By Jonathan Parsley, Information Officer II

CDCR Correctional Officers Armando Luis Vera from Wasco State Prison (WSP) and Gregory M. Cutler from California Men’s Colony (CMC) are being recognized this week with a Medal of Valor from Corrections USA (CUSA).

The two men will be joined by public corrections officers and staff being honored at the 2012 CUSA Conference and Awards Dinner in Las Vegas. Others being awarded the Medal of Valor are from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey and Arizona. WSP Acting Warden J.N. Katavich will also attend the ceremony.

Correctional Officer Armando Luis Vera
Transportation WASCO State Prison – Reception Center

On June 20, 2011, Officer Armando Luis Vera and Officer Saul Castaneda were transporting an inmate back to Wasco State Prison-Reception Center when they saw a car fail to stop at a stop sign and drive into a canal.
They contacted 911.  Officer Castaneda stayed with the inmate while Officer Vera approached the submerged vehicle.  Seeing a bloody hand banging on the driver’s side window as water filled the car, he jumped into the canal.

When he was unable to open the car door he used his baton to break a window and pull the driver from the vehicle and then helped the driver up the canal bank. Emergency personnel then took over.

Due to Officer Vera’s quick and decisive action, the driver did not suffer any serious injuries.  His courage and professionalism are not only a credit to him but also reflect proudly on the State of California and Wasco State Prison-Reception Center.

During a ceremony at WSP, Correctional Officers Vera and Casteneda were honored by Assemblyman David Valadao and WSP staff.  The driver, Karen Rowe, also attended.

Correctional Officer Gregory M. Cutler,
California Men’s Colony

On June 29, 2011, Officer Gregory M. Cutler was providing hospital custody for a California Men’s Colony (CMC) inmate at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. A San Luis Obispo County jail inmate was in an adjacent bed being supervised by Security Officer Schneider.

While Officer Schneider was escorting his inmate, in leg restraints, to the restroom, the inmate pushed him against the wall in an attempt to escape.  Officer Cutler responded by grabbing the escaping inmate, resisted and attempted to break free.

The inmate fought so violently, his IV was pulled from his arm, spilling blood on the bed, floor and both officers.  He grabbed Officer Cutler by the throat while punching him with his other hand.  The inmate continued to resist for several more minutes until Officer Cutler’s professional training, skills and endurance allowed him to gain control of inmate.

Officer Cutler’s quick and decisive action protected the life of Security Officer Schneider and prevented the inmate from escaping, and possibly injuring others in the hospital.

Officer Gregory M. Cutler’s courage and professionalism are not only credit to him but reflect proudly on the State of California and the California Men’s Colony.

CUSA, one of the oldest and largest national associations of Professional Corrections Officers and Staff in the United States, specializes in educating policy makers and the public about the profession of public corrections.