The departure of Westchester County Department of Correction (WCDOC) 1st Deputy Louis Molina has cause quite a stir. While many we spoke with were excited for Mr. Molina’s new positions as Las Vegas Public Safety Chief, many were disappointed about the loss of a great person or color in a leadership position. Not only was he one of the highest ranking Latinos in Law Enforcement in the county he was an incredible person of conscious who brought in a lot of programs to the WCDOC.
Several things have been said on social media and earlier today we published a statement from Black and Latino Organizations regarding the resignation of Mr. Molina.
We received a statement from the County Executive George Latimer on the diversifying law enforcement, announcing the appointment of Ms. Nory Padilla as the new WCDOC 1st Deputy Commissioner.
To be as fair and balanced as possible, I share here the statement from CE Latimer so you the reader can hear from both sides and make up your own mind. Below is the statement in it’s entirety.
(White Plains, NY) – The Westchester County Department of Correction (WDOC) is proud to announce two new appointments to the jail’s leadership. Ms. Nory Padilla, a veteran of the WDOC, will be taking on the role of First Deputy Commissioner. Additionally, Reverend Michael B. Gerald will be joining WDOC as Deputy Commissioner.
County Executive George Latimer said: “Westchester County is committed to finding the best candidates with the right life experience to staff our law enforcement entities. These two hires will advance our dual goals of keeping the public safe and modernizing our force.”
Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Spano said: “The combined experience and skills that Nory and Michael bring with them to their new positions will certainly benefit many aspects of WDOC operations and contribute to our reputation as a national leader in the corrections space. We are excited to have them join our leadership team.”
Ms. Padilla said: “I am proud to join the leadership at the WDOC. Under Commissioner Spano, the Jail has become a national leader with the implementation of numerous programs aimed to advance the lives of our residents – providing the opportunity to better oneself now and for the future. I look forward to continuing these efforts in this new position.”
Gerald said: “The WDOC prides itself on the opportunities it provides. Our nationally recognized facility will only continue to improve upon this already stellar record – and I am honored to call on my career experience in law enforcement and join the leadership team making these efforts a reality. ”
Ms. Nory Padilla has worked at WDOC for approximately twenty years, most recently serving as Director of Program Development from 2008 where she had direct supervision over program staff, community agencies and volunteers. During her tenure with WDOC, Padilla’s work and contributions has directly impacted hundreds of residents while in our custody and upon return to their communities. The solid partnerships she helped established with community resources over the years continues to be a critical component of our successful reentry process. As part of her work and life experience Padilla is a certified psychotherapist and adjunct instructor.
As the Chairperson for the newly created Corrections Advisory Board for the past two years Rev. Michael B. Gerald is someone who is familiar with many aspects of WDOC operations. During that period he convened monthly meetings that covered a variety of topics including the structure of the WDOC workforce, use of force reporting, capital projects, resident statistical data, rehabilitation programs and services, Coronavirus pandemic updates, and WDOC unique custodial and healthcare national certifications.
As part of his professional experience Gerald served as Director of Ministerial Services for the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in Rensselaer, New York. As an administrator, he was responsible for overseeing all religious and faith programs for the OCFS Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth. He also served as Senior Director of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office in Trenton, New Jersey where one of his primary functions was Command Staff Administrator for 115 sworn employees. Additionally, Gerald worked fourteen years as a New Jersey State Trooper where he achieved the rank of Sergeant and worked in a number of specialized units. As part of his work and life experience Gerald is the Senior Minister for the Shiloh Baptist Church in Eastchester.
Deputy Commissioner Leandro Diaz will remain in his leadership position at the jail, rounding out a diverse leadership team at WDOC. Diaz has worked at WDOC for 31 years, holding all sworn ranks and currently overseeing day to day facility operations, including medical services, special needs populations and overseeing key units including Bookings & Admissions and Special Investigations. Under Diaz, WDOC became the first facility in New York State to receive federal PREA pre-certification.
Latimer concluded: “Our Administration has provided greater diversity in the leadership of the County Correction Department than ever before in County history. Our commitment continues into the future.”
These two leadership positions are more proof of the commitment to enhancing the level of services and diversity of input at the WDOC facility – a facility which is already nationally recognized. If you think you have fresh ideas and skills that would further enhance services at WDOC please monitor employment opportunities on the County’s Human Resource Department website at: https://humanresources.westchestergov.com/
Above I have include links to other articles mentioned so you can check them all out if you are not familiar with them. As with many other topics we tackle, opinions will vary, so again we try to present both sides when possible. We encourage and welcome your feedback in the comment section below.