Correctional Officer cadet helps apprehend man armed with sharpened screwdriver
Story Don Chaddock, InsideCDCR editor
Video by Jeff Baur and Cameron Applegate, CDCR TV Specialists
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR Staff Photographer
A 25-year-old Correctional Officer cadet threw himself into the action to help apprehend an alleged robber – getting stabbed in the process.
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On Jan. 17, cadet Daniel Rodriguez was driving around his hometown of Santa Rosa when he spotted someone running.
“I thought maybe he was out for a jog or something,” Rodriguez recalls. “Then I saw another male chasing him, yelling at him to stop. … I saw the distance between them and knew he wasn’t going to catch the (suspect).”
Rodriguez pulled his car alongside the suspect and told him to stop.
“He didn’t comply,” said Rodriguez. “He was fast so I got a little in front of him and jumped out of the car.”
When he grabbed the man by the shoulders, it was the first indication there was a weapon.
“He punched me in the chin and I took him down,” he said. “I held him down. Then I saw he had a screwdriver and I was bleeding. (Police) showed up and took him into custody.”
He hadn’t been punched, but stabbed. According to the report from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the screwdriver had been modified – the head was removed and it had been sharpened to a point.
Rodriguez credits his training with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with keeping him safe. Tunnel vision, such as focusing on only one thing, can lead to disaster, he said. According to Rodriguez, he was able to see the threat and be aware of his surroundings.
“The training I got kicked in,” he said. “I watched his hands and was able to get away enough (when he punched). I was able to control him.”
If he hadn’t dodged the punch, he said the weapon could have hit his eye, effectively ending his law enforcement career before it even started.
Someone had to do something
“I grew up in this neighborhood,” Rodriguez said. “I take it personally when crimes are committed in my community.”
Prior to enrolling in the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in Galt, Rodriguez worked in loss prevention.
“I would follow someone who shoplifted and tell law enforcement which way they went,” he said. “This was different.”
Rodriguez said his jawbone helped stop the screwdriver. He declined transport to a hospital and instead drove himself.
Path to a Correctional Officer career
Rodriguez said he studied to be a firefighter but wanted a career in law enforcement.
“I like the professionalism of CDCR,” he said. “We walk the toughest beat in the state. … I joined CDCR to get the best training.”
He is scheduled to be posted at San Quentin State Prison, keeping him near his hometown.
“I’m very proud to be a cadet with CDCR,” he said. “I’ll be even more proud in two months when I get that badge.”
If anyone is considering a career in CDCR, he encourages others to take the plunge. CDCR is seeking to hire 7,000 Correctional Officers by 2016.
“If you want to help people in need, and start your law enforcement career, you have nothing to lose,” he said. “Take a chance and help your community.”
Other than a small puncture-wound scar on his jawline, there isn’t much indication he’d been wounded.
“My daughter said she was very proud of me and said I was a good cop,” he said. “All the time I think about how it could have been worse. I was helping someone in need. … I would absolutely do it again.”
Read more on CDCR’s hiring efforts, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2015/01/cdcr-is-hiring-7000-correctional-officers/
Read more about what it’s like to be a cadet, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2013/09/day-in-the-life-of-a-cdcr-cadet/
Read more about those who train the cadets, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2013/10/day-in-the-life-of-a-cdcr-academy-sergeant/
Read more about career opportunities at CDCR, https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Career_Opportunities/POR/Index.html
See the YouTube video on becoming a CDCR Correctional Officer, https://youtu.be/3JpYsgGQGp4
Read the original story in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3400470-181/sheriffs-deputies-passer-by-stabbed-after