Alberto Cortes

Correction officers are often known as the forgotten cop. CO’s are known to walk the toughest beat armed only with keys and a radio and, in Connecticut, outnumbered 96 to 1.

In April 2020 nothing has changed. They continue to walk the toughest beat, outnumbered 96 to 1 with key’s and a radio.

In a time where we are dealing with a global pandemic, not much has changed for Connecticut Department of Correction front line staff. Many of these prisons are running business as usual, giving the inmate population recreation and phone calls but no social distancing, putting not only the staff at risk, but also the public.

I have heard stories of officers being given direct orders by their supervisors to remove PPE that they bought in from home, of officers transporting prisoners from prisons that have had COVID 19 exposures wearing masks made out of inmate uniforms.

The Department of Correction has made statements saying that they have provided PPE to staff members, but staff are saying otherwise. There is no consistency in providing staff with PPE and these forgotten heroes are afraid if they speak up they will be targeted.

Gov. Ned Lamont needs to get involved and investigate this reckless behavior. These forgotten heroes go into what is already a tough job during these uncertain times without the proper tools to do the job. These forgotten heroes are forced to sleep in their garages, basement and some in hotels to isolate themselves from their families because they don’t know what the have been exposed to at work. The  Department of Correction is supposed to protect the public, the staff and prison population. The CT DOC is supposed to protect the Forgotten Cop.

Do your job.

Al Cortes of West Hartford is a retired correction officer.

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