By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/Public Information Officer
Avenal State Prison
Avenal State Prison recently participated in the 23rd annual national Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, in which millions of workplaces welcomed children to experience the working world. The event encourages students across the country to discover a range of career opportunities available regardless of gender, ethnicity or economic circumstances.
With 85 children present, it was one of the biggest events in ASP’s history. The children witnessed how ASP’s K-9 unit sniffs out contraband, learned how the Crisis Response Team jumps into action during an emergency, and took part in a prison fire station emergency victim-extraction drill using the “Jaws of Life.”
They also heard from inmates about the effects of bad decisions on victims, families and communities. The kids saw what inmates are allowed to wear and consume inside the prison.
A rare opportunity was given to let the children go inside an unmanned tower to see what it is like from an officer’s view. Outside agencies were called upon to help. California Highway Patrol brought their motor bikes and cruisers, Kings County showcased their Armored Assault Unit, Avenal P.D.’s Mobile Command Center made I.D. cards, Coalinga P.D. brought the Razor, and Avenal High School brought the big grill.
Avenal High School culinary students prepped and barbecued lunch for the 85 kids and over 40 volunteers.
During the live S.W.A.T. demonstration, the ASP/PVSP Crisis Response Team called upon outside agencies to perform a live hostage rescue scenario. Members from the CHP, Kings County S.W.A.T., Coalinga Police Department and Avenal Police Department set up an outside perimeter using the Kings County Armored Vehicle and remote-controlled robot that drove up to the crisis site and captured pictures of the bad guy. After a surround and callout attempt, the prison’s Crisis Response Team jumped into action and made entry into the structure, getting the hostage taker and hostage out alive. The kids were amazed and were yelling for the bad guy to surrender.
Agency officials in attendance were Russel Stivers, the City of Avenal’s Chief of Police, Lt. Commander J. Elsome from the CHP, along with Avenal State Prison Warden Rosemary Ndoh and Chief Deputy Warden Brian Duffy.
Helping make the event possible was support by ASP’s Employee Action Committee, Chicano Correctional Workers Association, California Correctional Peace Officer Association, Prison Industry Authority and Pleasant Valley State Prison.