POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati began the 2022 National Corrections Officers Week by recognizing several members of his officers that work in the Dutchess County Jail. The weeklong nationwide recognition taking place annually during the first week of May was established by President Ronald Reagan. “The important work of correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves,” Reagan said.
“The COVID pandemic placed an enormous burden on our staff at the jail and they went above and beyond to keep themselves and those entrusted in our care safe,” Imperati said on Monday. Imperati told of how one officer stepped up to accommodate virtual court appearances mandated by COVID while two other officers worked on the accreditation process through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association (NYSSA).
When the COVID pandemic forced the courts to close for a period and then re-open in a virtual format, Imperati recognized Corrections Officer Santia Elting who was tasked with scheduling all of the virtual court appearances for inmates and professional visits between attorneys and inmates. “She did an incredible job making everything run smooth.” Deputy Superintendent Beth Schinella praised Elting’s work, calling her “A one-woman crew that created a comprehensive schedule using the six six consultation rooms in the jail to schedule all virtual court appearances, medical exams, probation intakes, parole interviews, attorney-inmate interviews, maintained social-distancing policies, disinfected the rooms between visits and she did an amazing job.” Schinella pointed out that even all of Elting’s coworkers have praised the work she did to arrange all of the tasks and do it to the level that she did.
Lieutenant Kenneth Carroll and Corrections Officer Chion Scott, according to Imperati, “Did an outstanding job to get the jail’s accreditation renewed in light of extenuating circumstances including a substantial workforce shortage.” The sheriff noted that only 12 of the 62 county sheriffs in New York have an accrediation in road patrol, civil division, and corrections; Dutchess County is one of them. “We’re held to a higher standard as a result of the accreditation,” Imperati said.
The NYSSA Corrections Accreditation Manual details 166 standards that a county must meet or exceed in order to earn accreditation. Standards cover all aspects of corrections division operations, including personnel, uniform standards of procedure, division organization, recognition of employee performance, mission statement, fiscal management, maintenance of county-owned and non-county-owned property, records management, use of force, internal affairs, public relations, jail functions, and health standards.