Westchester County — Retired Westchester County Correction Officer Rickey Maxwell, sat down with Black Westchester in an one-on-one interview to talk about getting hurt on the job in the line of duty in 2011, but because he had less than four-years on the job at the time of his injury, Westchester County Department of Corrections (WCDOC) denied him healthcare benefits. After over five years of unsuccessfully going through the proper channels, with no real assistance from the union, Officer Maxwell decided to break his silence in an exclusive interview with BW.
Did you know each year over 33,000 Correctional Officers are assaulted. Yet over 20 percent of the officers assaulted required medical attention. Nationally only 10.9 percent of the assaults are actually prosecuted and according to PrisonOfficer.org, a correction officer will be assaulted at least twice in a 20-year career.
In Westchester County alone, Correction Officer operates housing units with up to 60 inmates by him/herself, no weapon, no nightstick, no radio, just a body alarm. Due to budget restraints, Correction Management found it more feasible to build dormitories and have decreased the power of the officer to lock an inmate in his cell, for the safety and security of the facility.
Correction Officers of Westchester County has recently seen a wave of assaults on their officers. There are many who have been hospitalized and are facing surgery. The safety of the facility is a very serious issue. Where is the outcry from the union leaders to address this? With continued post cuts and more violent gang members being incarcerated, if there is no proactive stance by summertime, it can only get worse.
How loud would the public outcry be if only one in 10 assaults on our city streets, where the assailant was clearly identified, were prosecuted? What would morale be like in our police departments if only one in 10 assaults of our cops were prosecuted? What would our communities be like if the criminal element knew they had only a one in ten chance of being prosecuted, even if we knew who they were and could prove they committed the assault?
Why hasn’t it been an all out assault of information on the dangers, correction officers face on a daily basis? Why hasn’t there been a statement from COBA, the union’s office? The media has been allowed to discuss issues like how much correction officers make (without any rebuttal), but never reporting the actual dangers that correction officers face.
The case of Officer Maxwell is a prime example of the county’s failed responsibility to protect Correction Officers and their families. At any given day an officer with less than 4-years can get hurt doing their job, and the county can retire them without any healthcare.
Check out BW’s exclusive one-on-one interview with Officer Maxwell, and feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below.