Basic Correction Officers Course 243
Class Commencement address
Dallas County Sheriff’s Dept.
A young man who was also an avid golfer found himself with a few hours to spare one afternoon. He figured if he hurried and played very fast, he could get in nine holes before he had to head home. Just as he was about to tee off an old gentleman shuffled onto the tee and asked if he could accompany the young man as he was golfing alone. Not being able to say no, he allowed the old gent to join him.
To his surprise the old man played fairly quickly. He didn't hit the ball far, but plodded along consistently and didn't waste much time. Finally, they reached the 9th fairway and the young man found himself with a tough shot. There was a large pine tree right in front of his ball - and directly between his ball and the green.
After several minutes of debating how to hit the shot the old man finally said, "You know, when I was your age I'd hit the ball right over that tree."
With that challenge placed before him, the youngster swung hard, hit the ball up, right smack into the top of the tree trunk and it thudded back on the ground not a foot from where it had originally lay.
The old man offered one more comment, "Of course, when I was your age that pine tree was only three feet tall."
Perspective; the state of how things are, or how they appear from where you are. The old man golfer had two perspectives from which to draw on; the younger man had only one.
Today your perspective is that as graduates of Basic Corrections Officer Course Class 243. Congratulations are in order to you, for today is a day that gives you something else to be proud of. Hopefully you have a different perspective of your career than the first day you arrived. And perhaps that perspective has even changed since you graduated from the Academy.
They say the longest journey begins with a single step. You took that first step several months ago when you decided to join the ranks of the Sheriff’s Department and become a Detention Service Officer. Whatever your reasons and motivations, whatever perspectives you had - it has come down to this day…and this moment; to continue the steps that make up the rest of your journey. The challenges that brought you here, they’re behind you. But now there are new challenges that lie before you that will give you new and different perspectives.
As mentioned, most, if not all of you have already spent some time working in the jails. But this school, this course, is intended to teach you things you probably didn’t know, to enhance the things you’ve already learned; and to help eliminate any of the bad habits that you might have picked up inadvertently. Many different areas have been covered in your basic class including report writing, mental illness awareness, suicide prevention, defensive tactics, jail standards, use of force and life safety equipment. These new learned things have helped prepare you for your career as a detention officer and will be the foundation for any future training you receive. You have chosen an honorable profession, one that can’t be held by just anybody and should never be taken lightly. You should have a different perspective of your career than when you first arrived.
You literally have the lives of many people in your hands while you’re on the job. But you also have the opportunity to impact many people around you; both the inmates and your fellow officers. What you do and what you say will be the subject of your new DTOs. But as you pass through your training and become more knowledgeable, it will become easier for you.
And someday, as you’ve put some years behind you in Detentions, what you say and do will be heard by new officers who, like you, had just graduated from the Basic Corrections Officers Course. In the years ahead, they will listen to you, a veteran officer who now has an even better perspective. Whether you know it or not the “new boots” as we call them, will take what you say and do to heart because you ARE a veteran. It doesn’t matter if you’re a training officer or not, they will watch…and listen…and more than likely follow your lead. So as you take these new steps into your career, do so with pride and professionalism. Learn what you can when you can. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.
And after all is said and done, you can look back upon this time and know that you had the opportunity to do it to the best of your ability, to get it right from the beginning. That’s all we ask, that you do the best you can. If you do that, you’ll succeed in this profession you have chosen and know that the phrase is true; “Yes, you really can make a difference.”
Congratulations and welcome BACK, to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Detentions Bureau and a new perspective.