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Letter to the Editor: The Forgotten Cop 2020

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To the Editor:

Correction officers are often known as the forgotten cop. CO’s are known to walk the toughest beat armed only with keys and a radio and in Connecticut outnumbered 96 to 1. In April 2020 nothing has changed they continue to walk the toughest beat, outnumbered 96 to 1 with keys and a radio.

In a time where we are dealing with a global pandemic not much has changed for Connecticut Department of Corrections frontline staff. Many of these prisons are running business as usual giving the inmate population recreation and phone calls but no social distancing, putting not only the staff at risk, but also the public.

I have heard stories of officers being given direct orders by their supervisors to remove PPE that they bought in from home, officers transporting prisoners from prisons that have had COVID-19 exposures wearing masks made out of inmate uniforms.

The Connecticut Department of Corrections has made statements saying that they have provided PPE to staff members but staff are saying otherwise. There is no consistency in providing staff with PPE and these Forgotten Heroes are afraid if they speak up they will be targeted.

Governor Lamont needs to get involved and investigate this reckless behavior. These Forgotten Heroes go into what is already a tough job during these uncertain times without the proper tools to do the job. These Forgotten Heroes are forced to sleep in their garages, basements, and some in hotels to isolate themselves from their families because they don’t know what the have been exposed to at work.

The Connecticut Department of Corrections is supposed to protect the public, the staff, and prison population. The CT DOC is supposed to protect The Forgotten Cop … Do your job.

Al Cortes
West Hartford, CT

Editor’s Note: Al Cortes is a former corrections officer with the state Department of Corrections. He is seeking the Republican nomination for the 20th State House District.

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