Correctional Sergeant stands tall at 2015 world games

Sgt. John McNitt competes in the games in Fairfax, Virginia.

Sgt. John McNitt competes in the games in Fairfax, Virginia. Courtesy photo.

Second-generation CDCR employee John McNitt takes home medal

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

When Correctional Sgt. John McNitt looked to fulfill some physical education requirements in college, he didn’t realize the class would inspire his inner athlete to earn medals in competitions.

Sgt. John McNitt stands 6-feet, 8-inches tall and holds a black belt in judo.

Sgt. John McNitt stands 6-feet, 8-inches tall and holds a black belt in judo. Courtesy photo.

“I started training in judo in 2004 at the Solano College Judo Club,” he recalls. “I needed P.E. units and judo was a fun way to earn them. I instantly fell in love with the sport.”

He started competing for the college, earning multiple personal medals as well as bringing back trophies for the college. He was no stranger to sports, having played football in high school.

“I fell out of (judo) for a couple of years when I joined the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2007,” he said.

His father worked for the department for 28 years, making McNitt a second-generation CDCR employee.

“I graduated the Academy in June 2007 and my dad, John McNitt, retired a month later as a Captain,” he said. “But I’m not a junior since we have different middle names.”

In 2012, he learned of the World Police and Fire Games.

“I started training again,” he said. “In 2013, I traveled to Northern Ireland and competed, garnering a silver medal.”

He was a brown belt at the time but earned his black belt upon returning to the U.S.

He recently traveled to Fairfax, Virginia, to compete in the 2015 games.

Sgt. McNitt is an impressive 6-foot, 8-inches tall and tops the scale at 350 pounds, putting him in the heavyweight division.

“I fought in the 30-39-year-old, over-100-kilogram division,” he said.

While he didn’t take the gold, he was impressed by those in the competition. The gold medalist in the division is a member of the Russian national judo team and a three-time national champion in Russia. The silver medalist has been a member of Germany’s national team for a decade.

“I tied for bronze with a member of India’s national judo team,” he said. “It’s hard to be too upset about losing to that caliber of fighters.”

Sgt. McNitt works at the R.A. McGee Correctional Training Center but carves out time to train as he can.

“When school is in session, they offer one (judo) class each week. I plan to supplement it with jujitsu training a couple days a week also,” he said.

What’s it like to win a medal?

Sgt. John McNitt recently earned a bronze medal at the World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax, Virginia.

Sgt. John McNitt recently earned a bronze medal at the World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax, Virginia. Courtesy photo.

“This was my second medal. Ireland was my first,” he said. “It was neat. It was a great experience. This one, I had to fight more. I really had to herd my way into getting that medal. I really had to earn it. These were world-class fighters. These guys train every day. So for me to able to train a few times a week if I’m lucky, and go against these guys, and win a medal at this level of competition is very gratifying.”

Sgt. McNitt started as a Correctional Officer at Folsom State Prison in 2007. He promoted to Sergeant in August 2013 and transferred to Mule Creek State Prison.

“I’ve only been at the Academy a couple of months now,” he said. “My coworkers are just now finding out about my competitions. Because of my size, they are surprised when they find out I do judo.”

Sgt. McNitt said he’s looking forward to getting back into training when school starts in the fall.

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)

Learn more about the games,


15 Responses

  1. Tawfic Rashid Thursday, August 6, 2015 / 10:57 am

    Outstanding, John. Keep it up.

    • Sgt. McNitt Thursday, August 6, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks, brother!

  2. AJ Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / 8:27 am

    Way to go, big guy. I met you a couple of years ago during Family Day at Folsom. I was giving tours. I was impressed with your friendship toward all of us. Congratulations on your promotion.

  3. Lt. T.R. Kauffman II Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Job well done. An accomplishment to be extremely proud of. Keep on training!

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 3:33 pm

      Thx Lt.!

  4. Sgt. D. Jackson Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 10:46 am

    I had the opportunity to attend the World Police and Fire Games in New York years ago. We had a Men’s Relay Team compete from the California Rehabilitation Center. Even though I was a spectator, it truly was an awesome experience to be around so many athletes from all around the world to include CDCR employees as well.

    Congratulations, Sgt. McNitt, on your accomplishments and victories.

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 3:33 pm

      It really is an amazing way to meet a lot of great people. Thank you for the kind words.

  5. Lt. E. Corr Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 10:29 am

    Proud of you, John!

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 3:35 pm

      Thanks Eddy!

  6. John McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 9:56 am

    So proud!

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 3:36 pm

      Thanks Dad!

  7. Lt. Thomas Quezada Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Congratulations, brother. It’s nice to know that you are still challenging yourself and finding success against the best. Can’t wait to read about you accepting the Gold in the next games. Keep training brother and good luck.

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      Thank you sir. That is the plan!

  8. J. Carrillo Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 8:57 am

    Sounds like an amazing experience to compete against top-level competitors from across the globe. Congratulations on winning the bronze!

    • Sgt. McNitt Tuesday, August 4, 2015 / 9:22 am

      I had a wonderful time, it was a great experience. Thank you for the support.

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