Correctional Officer J.D. Kanavel

Correctional Officer J.D. Kanavel

By Krissi Khokhobashvili, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Correctional Officer J.D. Kanavel’s dedication to duty is being recognized nationwide, as he has been selected as a finalist for Correctional Officer of the Year by ServiceWear Apparel.

Each year, Horace Small, a law enforcement uniform company, sponsors the award, which recognizes custody staff throughout the country who provide excellent service in their work inside correctional institutions. Kanavel represents CDCR as one of six finalists from jails and prisons in California, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Ohio and Arizona. Finalists are chosen based on their dedication to the safety of inmates, visitors and fellow officers, and leadership and commitment to preserving and protecting their facility through smart thinking and intentional action.

“Officer Kanavel consistently displays exceptional competence, sound judgment and depth of professional knowledge in the execution of his responsibilities,” said Sgt. Billy Pollard, who nominated Kanavel. “He carries himself as a role model who leads by example. He reports to work daily, wearing his uniform with pride. He completes his duties with self-reliance keeping the safety of staff, public and inmates paramount. With his perseverance and aggregate dedication to duty, he consistently exceeds the expectations of his supervisors.”

Kanavel, who has worked at California City Correctional Facility (CAC) since December 2013, is taking the nomination in stride. For him, like so many CDCR correctional officers, going above and beyond is simply what he does.

Kanavel works in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at CAC. His duties include distribution of meals, escorting inmates, conducting security welfare checks and searches of cells and common areas, processing inmates in and out of ASU, and coordinating the Institutional Classification Committee. The committee reviews inmate behavior resulting in ASU housing, among other classification reviews.

His career with CDCR began 10 years ago, and he said it was a natural career choice given his family history of working in corrections.

“Several of my family members have worked for CDCR,” he said. “I have always idolized and looked up to correctional officers for what they do and what they risk for their families and themselves.”

In nominating Kanavel, Pollard pointed out he is known throughout the prison for his work ethic and energy, along with being helpful and courteous. His efficiency and high ethical standards have made him a mentor to new officers, and he is seen as a role model throughout the institution.

“He is highly respected by his peers and appreciated by his supervisors because of the way he treats others,” Pollard said. “He is seen as a very positive person on the team and exhibits a ‘win-win’ philosophy.”

In thinking of cadets and those considering a career in corrections, Kanavel pointed out that while the challenges of being a correctional officer are many, the benefits – both in pay and in professional satisfaction – also are many.

“The badge represents more than just a job,” he said. “It shows the person who possesses it has had enough training to respond correctly to a given situation. It represents an officer who has enough experience to make the hard decisions required by their position. The badge means loyalty, integrity and respect.”

The Correctional Officer of the Year is awarded $1,000, and if he or she is unable to accept prizes, the award is donated to either the facility or a charity of the winner’s choice. To read more about the finalists, and to vote for Kanavel, visit Voting closes June 17.