out for praise by their peers - praise we'd like to echo in these pages.
Jeffrey Cromell was recently named by his coworkers as the 2012 Corrections Officer of the Year at the Alger Correctional Facility; Daniel Pelkola received the same honor at Marquette Branch Prison.
Both veteran officers have worked for the state Department of Corrections for the better part of two decades. Cromell has worked for the DOC since 1994 and Pelkola began his career at Alger Correctional Facility in 1995.
Cromell - currently in charge of the prisoner yard crew that maintains the prison grounds, garden and snow removal - has been described by his supervisors as "professional, proactive, positive, and honest ..." His effective leadership abilities have been cited as a great benefit to the prison.
Pelkola was selected for the honor in recognition of his proactive approach to creating a safer environment for staff and prisoners. His coworkers cited him for outstanding communication skills and a willingness to volunteer for the most challenging assignments.
Officer Pelkola's supervisors and coworkers describe him as "creative, honest, professional, knowledgeable, helpful and a role model to Staff."
It's hard to overstate the importance of the work COs perform.
Corrections officers work under tense, demanding circumstances. They're charged with maintaining the safety of not only the general public but also the inmates in our prisons and jails.
Corrections officers, unlike law enforcement officers or many other public servants, work in a place where we're unlikely to ever see them on duty. That doesn't make their jobs any less important.
We're glad to be able to give these two officers the public recognition they truly deserve.