CDCR’s Transportation Unit correctional officers, such as the Honor Guard, often go above and beyond in the course of the duties. CDCR file photo.

By OPEC Staff

A letter from a prominent state official thanking a CDCR officer for a simple courtesy in a crowded emergency room underscored the good deeds transportation officers have performed across the state over the years.

The letter from Roy W. Wesley, Inspector General for the state, thanked Officer Wesley Richardson of California State Prison, Sacramento, for a kindness he showed Wesley’s wife in a crowded emergency room in December.

Mrs. Wesley was in the ER because her elderly mother was very ill. Officer Richardson was in the ER on an emergency transport.

Seeing Mrs. Wesley had nowhere to sit, Officer Richardson gave us his seat and stood.

He didn’t give the act of decency a second thought.

However, it meant a lot to the Wesley family. Inspector General Wesley wrote in a letter to CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz:

“Although this might seem like a small gesture, it was a huge kindness for my wife that was most appreciated. You demonstrated the compassion and care to a member of the public that exemplifies the very best qualities that make up the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. I sincerely thank you for your actions.”

Over the years, transport officers have done similar acts and more.

“Our transportation officers are dedicated to law enforcement and public service,” said Connie Gipson, Director of Adult Institutions (A). “They often step into critical situations, on- and off-duty, to serve and protect. Their examples are typical of actions taken daily by many of our Correctional Officers.”

In April 2016, a transportation sergeant faced a nightmare scenario of traffic accident victims trapped in a scene that looked like something out of a disaster movie.

Sgt. Timothy Reynolds was part of a transportation unit that came across a four-vehicle crash near Willits where victims were in immediate peril.

One car was on fire, another car teetered on the edge of a 50-60 foot cliff and a big rig was leaking diesel.

Reynolds tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher until it was empty. The car exploded and the flames became intense, making a rescue impossible.

He then rescued several victims from the car teetering on the edge of the drop. One victim couldn’t walk and so he carried her to safety.

Finally, he helped victims in another vehicle move to safety.

For his actions, Reynolds was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest honor for courage CDCR bestows.

Last year, transportation officers saved a suicidal woman who was intent on stepping into speeding traffic.

On March 16, 2018, the California Correctional Institution’s transportation team of Paul Wallace and James (Cody) Bloxom were returning from Atascadero State Hospital

On Highway 166, they saw a car stop in the middle of traffic, and a woman get out of a car. The woman tried to stop traffic by walking in the roadway and she was almost hit by a passing truck.

Wallace and Bloxmon pulled over. They tried to talk her out of the middle of the road.

The woman smelled of alcohol and looked haggard. She told them that she had been beaten up by her boyfriend and she had been drinking and doing drugs for three days.

They managed to get her to safety.