Letter to the Editor - June 8, 2008

The word "hero" gets a bit threadbare from overuse, but I believe that there is no other way to describe the men and women charged with the care and custody of the inmates in the penal institutions of this country.

With personal courage, professional skills and the earned respect of the inmates as their only weapons, the correctional officers of the Bristol County Sheriff's Office have the toughest job in law enforcement.

At my office, we are celebrating National Correction Officers Week this week (June 8 to 14), and I wanted to send a message of gratitude and admiration to each of our officers for their dedication and devotion to a vocation that demands a unique brand of bravery and personal pride. Although the week is dedicated to the officers themselves, I would like to add my thanks to the members of their family and close friends who provide the love and support so necessary for them to perform a demanding job with such professionalism and competence.

We have made amazing strides toward our goal of greatness. Together we have done things that few believed we could accomplish. I have the backing of corrections professionals across the country when I speak of the high quality of my staff. The dual accreditation of the Dartmouth House of Correction and the Dartmouth Women's Center when lack of state funding forced us to work with more inmates and a slender budget is a clear indication of the dedication, devotion and talent of the men and women who proudly wear the badge of a correctional officer. We have been nationally reviewed twice and came up with near perfect scores on each accreditation. We look now toward accreditation of the Ash Street Jail and, eventually, of our Law Enforcement Unit.

I am immensely proud of the correction officers with whom I work daily. I would not trade my staff for any in the country. The professionalism they display is a challenge to me because it reminds me of the honor the voters of Bristol County have entrusted to me as the leader of men and women who work beyond expectations for the reward of personal and professional pride.

I did not want to let Correction Officers week fade into the past without pausing to say thank you publicly to the best of the best, the correctional officers of the Bristol County Sheriff's Office. They work far from the spotlights that are often trained on other public safety officers but their dedication and courage demands our respect and admiration.

If you know any officers or meet any officers, express your gratitude for they work tirelessly and yes, often heroically, to make Bristol County a safer place for you and to improve the quality of life for all its citizens.

Thomas M. Hodgson
Bristol County Sheriff

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