This week is National Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week. We pause at this time each year to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and dedication of correctional professionals working in communities across the state. I truly appreciate the commitment and difference that you make each and every day working as corrections professionals. Community Corrections professionals diligently ensure that offenders receive services and guidance in making the transition from prison to a more stable, productive life in the communities they reside. I thank all of our Community Corrections personnel for their service to this agency and the state of Arizona.
Today, I was once again privileged to accompany correctional officers, representing our ten state complexes, to the Arizona State Capitol in order to meet Governor Doug Ducey as he proclaimed May 3-9, 2015 to be "Correctional Officers Week." This commemorative week is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our correctional professionals in communities across the state. I am proud of our officers, and grateful for the commitment and professionalism that is displayed by them every day.
Today marks the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week -- a time each year for us to recognize the importance of addressing the needs of crime victims. ADC’s Office of Victims Services, led by longtime victims’ rights advocate Jan Upchurch, carries out one of the department’s most important areas of responsibility. We’ve served more than 10,000 crime victims this past year, and – just as importantly – their families. These are people who have suffered because of the actions of a criminal. And I believe that it’s every bit as important for the state to address the needs of every victim, as it is to impose justice on the offenders. But the great work of this office is just a portion of the time and effort that ADC puts into addressing the rights of victims.
There was an item of good news to come out of the current legislative session that I wanted to share. SB 1186, a bill that authorizes the Fallen Correctional Employees Memorial, was passed unanimously by the Arizona Legislature and signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey. It’s a proud moment for the Department of Corrections and for me personally, because of the importance that we place on honoring and memorializing our fallen employees. There have been 11 ADC employees who have lost their lives in service to the state and its citizens. Not all have worn a uniform either, therefore not qualifying to be honored on existing memorials. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to visit ADC’s employee remembrance web page: https://corrections.az.gov/about/adc-history/adc-staff-killed-line-duty
There isn’t one among us in the law enforcement profession who doesn’t appreciate the risks that come with the job. And, sadly, we at the Department of Corrections have experienced the ultimate loss of a uniformed officer who falls in the line of duty. It’s important not only to remember those men and women who bravely served this state and its citizens, but to honor the family and friends who keep alive the memories of the fallen. Among the best ways to do that is the upcoming Arizona Fallen Officers Memorial Run, which is scheduled for 8 AM, Sunday, March 8th at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix.
Friday, January 9th is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in the U.S. ADC has an excellent relationship with our law enforcement colleagues in Arizona and throughout the nation. We collaborate with local, state and federal law enforcement as part of our public safety mission. It’s an important partnership and I’m proud to salute their efforts. On behalf of the Arizona Department of Corrections, I want to say thank you to all law enforcement personnel for your service.