I have been an employee with the Washington state Department of Corrections since 2004. I originally was employed in the lumber industry. However, when one of my paychecks bounced as the company was in the process of bankruptcy, I knew it was time for change. I did not grow up with the thought of working in corrections. However, for 10 years I worked as a correctional officer and I developed a definite passion for the goals of the Department of Corrections of ensuring public safety.
We do the job that no one else willingly chooses to do and have even been often informed by some of our law enforcement friends that they would not consider performing the job we do. Despite becoming targets of assault, attempted murder, murder, contamination with blood and bodily fluids, and the physical, emotional and psychological impacts these events create, we Department of Corrections state employees must assume multiple roles while maintaining a professional attitude. We are the security, the listeners, the counselors, the problem solvers and conflict resolvers. We do not have the luxury of a guaranteed safe return home after a workday. Nor do we have the ability to hang a closed sign on the window. We ask the public to please contact your district senator and ask them show us that they value the work that we do and prove that our work is not in vain by funding the Department of Corrections contract as it was negotiated between the union and the state.