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2005 Officer of the Year Selected
Kenneth E. Hatfield, an investigator with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Field Operations Administration (FOA) Region III Absconder Recovery Unit has been named 2005 Michigan Corrections Officer of the Year.
His selection was made by the State Standards Committee of the Michigan Correctional Officers' Training Council. He was chosen from nominees that came from every state prison, camp and community supervision region in the state.
Investigator Hatfield of DeWitt is a nine-year veteran of the corrections department. His absconder recovery unit is part of a regional MDOC team that covers 60 counties in the mid-Michigan area. Prior to becoming an investigator with the unit, he worked as a corrections officer and transportation officer in several correctional facilities where he also served as a member of the Emergency Response Team.
“Investigator Hatfield has been directly involved with the apprehension of some seriously assaultive felons including armed robbers, sex offenders and murderers,” said FOA Regional Administrator Noreen Sawatzki. “His outstanding investigative work has helped to make our cities and communities safer for us all.”
Hatfield plays an important role in a sweep operation held in conjunction with law enforcement agencies throughout mid-Michigan. The program rounds up absconders from parole and probation as well as other criminals and takes them off the streets.
In addition to their outstanding service to the department, candidates for the corrections officer honor are judged on the basis of their work ethic, MDOC policy compliance, communications skills and professionalism. Each must provide a positive role model and sound judgment in emergency situations.
The Officer of the Year was selected from among four other finalists; Thomas Greenhoe, Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility; Cheryl Masker, Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility; John Mayer, Carson City Correctional Facility and Mike Taylor, Marquette Branch Prison.
Corrections Officer Thomas R. Greenhoe, Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility, (ICF) joined the MDOC in 1987. C/O Greenhoe has served as a weapons instructor for the past 16 years. He is a certified transportation officer, firearms instructor and PA415 trainer. C/O Greenhoe has been lauded for his positive attitude and tremendous work ethic. He once entered a burning cell and pulled out an unconscious prisoner. In addition, he developed and implemented a user-friendly computer program that maintains training dates for every ICF employee. A valuable community member, C/O Greenhoe runs a 26-week youth roller hockey league and teaches hunter safety classes and a personal protection class for women.
Cheryl M. Masker is an Information Desk Officer at Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility. She has been with the department since 1993 and has been instrumental in the development of emergency guidelines for administration building porters. She has worked to streamline the visitation process for the facility during parole hearings and court proceedings. Lauded as a team player, C/O Masker goes the extra mile, often taking on additional responsibilities and volunteering to make sure the job is done. A strong proponent of the employee club, C/O Masker works to encourage unity in the workplace. She facilitates fund-raising projects for those in need and prevented a tragedy by saving the life of a local child who was being dragged under a vehicle. C/O Masker’s professionalism and positive image reflects well on the facility as well as the department as a whole. In the community, she coordinates food drives and mitten trees and works for the March of Dimes and Relay for Life.
Resident Unit Officer Mike Taylor, Marquette Branch Prison, is a 20-year veteran of the MDOC. He has served as the local chief union steward for the last 12 years. In addition, RUO Taylor is the recipient of two special commendations for actions taken in the line of duty. As a foster parent for the Marquette County Juvenile Court, RUO Taylor and his wife have helped to raise nine foster children over the last 10 years. He is active with Marquette Junior Hockey and is a USA and Michigan High School Athletic Association Hockey Referee and Official.
John Mayer, Resident Unit Officer, Carson City Correctional Facility, is responsible for the development and implementation of numerous procedures and practices of the current operations of the Carson City segregation unit. An officer since 1985, RUO Mayer has assisted many staff and inmates by taking control and diffusing potentially dangerous situations. RUO Mayer is known as a role model at his facility and in the community. He often encourages others to consider a corrections career. An active leader with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, he mentors and teaches at many recreation and sporting events. He has worked as a counselor for the handicapped youth during summer camp. His work with the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, a program designed to stabilize troubled youth as an alternative to incarceration, has influenced the lives of many youth within the community.
All the nominees for the Officer of the Year award will be honored at a banquet on May 4 in East Lansing.F.Y.I.