Oct 21, 2019
Welcome back to another episode of Tactical Living by LEO Warriors. I'm your host, Ashlie Walton.
And I'm your co-host Clint Walton.
In today's episode, we're going to talk about how different it is to police in the prisons versing versus policing on the streets. So just sit back, relax and enjoy today's content. Clint, you worked in the prison for many years before you became a police officer and not in the sense that many might think. I say that because typically, an officer will be required to work in the prisons before they're released out to work on the streets. But for you, you were a correctional officer, went through the academy and then decided you wanted to become a police officer. So you went through a different academy and then became a police officer.
I wonder if you could just take the listener through a little bit of your experience working in the prisons
When working in the prisons, it taught me a lot that I still use to this day for what I do and how I communicate with people. Treating people as one. Within the prison systems, I was surrounded by 360 inmates in my building every day. These are all convicted felons who are actually serving prison sentences and not just a minor jail sentence. Anywhere from life sentence people to people who just had a few years and in. Working in the prisons, our main goal was to make sure that they stayed within the prison walls.
So to speak, to babysit.
Exactly. I laugh when I say that because that is the primary
function of a prison guard. Now you deter riots and fights. You
count the inmates every so often throughout the day and then you
make sure everything is structured in a way to where they get their
meals, they get their TV time, they get their routine underway. A
sense of normalcy.
There are officers who like to really challenge the aspect of being a prisoner when it comes to searching cells all the time. Searching bunks all the time. Whatever it may be within that prison system. But as an actual officer, you don't have any peace officer authorities outside of that prison. When you're there, you are the authority and that's kind of the biggest difference that I found transitioning out into the police department from corrections.
I know when you and I had first started talking, you were at the academy to become a correctional officer. Incidentally, the Monday after we were married, you started the academy to become a police officer. What was the main difference between the two?
I was a high paid babysitter at the prison and not trying to demean the job for anybody out there who's a prison guard.
What about just the academy? Did you see any differences?
In the academy? Oh, absolutely. The police officer academy was probably 200% harder than the corrections academy and I'm not talking scholastically. I'd never had a problem throughout either academy when it came to studying or learning and how to do things the way that they were teaching us. But I would say physically demanding. Also, the homework that had to go on every day after the police academy compared to the corrections academy. When we were done at the corrections academy, we were done for the night. We could go out to dinner, hang out. Um, it was an academy in Northern California and I had to stay there for the four months during that whole time. And the police academy for where I work now was six months, but it wasn't live-in. I got to go home every day and see you and get to really have life without having a life.
But the corrections academy had its own challenges and its own way of just learning the Title 15 Code book…Which is not comparable to where the Penal Code or the Vehicle Code is. But there's still a lot of ins and outs you have to learn. Especially the liability aspect behind everything.
Clint, you've come from a family of correctional officers. You were the first and only to stray away from that. How do you feel in retrospect having made that decision? Especially getting away from the family ties, so to speak.
You know, out of generations of living it pretty much…That's what I grew up doing was living as a correction office’s son. That's what I was always exposed to. Coming out of that, I really feel like it was one of the best decisions I've ever made because it wasn't for me. I couldn't stay stagnant and that's what was hard for me working in the prisons was working at the same place day in, day out. Having that routine, doing the counts at a certain time, feeding these inmates and the sense of entitlement. Having to deal with them there as well.
Something funny happens when an individual works their way up
through the ranks so to speak. And I say that because you were a
correctional officer for several years and then you decided to make
the change and you became a police officer and because of how
daunting and difficult the two are in comparison, police being the
one much more difficult than a correctional officer. You and I will
often see correctional officers wearing their jumper suits or their
uniforms just getting gas and almost showing off and doing it
deliberately. We often make fun of them and no doubt they hold a
purpose. We know that you were a correctional officer.
I used to be the one wearing my jumpsuit to the gas station but I think there's other reasons for me doing it as well.
So in looking back, and we don't need to get into the details about what police officers do versus what correctional officers do, but what are the key elements for you when it comes to your responsibility as it pertains to upholding the law as a police officer versus your limitations as a correction officer?
As a correctional officer, the only laws we would ever put into fact were if something were to happen within the prison. If it was a fight or a homicide or whatever it may have been. That's when we affected the laws. Other than that, we didn't do anything of the such the whole time I was there. I never had to go to court and I'm not saying that's not possible, but I never did. As a police officer, every day I'm arresting people for new offenses where the prisoners have already committed those offenses and are just serving their time until they are released.
What would you say the biggest differences working under a warden versus working under a police chief?
I spoke to the warden once in my entire career as a correctional officer and that was the day that I gave him my two week resignation. Yeah, and that was the only time I ever saw him or spoke to him. Where I'm at now, I see my police chief almost on a daily basis. One, because we kind of work the same schedule, but I'm in an environment where we work hand in hand in a lot of occasions because of his involvement with the community. Also, what he sees as the vision for our department. He gets more involved in reference to it.
Do you think that's pretty typical for the warden to not have that much interaction with the correctional officers in the prison?
I really don't know. I can't recall my brother or my dad or my grandpa ever having conversations with the warden. My Dad maybe more so because he was the vice president of their chapter of the Union. But other than that, I don't think it is a common thing. The wardens are on such a higher level when it comes to that. Most of the time they spend a lot of it up in Sacramento at our government's headquarters.
Yeah, that makes sense. And I would understand why those dynamics would exist and that disconnect in that would only be for the ability of being able to come back and then really serve the prison that they're in charge of.
Yeah. It's something where they're always having to figure out, dial in on the problems as a state, as a whole instead of just for their facility.
It's really important to point out that I don't believe that everybody who is a correctional officer can make that transition into being a police officer. And I say that because we've experienced that firsthand with your dad, your Grandpa, your uncle, your brother. Like, there are so many people that we know that have never made that change and that's not to discredit them in any regard. It's just merely that there is a huge difference between those two professions. And I know a lot of people mistakenly don't understand the difference between the two. And it's important to point out that each hold such a different space in what they're doing in order to serve the public, to serve the community. And there's nothing wrong or right about either one. And having that confidence to be able to know which one, if either of the two, you're willing to put forth your life on the line for.
Because essentially, that's the truth. When you come down to the bottom line of things, then you're really able to understand how important it is to have every piece of the puzzle. And it doesn't matter which piece you fall into and it's okay. And I love that you've experienced both sides of that because it allows us to see what that difference is and it gives you that sense of appreciation for both job positions. There are two completely different jobs all together. I think having that understanding in knowing that and really being able to dive into the dynamics and utilize the skills that you've acquired from having corrections in the first place, then you're really able to enjoy your Tactical Living.
Balance. Optimize. Tactics.
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