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Medals of Valor awarded to officers from MCI-Shirley

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MILFORD — Massachusetts Department of Corrections officers were among the Massachusetts state and county corrections officers honored at the 2008 Correction Officer of the Year 11th annual awards ceremony held June 23 at the Statehouse. Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murphy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Kevin M. Burke, Commissioner Harold W. Clarke as well as county sheriffs and other elected officials praised the correction officers for their bravery and dedication to public service.

Sgt. Jay Brule, Sgt. Christopher Hyde, Correction Officer (CO) Brian Dickhaut and Brandon Hodsdon, LPN, all of Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, each received a Medal of Valor.

CO Dickhaut and Brandon Hodsdon were recognized for responding to an accident of a fellow correction officer after witnessing his vehicle veer off the road while they were on their way to work. Their quick actions saved his life.

Sgt. Brule and Sgt. Hyde, of Shirley, were honored for their response in effectively controlling a combative inmate while he was being treated in the emergency room of a Leominster hospital. Their professionalism prevented the inmate from assaulting the hospital physician, destroying medical equipment and further injuring himself and others.

As noted at the ceremony, both officers took control in this emergency situation. They effectively restrained a bleeding, combative, and irrational inmate preventing the assault on the physician. And they kept several potentially dangerous weapons out of the inmate s hands. Both officers deserve recognition for confidently taking control of a chaotic situation in a very vulnerable environment.

For their “sound judgment, professionalism, and leadership skills, which prevented further injuries to staff or the inmate, and for preventing disastrous situation,” the Commonwealth of Massachusetts presented Sgt. Christopher Hyde and Sgt. Jay Brule with the 2008 Correction Officer of the Year Medial of Valor.

“As public safety professionals, correction officers have a tremendous responsibility to the public we serve,” said Commissioner Clarke. “Correction officers protect the public through the operations of safe, secure and humane correctional facilities.”

The Mass. Department of Correction employs close to 5,000 staff and houses over 11,000 inmates in 18 facilities, ranging from pre-release to maximum security. More information about the DOC is available at www.mass.gov/doc.

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