SpanoRiderSmallAugust 14, 2018 – On what would have otherwise been a rainy weekend, 80 local law enforcement officers revved their engines Sunday at the start of a 46-mile ride for fallen colleagues.  Organized by the County’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association (WCOBA), the fourth annual Memorial Motorcycle Ride began in Croton-on-Hudson and ended at the gates of the Westchester County Department of Correction on the Grasslands campus. 

The motorcyclists and their passengers began the ride by passing under American flags extended from the ladders of firetrucks of the Montrose and Croton-on-Hudson Fire Departments.  The ride then passed through residential areas, farmlands and commercial areas of the County, covering 46 miles and ending at the staff entrance to the correctional facility. 

Each of the 46 miles of the ride represented a correction officer who passed away while still employed by the County.  The 46th mile of this year’s ride honored Correction Officer Kathleen Callicutt of Yonkers, who passed away in January at the age of 43.

Correction Officer Scott Delfa, the event organizer and a 29-year member of service, stated: “Correction officers’ life expectancies are significantly lower than the national average. By the nature of what we do, we are exposed to stressors and situations not common in other work environments. The primary concern of our union is always to ensure that our members have a wide array of support services available to address these challenges.  Today, we want to recognize those members who have passed before us.”

At the conclusion of the ride, the Jail’s Spiritual Care Director Father Paul Tolve conducted a remembrance ceremony and was assisted by riders in laying a wreath at the facility’s south gate.  In addition to Westchester, officers from seven other local police agencies, as well as the New York State Police and the MTA, participated in the event.  Proceeds have been dedicated to the installation of a garden of remembrance at the facility. 

Westchester Commissioner of Correction Joseph K. Spano stated: “As a former correction officer, a union president and in my current role, officer safety has always been one of my primary concerns.  Sadly, I’ve seen former colleagues succumb to the pressures of a very difficult chosen profession. The camaraderie and respect show by our brothers and sisters in law enforcement here today is truly remarkable, and serves to confirm the important role correction officers play in keeping our towns and cities safe.”

2019 will mark the fiftieth year of the Department of Correction’s creation as an independent agency (in 1969, it split off from the Office of the Sheriff and the County’s Department of Social Welfare).  WCOBA was formed in 1981 as a bargaining unit representing correction officers only, with a current membership of over 700. The County anticipates several events next year to recognize the history of the Department, the work of its members and the changes to correctional practices that have occurred since its inception.