Press Release

Press Release  27th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Massachusetts Department of Correction
  • Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association

Media Contact   for 27th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

Timothy McGuirk, Communications

CE of the Year

WorcesterYesterday, in a ceremony at Mechanics Hall, the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPSS) and Security, the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), and Massachusetts Sherriff’s Association convened the Commonwealth’s state and county correctional community to confer the Correctional Employee of the Year Awards. The ceremony honored more than 50 correctional professionals for exceptional performance and public service.

“Today, we honor and celebrate the correctional professionals who use their training and experience to facilitate the lasting rehabilitation of people entrusted to their care,” Governor Maura Healey said. “This year’s recipients exemplify the values of dedication and compassion that correctional teams bring to every shift. We thank them for their exemplary public service.”

“Each of this year’s recipient stories illustrate the ways in which hard working women and men use their training and expertise to make a difference – both in their facilities and in the community,” Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll said. “I commend the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Department of Correction, and the Sheriff’s Association for convening this important gathering and raising awareness of the rehabilitative mission of corrections in our state.”

“The Correctional Employee of the Year Awards provides an important opportunity to honor the courage and kindness of correctional officers and staff that so often occurs away from public view and without the public recognition it deserves,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said. “Massachusetts communities rely on correctional professionals for their meaningful contributions to public safety, victim services, and the successful reentry of those entrusted to their care.”  

Yesterday’s ceremony conferred three distinct awards: Meritorious Recognition, Medal of Valor, and Medal of Honor. Meritorious Recognition recognizes an employee who acted beyond the requirements of their position. The second highest honor, Medal of Valor, honors an employee who put themselves at risk of retaining injury to protect others. Last, individuals receiving the Medal of Honor, the highest award, knowingly risked their lives to save another.

Additionally, the Selection Committee conferred special recognition on retired DOC Commissioner Carol Mici. Mici concluded more than 36 years of state service in March 2023, including more than 5 years as Commissioner. During her tenure, the DOC implemented meaningful reforms in corrections policy, expanded the DOC’s rehabilitative mission, fulfilled a commitment to improve relations with policymakers, and advanced numerous major initiatives to enhance operational efficiency. Her achievements have become a source of tremendous inspiration for her peers, especially women. The Selection Committee recognized her to inspire others to embrace a career in public safety.

“The dedication, compassion, and commitment displayed by our Correctional professionals every day is the reason why Massachusetts is a leader in this field,” Interim Commissioner Shawn Jenkins said. “Much of our work is inside our facilities that cannot be seen by the public, but our innovative work directly improves safety within all of our communities. We honor and appreciate the extraordinary actions of the individuals who were being celebrated.”

“Our correctional professionals are unsung heroes who embody the highest standards of compassion, professionalism and respect. The best of them never hesitate to jump into action, whether on or off-duty, to help where there is a need and to improve and save lives,” Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association said. “Day in and day out, they commit themselves to a challenging and vital mission, to make a difference both in our communities and in the lives of the justice-involved individuals entrusted to our care. We recognize and applaud these exceptional individuals who exemplify the very best in the field.”

The awards are as follows:

Meritorious Recognition

Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Joseph R. Gorgone
Deputy Robert J. Maxwell

In July 2023, Deputies Joseph Gorgone and Robert Maxwell were traveling to the Orleans District Courthouse with an incarcerated individual as part of a transportation mission. During the journey, they started to hear unusual noises coming from the back of the van.

After investigating, they discovered the incarcerated individual was attempting self-harm by tying a piece of his shirt around his neck. The pair worked together to remove the shirt and prevent the person from continuing to hurt themselves. Their quick-thinking actions prevented significant harm and saved the person’s life.

For their courageous and decisive response, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Deputy Joseph Gorgone and Deputy Robert Maxwell of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Kimberly A. Haberl

In July 2023, an unstable incarcerated woman ran from her cell and ascended the unit stairs. Recognizing the potential danger, Deputy Kimberly Haberl ordered the woman to stop, but she continued up the stairs. During her pursuit, Deputy Haberl recognized that the woman intended to harm herself by jumping from the top tier. Thankfully, Haberl reached the women, grabbed her arm despite significant resistance, and prevented the potentially fatal fall.

Deputy Haberl used her training and expertise to de-escalate a dangerous situation and restore order. Her actions that day averted serious injury to everyone living and working in the unit.

For her professionalism, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Deputy Kimberly Haberl of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy David A. Joseph

In August 2023, Deputy David Joseph was spending time with his family at home when he heard a disturbance next door. Rushing to his neighbor's backyard, he discovered an 87-year-old man in distress, his face turning purple due to lack of oxygen. Using his CPR and first responder training, Deputy Joseph started chest compressions and directed a family member to administer life-saving breaths. After seven minutes, they successfully restored the man's pulse shortly before EMS arrived to assume the duty of care.

Although the man passed away the following day, Deputy Joseph's swift intervention provided an invaluable opportunity for the man to receive care and for his loved ones to say goodbye. Deputy Joseph’s actions while off-duty illustrate the skill and poise of correctional officers to render lifesaving aid wherever called upon to do so. 

For the aid he rendered to his neighbors in their hour of need, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Deputy David Joseph of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.

Bristol County Sheriff’s Office

Bristol County Sheriff's Office Security Staff
Plymouth County Sheriff's Office TRT Team
Barnstable County Sheriff's Office TRT/SRT Team
Norfolk County Sheriff's Office TRT/SRT Team
Hampden County Sheriff's Office TRT/SRT Team
Suffolk County Sheriff's Office TRT/SRT & K9 Teams
Massachusetts Department of Correction TRT/SRT & HRT Team

During the week of April 17, 2023, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office observed an elevated suicide risk among the individuals entrusted to their care. The team designed and implemented a responsive safety plan to significantly restructure of its housing units. The plan would relocate individuals based on security levels and housing requirements.

On Friday of the week, incarcerated individuals in one unit protested the transition from an open-door unit to a locking-door unit, and initiated a standoff with staff. Despite several attempts to de-escalate and end the protest, the standoff intensified. Protesters damaged property, set fires, and posed a significant threat to themselves and others. Out of an abundance of caution, the facility was evacuated with the assistance of several peer agencies, including: the Department of Correction, Barnstable, Hampden, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk County Sheriffs.

With the facility clear, the joint specialized response team breached the unit and ended the disturbance without injury to protesters or correctional personnel. They secured the scene, prepared protesters for safe transportation, confiscated contraband. The professionalism and shared vision of commanders and responding officers culminated in a successful operation.

For their coordinated action in the face of danger, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition of member of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Security Staff, and partner response teams from the Department of Correction, Barnstable, Hampden, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Offices.

Correction Officer David Nadeau
Correction Officer Jeffrey Torres

In December 2023, Correction Officers David Nadeau and Jeffrey Torres, stationed in a transport van at the Ash Street Jail, noticed a commotion across the street at a private residence. They discovered an individual receiving CPR who appeared to be suffering from a drug overdose. Using their training and expertise, the pair administered Narcan to revive the person in crisis.

After receiving the dose, the person’s breathing and color improved, and they became alert and responsive to engage EMS. The officer’s proactive intervention exemplifies the commitment of every correctional professional to help a person in need.

For their actions to deploy lifesaving treatment to a neighbor in their hour of need, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Correction Officer David Nadeau and Correctios Officer Jeffrey Torres of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

Correction Officer Melanie Barbosa

On the way home from her shift, Correction Officer Melanie Barbosa encountered a person in need of urgent medical assistance on Route 195 in New Bedford. Recognizing that the person in distress was unresponsive and not breathing, Barbosa maintained her composure, called for EMS, and initiated chest compressions. Her life saving care allowed the patient to reach the hospital and survive the ordeal.

For her actions to deploy lifesaving treatment to a neighbor in their hour of need, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Correction Officer Melanie Barbosa of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

Essex County Sheriff’s Office

K9 Sergeant Leonardo F. Jorge

In July 2023, the Haverhill Police Department requested assistance in locating a missing individual with suicidal thoughts. Sergeant Leonardo Jorge and his K9 partner, Drago, responded as part of a multi-agency team. Working alongside the State Police, Haverhill Police, and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Jorge and Drago conducted a search in a wooded area with a large body of water. 

During the search, Jorge and Drago found the missing person near the water's edge. The individual was armed with a machete-style knife and attempted to flee into the water. While Jorge and other officers secured the weapon, the man evaded immediate capture and entered the water.

Although the man did not speak English well, Jorge engaged him in Spanish over the course of a two-hour dialogue. Jorge used his training and expertise to patiently established rapport and persuade the man to come ashore and receive care.

Sergeant Jorge’s quick thinking in the moment illustrates the ability of correctional professionals to adapt and respond to the needs of people in crisis. His ability to use his language skills transformed a dangerous situation into a moment of personal encounter.

For his ability to de-escalate and achieve a peaceful resolution to a dangerous operation, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on K9 Sergeant Leonardo Jorge of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator Jonathan Campbell
Lieutenant Alex Wilson
Sergeant Patrick Wallace
Sergeant Jared Valeri
Officer Derek DePietro
Officer William Glidden
Officer Jose Quinones

In January 2023, Officer Derek DePietro responded to a call from an incarcerated individual reporting a loud noise from a neighboring cell. Upon investigation, DePietro discovered an individual bleeding profusely from a severe self-inflicted injury. Officer DePietro called for medical assistance and opened the cell door.

Faced with an active blead, the responding officers identified a severe cut on the individual’s left hand and applied a tourniquet from a medical kit to stop the bleeding. They subsequently applied pressure, stabilized the person, and arranged transportation to the hospital.

For their ability to address a significant blead and administer lifesaving first aid, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Investigator Campbell, Lieutenant Wilson, Sergeant Wallace, Sergeant Valeri, Officer DePietro, Officer Glidden, and Officer Quinones of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Sergeant Mark Duquette
Wellpath Nurse Elena Shevtsova
Sergeant Isaac Mercer
Wellpath Nurse Nicole Newman
Officer Anthony Lopez-Sanchez
Wellpath Nurse David McAuliffe
Officer Kayli Kotchian
Officer Mark Csogi
Officer Michael Palm

In November 2023, Officers responded to a distress call from a cellmate about their peer. Officers initiated a response as the individual was unresponsive, without a pulse or breathing. The team deployed an AED, administered multiple doses of Narcan, and continued performing CPR.

When Middlton Fire later arrived on scene to assume care of the person, the team had performed 29 rounds of CPR, 2 AED shocks, and 3 doses of Narcan. Their efforts allowed the person to receive additional care in the hospital and survive.

For their ability to administer lifesaving first aid, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Sergeant Duquette, Wellpath Nurse Shevtsova, Sergeant Mercer, Wellpath Nurse Newman, Officer Lopez-Sanchez, Wellpath Nurse McAuliffe, Officer Kotchian, Officer Csogi, Officer Palm, and Officer Faessler of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Hampden County Sheriff’s Office

Corporal Meghan Hayward
Officer Ben Perrier
Nurse Maxine Meckling
Captain Michael Vancini
Sergeant La'Neil Brown

In October 2023, an incarcerated individual was found unresponsive, prompting a swift response. The team assessed the situation and determined the need for Narcan and rescue breathing. Despite initial resistance to both lifesaving measures, the individual eventually regained consciousness and stabilized. Nursing and correctional staff monitored the individual until EMS arrived. Thanks to the immediate response and life-saving measures of the staff, the serious medical emergency was averted.

For their ability to address a significant blead and administer lifesaving first aid, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Corporal Meghan Hayward, Officer Ben Perrier, Nurse Maxine Meckling, Captain Michael Vancini, and Sergeant La'Neil Brown of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office.

Nurse Moria Barrows
Nurse Ryanne Fournier
Sergeant Marcus Edmonds
Sergeant La'Neil Brown

In June 2023, correctional and medical staff responded to an individual who was nonresponsive. The team assessed the individual, deployed Narcan, and initiated rescue breathing. After multiple doses of Narcan and continuous vital sign checks, the individual regained consciousness and began breathing independently.

For their immediate response and life-saving efforts, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Nurse Moria Barrows, Nurse Ryanne Fournier, Sergeant Marcus Edmonds, and Sergeant La'Neil Brown of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office.

Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Jonathan J. Manolakis
Officer Brian C. Collins
Sergeant Chris S. DeBeaucourt
Case Manager Corey T. Decker
Assistant Deputy Superintendent II Justin J Fagan
Assistant Deputy Superintendent II Richard Vivier Jr.

In June 2023, shortly into a typical day shift, a corrections officer went into sudden cardiac arrest. Responding officers jumped into action and assisted their colleague to the floor.

Using their first aid training, they checked for a pulse and chest rise and found neither. Officers  immediately began performing CPR and radioed for additional assistance. As they relayed critical information to the Billerica Fire Department about their colleague, the team chose to regularly rotate who actively performed CPR to ensure effectiveness. The team also retrieved and deployed an AED. Together, these measures restored the heart rhythm of the officer in crisis. He was safely transported to a hospital setting, where he spent several days of recovery before returning home.

For their efforts to save the life of a fellow officer, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Officer Jonathan J. Manolakis, Officer Brian C. Collins, Sergeant Chris S. DeBeaucourt, Case Manager Corey T. Decker, Assistant Deputy Superintendent II Justin J Fagan, and Assistant Deputy Superintendent II Richard Vivier Jr. of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.

Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office

Lieutenant Scott Kettell
Sargeant Wayne Chapman
Officer Andrew Treannie
Nurse Rosemary Margolis

In November 2023, an incarcerated individual alerted staff about his cellmate's medical crisis. Upon finding the individual unresponsive, correctional staff immediately initiated CPR after confirming the absence of a pulse. The team subsequently provided breathing assistance and administered several rounds of Narcan. After the fourth cycle of CPR, the team detected a pulse, and the individual began regaining consciousness. EMS arrived and took the individual to the hospital.

For their swift response and coordinated efforts to save the life of a person entrusted to their care, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Lieutenant Scott Kettell, Sargeant Wayne Chapman, Officer Andrew Treannie, and Nurse Rosemary Margolis of the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office

Lieutenant Joshua King
Transportation Officer Michael Dern

In December 2023, Transportation Officer Michael Dern discovered an unresponsive "SafeKeep" individual in his assigned booking cell and called for assistance. Lieutenant Joshua King responded to the scene and promptly administered Narcan.

Despite this initial effort, the individual continued to display shallow breathing and a weakening pulse as their condition deteriorated. They also showed signs of a possible seizure. King and Dern continued to administer several doses of Narcan, chest compressions, and assisted breathing with an AMBU bag, but the individual’s condition remained critical. After applying the AED and continuing CPR, the pair detected a pulse and observed their breathing improve.

Their life saving care sustained the patient for EMS to arrive, administer further Narcan, and stabilize the patient for transportation to the hospital. 

For their timely intervention and effective collaboration to save the life of a person entrusted to their care, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Lieutenant Joshua King and Transportation Officer Michael Dern of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office.

Massachusetts Department of Correction

Correction Officer Dennis Henry 

In July 2023, Old Colony Correctional Center Corrections Officer Dennis Henry was assigned to an external hospital detail when he witnessed a psychiatric patient who was not in the Department’s custody violently attacking a hospital security personnel. Henry knew one of the staff members under attack because he was a retired correction officer.

As the patient continued throwing punches, he posed an increasing safety risk to the hospital security staff who appeared to be losing control and at risk of serious injuries. Henry secured the incarcerated patient in his custody with his partner, grabbed a pair of handcuffs from his hospital bag, and went to help.

By this point, a struggle ensued on the floor. Hospital staff successfully gained control of the patient’s arms and placed them behind his back for Henry to apply wrist restraints. The joint team then moved the combatant patient to a nearby gurney where clinical staff could assume care. Officer Henry returned to his hospital detail without further incident.

For his actions to subdue a combatant individual and prevent further injury, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Correction Officer Dennis Henry of the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

Lieutenant Curtis Keezer
Correction Officer James Noble
Correction Officer Ambiori Rosario

In July 2023, an incarcerated individual with a history of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts became upset about his housing situation. Unable to cope, the man climbed over the rail of the third tier and threatened to jump off if he was not moved.

Lieutenant Keezer and Correction Officers Noble and Rosario were among the first to reach the third tier. The team engaged the man in conversation asking him about the factors that lead to this moment. The conversation allowed the man to be seen and heard, and it also allowed the unit to be evacuated safely. 

Over the course of four hours, the team demonstrated professionalism, patience, and empathy to de-escalate the situation. They successfully invited the man to come off the ledge without offering any false hopes that his demands would be met given previous incidents of self-injurious behaviors.

For their actions to de-escalate a mental health crisis, the selection committee confers meritorious recognition on Lieutenant Curtis Keezer, Correction Officer James Noble, Correction Officer Ambiori Rosario of the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

Medal of Valor

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office

Lieutenant Michael Hackley

In December 2023, Lieutenant Michael Hackley was returning to the jail after performing a supervisory round at an outside hospital. As he was driving over the Tobin Bridge, he saw an ambulance stopped on the roadway and learned the patient in the ambulance had physically assaulted the EMTs on board. Following the assault, the patient ran to a semi-track and attempted to enter the cab of the truck and take control of the vehicle. When Hackley approached the patient with the goal of de-escalation, the man appeared disoriented and under the influence of a controlled substance.

Hackley continued to engage the man in conversation eventually earning his trust. When the man started to move toward oncoming traffic, Hackley spoke with him in a calm manner and redirected him to a safe location without any force. His negotiation with the man allowed State Police to secure the scene and safely transport the patient and injured EMTs to the hospital safely.  

For his decisive intervention and his ability to de-escalate a dangerous situation and prevent further harm, the selection committee confers the medal of valor on Lieutenant Michael Hackley of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Medal of Honor

Massachusetts Department of Correction

Correction Officer Daniel DiTomasso
Correction Officer Christopher Lapriore

In May 2023, during Correction Officer Daniel DiTomasso’s security round, an altercation with weapons began at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center. Despite his attempts to de-escalate the situation and his orders to stop, an incarcerated individual assaulted DiTomasso’s head and face with an improvised metal weapon. For his part, DiTomasso successfully brought the combatant to the floor.

As supporting staff arrived to control the scene, Correction Officer Christopher Lapriore skillfully subdued the individual attacking DiTomasso. With staff in possession of the weapon, medical aid could safely reach DiTomasso who needed attention.

The combined actions of Officer DiTomasso and Officer Lapriore to neutralize an escalating threat prevented further violence against those living and working at Souza Baranowski.

For their courage, professionalism, and willingness to risk their lives to save another person, the selection committee confers the Commonwealth’s highest form of recognition, the medal of honor, on Officer Daniel DiTomasso and Officer Christopher Lapriore of the Massachusetts Department of Correction.


Media Contact   for 27th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

    EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.
  • Massachusetts Department of Correction 

    The Department of Correction oversees the state prison system, managing inmates at 14 institutions across the state. We provide custody, care, and programming for those under our supervision to prepare them for safe and successful reentry into the community.
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