Ohio corrections officer gets national award

Tyler Viernes was chosen unanimously by the American Jail Association for the award

Bonnie Meibers
Dayton Daily News, Ohio

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio — A Montgomery County corrections officer was awarded the 2019 Correctional Officer of the Year award.

Tyler Viernes was chosen unanimously by the American Jail Association for the award, Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said.

“He is just the representative of what a corrections officer should be,” Streck said. “He is compassionate, he’s caring.”

Streck said it was not uncommon in 2016 and 2017 for an inmate to overdose in the jail because of drugs taken before they were booked. This leads to further suffering, Streck said, when inmates suffer from the effects of withdrawals.

“Everybody is going through a different crisis, whether its their first time in jail or multiple times in jail, going through drug overdose or relapsing off drugs,” Viernes said. “We’re not there to make their lives difficult in any way, shape or form. We’re there to assist them through their time.”

Viernes was a huge asset in this critical time, Streck said.

“Montgomery County got hit pretty hard with the opiate crisis,” Streck said. “That crisis hit our jail hard.”

Viernes has worked at the county jail since 2012. He has worked “every aspect” from booking to release in the jail, according to Streck.

“He has always treated our visitors, our inmates, other staff members in a purely professional manner,” Streck said.

Streck outlined several instances in which Viernes saved the lives of inmates, including an incident in which an inmate overdosed shortly after arriving at the jail and several suicide attempts.

“My primary goal is for care,” Viernes said. “I’ll do everything I can to better assist them to make it to the point where they shouldn’t have to come back to jail.”

©2019 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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