By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran
When CSP-Corcoran Correctional Officer Socorro Rios was diagnosed with cancer, her coworkers wanted to help. They organized a fundraiser, shoring their locks to show support. Raising $10,000 to help her in her battle, K-9 handler Rios instead donated all those funds to Valley Children’s Hospital.
In December 2018, she informed her partner K-9 Handler David Grimsley she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I’ve worked with Socorro over the past 10 years and she has always been the person in the office who organized getting people gift cards or presents for their birthday. She always led the ‘gift basket’ donation for the Warden’s Christmas party. Socorro always made sure people know they are being thought of for their special day. Often times, Socorro would make sure these things where done without her taking any of the credit for all the hard work. Socorro is always doing things for others on her own time,” Grimsley said. “When Socorro began her treatment she quickly realized she was going to lose all of her hair. Instead of feeling sorry for herself or getting depressed, Socorro with the help from her family/friends and her Central Region K-9 team, began selling Tee shirts, and organized an event to raise money.”
She shaved what remained of her own hair and others joined in the effort.
“Other supporters also had the opportunity to shave their head to show their support for Socorro, while she battles this illness. Instead of Socorro keeping any of the proceeds from the event set up for her own treatment, Socorro donated all of the $10,000 dollars raised to the Valley Children’s Hospital cancer ward and to the American Cancer Society. It speaks volume to me when someone who is faced with a crisis of this magnitude, would think of others before themselves,” Grimsley said. “Socorro is a very strong person who has a great support system to include her family friends and work family. The support from CSP-Corcoran staff and staff throughout the state of California has been incredible. Our prayers are with you Socorro. May you beat this disease and give hope to all those who also suffer from this horrible disease. Stay strong and fight with all the strength and might you can possibly dish out, we support and appreciate all you do for others. It is time for us to do something for you.”
Fast facts about Officer Rios
- Rios has been a Correctional Officer for 13 years and was recently featured in the spring 2019 issue of the Chicano Correctional Worker Association Journal. She’s been a member of the association for over 10 years.
- Before joining corrections, Socorro taught first grade for Corcoran Unified School District for almost a decade.
- Officer Rios began her career Jan. 3, 2006, when she attended the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in Galt. She graduated in April and reported for duty at CSP-Corcoran.
- She was assigned to various areas of the institution for three years before she accepted an assignment with the Investigative Services Unit (ISU), where she has been ever since.
- While in ISU, Rios became interested in the K-9 handler position. She began gathering information on the position and noticed there were no women K-9 handlers in the northern or central regions. This drove her to become the first central region female K-9 handler.
- In January 2018, she interviewed for the position and was selected. On Feb. 5, 2018, she attended the K-9 Academy and was assigned a 15-month old female Labrador retriever named Mango. They completed the academy in March.
K-9 Mango’s contraband finds
Rios and Mango had their first discovery of contraband a week after arriving at CSP-Corcoran. On that day Mango alerted to a package in the mail room which contained 14 grams of tobacco and a cellular telephone. The same day Mango also alerted to a box of property in the Receiving & Release (R&R) Property Room. The box contained a cellular telephone, charger and three electronic cigarettes. To date, Mango has been instrumental in discovering approximately 320.7 grams of marijuana, 10.6 grams of heroin, 859.9 grams of tobacco, 38 cell phones and 13 strips of suboxone. All of these items of contraband were discovered in cells, common areas, inmate packages and personal property.