Westchester Correction Officer Brooke Jones is running for 1st Vice President of the Westchester Corrections Officers Benevolent Association (COBA). If elected she will make history as not only the first African-American Female but the female to hold the position in the union for the Westchester Department of Corrections (WDOC).
While she won’t be the first female vice president in New York State, a quick google search shows she may be the first African-American Woman to hold the 1st Vice President Position. Keisha Williams, an African-American Woman is currently the 3rd Vice President of the New York City Department of Correction, but we couldn’t find any African-American Females serving or who have served as 1st Vice President in New York.
Brooke Jones began her career in Corrections in 1997, starting in Orange County, then doing the bulk of her career in Dutchess County. She was promoted to Sergeant and remained in Dutchess County until 2014, when she accepted the offer to work in Westchester County. She recently completed 6 years in the Westchester County Department of Corrections.
“I already bring a working knowledge of corrections as 1st Vice President,” Ms. Jones shares with Black Westchester. “In Dutchess County, I was an Instructor on General Topics and promoted to Sergeant. You might ask, why would I come to WDOC? Like most of you, for the money and benefits.”
As President of the Westchester Corrections Association (WCA) she has a good working relationship with County Executive George Latimer and many County Legislators. WCA advocates for equality, effective training, well-being, social status and uplifting the culture of Black/African-American Correction Officers, www.NABCJ.org is the organization in which WCA was created. She plans to bring that experience to represent and advocate for all her fellow officers.
One of her greatest accomplishment may have been advocating for Retired Officer Ricky Maxwell. In 2012 he was denied medical benefits after being medically retired on 207C because he had less than 5 years on the job. After numerous meetings with the county legislature, the county, and current administration, Ricky received his medical benefits in September 2019. Hence the clause being added to the existing contract pertaining to officers with less than five years.
“We need advocates like Brooke Jones in decision making positions in the union,” retired officers Maxwell shared with Black Westchester. “When the union didn’t support me, it was Brooke Jones who was there every step of the way and fought for the re-instatement of my medical benefits. Her advocacy is what we need more of in our union.”
That’s exactly why Brooke Jones says she is running to advocate for her fellow officers.
“I am not only running to be your 1st Vice President, I’m running to be your advocate,” Ms. Jones tells BW her message is to her fellow officers. “Not just in headquarters, but to those who make the ultimate decisions on our pay and benefits; the county elected officials.”
“As we all know, our department has been through herculean changes from battling COVID 19 to meeting DOJ standards, and now we are looking down another national accreditation,” Ms. Jones continues. “All this couldn’t happen without the hard work of the Correction Officers. We don’t need letters, we need compensation, and we need respect. With all of our accomplishments, we still make less than County PD? This must change! When elected, I promise you that I will advocate that strong voice for proper compensation. In a nutshell, the old way of doing things isn’t working. It’s time for something new. Don’t go for popularity; go for who is in the best position to get things done.”
Brooke Jones is someone who doesn’t just go with the program, isn’t afraid to say no and is willing to effect change with new ideas. Her advocating and community service will not change. She works for the officers. She serves the people.
“It can only get better. As your first female vice president, it will be my honor and duty to serve the membership,”
The election is December 10, 2020. 1st Vice Presidents serves for a term of three years.