125th Corrections Officer Academy Graduation



The Jackson County Department of Corrections welcomed 16 new officers to its staff during a ceremony for the Training Academy’s 125th graduating class August 10.

Lieutenant Steve Owen addressed the graduates on behalf of the Department of Corrections and thanked them for having gone through the training.

“It’s been a long three weeks, some weekends and long hours. You guys have sacrificed a lot to be here and I appreciate it. Thank you guys for all of your work and all of your dedication. Likewise family and friends, thank you for sacrificing the time with your loved ones. Giving them to us, to work for us, for giving them the time to go through the training they are going through. These long hours, these weekends and all of the stress they have been going through to help provide better for you all,” he said.

Owen also stressed that the graduation was not the end of their journey. “This is the beginning of your time here in Jackson County Department of Corrections. We go through a lot. We go through promotions, join specific units, special teams, do special duties and I want you to see this as not the end of your journey by finishing training but as the beginning of your journey and a long fruitful career here at Jackson County.”

Presiding Judge John Torrence congratulated the class and thanked them on behalf of the court. He said they have a difficult job ahead of them.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’m not telling you something you don’t know. It’s tough right now. But I want to congratulate you and I want to commend you for your effort in getting to this stage. I commend you for your desire to do this difficult and challenging job. More than anything I commend your heart, your courage and your willingness to accept a difficult challenge.”

Torrence said, “Nobody in Kansas City and nobody in Jackson County has a harder job to do than you do. It makes me think of a quote from Winston Churchill, he said, ‘Things aren’t always right because they are hard, but if they are right you should not mind if they are also hard.’ So what you are doing is right. What you are doing is just. What you are doing is important. And you can do it because of those things but you should know going in it is hard and that is not going to change. But truly there is nobody in Kansas City who has a more important job to do than you do.”

FBI Special Agent Thomas Relford welcomed graduates to the law enforcement community. “When I say community I do mean community especially here in Kansas City where the law enforcement community is close knit and you are part of that now so welcome.”

Relford also commended them for completing their training and encouraged them to continue listening to training officers. “They will teach you and guide you through your new career. Keep in mind we all learn something new every day. Strive always to be learning and growing. What you learn in the first few months are the building blocks for a successful career.”

“It is also no easy task to decide to enter in this line of work, to enter into law enforcement in general. Thank you for doing a thankless job. Most people are aware of you but don’t think about the job that you do. But they expect you to do it with integrity, fairness and compassion,” he said. “I don’t have to tell you what a big responsibility you are taking on with this job. This is a serious profession and you will be held at very high standards. You will see people on their absolute worst days. It is understandable that some of you will become naturally jaded but with the help of your family and coworkers you will stay centered and work through that. You will be held at higher standards even when you are off duty. You won’t just be a neighbor, but that officer who lives down the street.”

“Remember how a person treats another person under their control says a lot about that person. The individuals that you will be in charge of have been charged and in some cases convicted of a crime. They do not enjoy the same rights as we do but they still have basic civil rights and you are charged with ensuring they are protected while they are in custody,” Relford said.

Deputy Chief Operating Officer Mark Trosen congratulated the graduates and welcomed guests on behalf of County Executive Frank White, Jr.

Trosen thanked family and friends of the graduates. “Your personal support cannot be under estimated. I also know that you are all very proud of what these graduates have accomplished.”

“I also suspect that you are a little worried about their new careers,” he said. “You need to understand that this county and the Department of Corrections’ first priority for the safety of our associates. I will not tell you that their new duties are not without danger. That would be untrue. Managing a jail is a very serious job. I can tell you however that everyone pulls together to help one another especially in times of problems. We are very fortunate to have director Diana Turner and her talented and experienced command staff who operate this jail on a daily basis.”

Trosen told graduates they are becoming members of a very large and professional organization. “You are also becoming a member of a department that strives for a work environment of openness, honesty, mutual respect and professionalism. If you feel proud today, that sense of pride will only be heightened as you move forward through your career. I use the word career and not job. A job is something you have to pay the bills but a career is something you invest your life in. A career is what being a corrections officer is all about.”

Each graduate received a certificate of completion, followed by a small reception with their families and guests.