SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sadly, this year we have already had eight people murdered while performing their jobs inside prison walls. The two most recent tragedies are Sgt. Mary Ricard, murdered at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Colorado and, barely two weeks later, correctional officer Larry Stell, who was stabbed and murdered at Telfair State Prison in Georgia.
Three years ago, the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) created a National Honor Guard. Since its formation, the honor guard has been called upon to participate in various memorial ceremonies, across the country held to honor corrections professionals who lost their lives in the line of duty. Among the memorial ceremonies in which the CPOF National Honor Guard was present, solely or in addition to other honor guards, were services held for Washington state correctional officer Jayme Biendl, South Dakota correctional officer Ronald Johnson, Arkansas correctional Cpl. Barbara Ester, and Florida correctional Sgt. Ruben H. Thomas III.
In addition to line of duty deaths, many correctional staff are assaulted yearly. Founded in 1984, the Correctional Peace Officers’ (CPO) Foundation is a national charity for those in the corrections profession. Our primary goal is to be there to support the surviving families of correctional officers and staff that work in corrections who are killed or otherwise die in the line of duty.
The public, for the most part, is unaware of the dangers correctional officers face every day they report to work.
The CPO Foundation also has a large catastrophic assistance program. With contributions from over 80,000 supporting members and donations to the CPO Foundation through fund-raising Golf Tournaments such as the recent Supporters’ Golf Tournament held in Lake Tahoe, we are able to assist hundreds of correctional peace officers nationwide in times of need.
If you are reading about the foundation for the first time and know of a correctional officer needing a “Hand Up,” please contact CEO Charleene Corby at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Request for Assistance form.
To become a supporting member, visit www.cpof.org and locate your state. The minimum contribution for supporting membership is $5 a month.