All of us at the Arizona Department of Corrections are terribly saddened by the deaths of Sergeant John Ollis and Correctional Officer Skye Orozco Acosta.
Sergeant Ollis had been employed by the Department of Corrections since March of 2006, and had most recently served at the Arizona State Prison Complex - Lewis in Buckeye.
Corrections Officer II Orozco Acosta had only recently joined the Department of Corrections, having started in March of 2013. She was also posted at ASPC-Lewis.
These Corrections professionals served the people of Arizona well, and their loss is tragic. On behalf of the Arizona Department of Corrections, I extend my deepest sympathies to the loved ones and friends of Sergeant Ollis and Officer Orozco Acosta.
Charles L. Ryan
Veterans Day - November 11th - is an important day for all Americans.
Originally celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918, it became known as Veterans Day following an act of Congress in 1954 when it was deemed appropriate to honor all U.S. veterans.
But no matter what it is called, Veterans Day is vital to our democracy because it is important to recognize that our nation would not exist, and could not thrive, without the hard work and sacrifices of our armed forces and those who have served, both past and present.
I hope that you will join me and all the men and women of the Arizona Department of Corrections in giving honor to all U.S. veterans, not only on the special day dedicated to them, but every day in which we live under the banner of freedom they provide.
Charles L. Ryan
The State Employees Charitable Campaign (SECC) is now underway, and I want to thank in advance all of the Corrections staff and their families who are giving generously to help the less fortunate in the communities served by this Department.
This year, the SECC theme is "TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More". I'm confident that the thousands of dedicated Corrections employees statewide will rise to the occasion and demonstrate outstanding teamwork with charitable groups that meet the needs of hurting people throughout Arizona.
Participating in SECC is easy; simply go to www.azsecc.org and contribute. The drive continues through December 6th.
Charles L. Ryan
All of us in the First Responder community were affected by the deaths of 19 firefighters who were battling a wildfire near Yarnell earlier this year.
I'm very proud of our Corrections professionals who have helped ease the terrible burden the families of these brave men have faced since that tragedy occurred.
Recently the 100 Club, an organization dedicated to supporting the families of Firefighters and Law Enforcement when tragedy strikes, offered their thanks to Corrections staff who stepped up to help these families. I want to share that letter with you.
Charles L. Ryan
Every weekday, there are select inmates who work in our Arizona communities. They help keep highways clean, fight fires, and, in the case of ASPC-Yuma, assist in the operations of the Yuma Community Food Bank.
Recently, some of the inmates at the Yuma La Paz Unit took their assignment one positive step further.
From September 10th through October 11th, the members of the unit's Community Betterment Committee would send food collection bins through the unit twice a day to collect food from their fellow inmates. This food was destined for children in the surrounding communities.
On October 15th, inmates presented the Yuma Community Food Bank with 428 pounds of food items designated for the food bank's "Back Pack Program" that helps provide meals for school-aged children on the weekends when school meals are not available to them.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to the Association of Women Executives in Corrections as they held their Annual Conference in the Phoenix area. It was very gratifying to see the hundreds of hard-working professionals who have dedicated their lives to a career in corrections and to hear their stories about how and why they chose this rewarding line of work.
One of the lesser-known facts about the Arizona Department of Corrections is the depth of leadership we have among women. Of the ten prison complexes operated by the ADC, five are led by female wardens. And there are many women in Deputy Warden and other high level positions.
I want to thank Winslow Warden Berry Larson, Community Corrections Regional Manager Kathryn Brown, Douglas Warden Yolanda Elliot, Yuma Warden Laura Escapule, Perryville Warden Judy Frigo, and Tucson Warden Therese Schroeder for welcoming me to the conference and for their dedicated work for the Department of Corrections.