The Westchester County Department of Correction (WCDOC) held a formal graduation ceremony for 35 new correction officers at the Westchester County Center. 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 Little Theater accompanied by bagpipers and drummers of the Westchester County Emerald Society. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “One of the most important functions of County government is the safe running of a correctional facility. The individuals remanded into the custody of WCDOC have arrived there for many reasons and will look to our new correction officers as role models and mentors. A full commitment to your new professions and responsibilities will directly impact the men and women in their care and help them prepare for a successful return to their communities. Of importance, today’s graduation falls during National Correctional Officers week, a week where we formally thank and recognize all levels of our Department of Correction dedicated workforce. Their commitment to duty in a complex work environment is commendable not just this week, but every single day. As demonstrated in the 2024 budget, my administration will continue to provide resources to help facilitate future advancements, enhance overall facility safety, and to support our WCDOC workforce and those remanded into their care and custody.”

Deputy Commissioner Michael Gerald welcomed attending dignitaries and graduating class family members. Gerald said: “To support our new correction officers, the Department continues to identify ways to enhance academy training curriculum. Some formal training enhancements include effective communications, more on-the-job scenario based training, debriefing modules, secondary trauma/wellness, use of force and de-escalation. A special thanks goes to the academy staff and instructors for a job well done and to the academy class for the tremendous effort they put forward to successfully complete WCDOC training requirements.”

In addressing the recruits, Correction Commissioner Joseph K. Spano reinforced that the new career as correction officers is one of the most challenging in all of law enforcement. 

Spano said: “I know from firsthand experience that the job of a correction officer is not easy and it will take time to adjust to a fast moving and complex environment. The extensive training you received over the last 12 weeks combined with our continued support will help you adjust to your new profession and safely carry out your responsibilities. As previously discussed, we set the bar high at our agency and expect that each of you will adhere to the Department’s core mission, values and best in class national standards. Also, holding this ceremony during National Correctional Officers week is significant, because it’s a time that we honor the memory and contributions made by hundreds of correctional professionals throughout the years to help position our agency as national leader in the correction space. As a result of that hard work and sacrifice, you now become part of a very special and unique Department of Correction.  If you remain focused and carry out your duties with passion and maximum effort, your career path at WCDOC will be very fulfilling”.

At the ceremony, Captain Patti Bhola of the Department’s Training Academy, also detailed some of the unique correction officer training curriculum including implicit bias, secondary trauma, de-escalation of incidents, defensive tactics, crisis intervention and interaction with individuals suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. Prior to the close of the ceremony, she was joined by Training Unit Sergeants Paul Lindert and Robert Losco, who presented awards to members of the graduating class who distinguished themselves during the academy, including the best student, the best conditioned recruit and for leadership skills.

The Westchester County Department of Correction is considered a national leader in the space, recognized for its robust rehabilitation program system and accreditation certifications through the American Correctional Association, the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare and the Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

Correction Officers: 

Scott Adler

Ash Beaubert

Christian Beninati

Kevon Bennett

Gregory Boggio-Dandry

Santiago Bohorquez-Marin

Asia Brodie

Shaniquewa Brodie

Paul Camaj

Dewhyte Carr

Terrell Clark

Robert Conti

Najahnae Crafton

Justis Escoffery-Stephenson

Osagyefo Essoen

Nieka Fields

Elias Gonzalez

Isael Holguin

Malik Jones Bristow

Gary Kellogg

Marjan Lala

Michael Masterson

Marcus Mcgill

Arsenio Padilla

Brendon Rasulo

Aaron Robertson

Jermaine Robinson

Robbi Rogers

Stephany Villada

Michael Walker

Jabar Williams

Joy Williams

Waukeisha Wilson

Cristin Winte