C1 Stories: NY state of mind
While working at an all-male secure maximum facility upstate NY, I found it very difficult to find my place with the "right" crew of officers and find a way to gain respect from the inmates. These inmates were some of the toughest in the state of NY and were in for the most terrifying crimes ever committed.
I joined the Cert Team and shortly after there was a call for a response needed in the Commissary where a female civilian employee was working alone with 15 male inmates (all murderers). The inmates decided to take the civilian worker hostage, three of which had started a physical fight over who was going to watch over the civilian. The rest of the inmates had barricaded the doors with furniture and boxes of commissary items. None of us knew what to do to get the civilian out safely and quickly.
Looking at the layout, we figured there could be a team at each window and door; another team would have to crawl through the vents to assess the situation. All windows were covered with boxes and paper, the vents were covered with paper and clothing, there was no way any of us could see in. Luckily, there was one counselor that was willing to go in to negotiate and the inmates gladly took him.
While the counselor was negotiating with the inmates, we were preparing to knock in the metal doors from all sides and take over the commissary. After we came up with the plan, turned out, I was the first in after the doors were taken down. This was my first response and I was scared out of my mind.
The first few seconds were all a blur, I remembered feeling like my adrenaline was racing through my veins and I remember my heart beating so loud and fast, I thought someone would hear it.
We ran in to find the counselor tied up and beaten, blood everywhere and the civilian worker half naked, but not harmed. We were able to take down all 15 inmates with little damage to the commissary or ourselves. Inmates were all charged with kidnapping, attempted rape, assault and were placed in SHU for 12 months. Eventually, each inmate was transferred to different prisons, but it was my first big experience.
Since then, I've lost track of the responses I've been called to and the men I work with have become family.