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Corrections Officers Get Advanced Training at Sergeant Academy

May 5, 2022

By Danielle Jimenez Communications Office

(Danielle Jimenez, Communications Office)

Department of Corrections sergeants from all over Washington state came to Cedar Creek Corrections Center (CCCC) April 11, 2022, for a weeklong Sergeant Academy to develop their skills as corrections sergeants, mentors, coaches and leaders.

“Sergeant academy is the basic knowledge of use of force, crime scene preservation, proper infraction writing and how to be a proper supervisor,” said Sgt. Angie Shoffner, a corrections sergeant from Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) who attended the training for her first time.

Sergeant Academy was created five years ago by Correctional staff, trainers and sergeants at Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) and Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC) . They came together to develop the training to close the gap that they were seeing with new sergeants’ performance on the job.

“We decided we would work on a Sergeant Academy and help to bring the sergeants to a higher level of training and then they could go back to their facilities and then train out from there,” said Sgt. Ron Poynter, a Sergeant Academy creator, instructor, and corrections sergeant at CRCC.

The Sergeant Academy is a hands-on learning environment — besides learning in the classroom, sergeants get training with scenarios that incorporate on-site supervisor duties and they are faced with emergencies such as a prison escape scenario based on one that happened at CCCC.

“Some of the topics that we covered here — on top of leadership, mentorship — have been Atlas, OMNI . . . assaults and fights, and PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) and all of the things that are important to us in our department,” Poynter said.

Shoffner said the training was invaluable to her.

“I will take back a big tool belt full of tools that I just gained within the last week,” Shoffner said. “It broadens our horizons; it broadens our knowledge. Yes, we are equipped with the knowledge from basic training, but you want to grow, so the Sergeant Academy is the way to go.”

There have been three Sergeant Academies, since being created and Poynter said they are looking to implement a lot more training in the future.

The next academy will be June 6-10 at WCCW. Sergeants and supervisors that wish themselves or their staff to attend should contact their Training Department to sign up.