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Right or wrong: Supervisor doesn’t write up officer for security breach

The officer left his post unsecured in order to assist another officer being attacked by an inmate


This corrections training scenario reviews whether an officer should be disciplined for a security breach.

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

By Anthony Gangi

Officer John Smith is a unit officer. He works in a dorm setting that requires frequent tours. Before Smith does his tour, he must first wait for another officer to enter his area; Smith will then hand over his keys (for security reasons), and then enter the dorm. Once Smith enters the dorm, the second officer will then secure the dorm, locking Smith in.

Today, as Smith tours the dorm, an inmate is out of his bed area. As Smith approaches the inmate to order him back to his bed area, the inmate becomes hostile and attacks Smith. This all occurs in direct view, and only a few feet away, of the second officer who now has the keys to enter the dorm and aid the officer in need.

Even though a code has been called, the second officer, feeling that he has to act immediately, enters the dorm and aids the officer in need. The response team comes, led by a supervisor, and is able to get directly into the affected area, maintain control and save the officer.

As they are writing their reports, the supervisor realizes he has an issue. The second officer, who assisted Smith, was in violation of policy and procedure. When that officer went to assist Smith, he jeopardized the safety and security of not just the unit, but the prison.

Even though the supervisor knows what the second officer did was wrong, he knows why he did it and decides not to write up the officer. Again, the supervisor is aware that what the second officer did was a direct violation of policy and procedure and could have seriously jeopardized the security of the prison as a whole.

Do you think the supervisor was correct in doing so, or should the officer have been disciplined?

This article, originally published 09/04/2015, has been updated.

These training scenarios are intended to draw the reader into the discussion and create a repository of differing viewpoints on a single subject. These scenarios are intended for training purposes only. Though the scenarios are drawn from real-world incidents, no one scenario talks about a specific person or place. If you have questions or ideas for a training scenario, email