Correctional Officer’s Union commissions documentary

DOVER — Last Friday, Healy Media Group released a five-minute trailer for a full-length documentary the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) commissioned with the production company. The oral-history style documentary, called “Hidden in Plain Sight”, has been in production since April. COAD President Geoff Klopp hopes that, once completed, the documentary can inform the public and spur some “long needed” changes in the state’s Department of Correction.

“For years, no one has really know what our correctional officers are dealing with day to day,” said Mr. Klopp. “This documentary will give the public a chance to see who correctional officers are, some of what they do and how they feel about it. We rarely get to interact with the public — We’re always hidden behind the fence.”

In the wake of the Feb. 1 inmate uprising that left Lt. Steven Floyd dead, Mr. Klopp has been pushing harder for more competitive compensation for correctional officers at legislative hall. T.J. Healy II, who owns the production company producing the documentary, said the legislature could certainly used the education that his interviews will offer.

“After shooting these interviews it’s so interesting to me that these issues with the DOC have been going on for years,” said Mr. Healy. “Of course way before (Gov. John) Carney, before (Former Gov. Jack) Markell, and some of these issues go back before (Former Gov. Ruth Ann) Minner and not a whole lot ever seems to get done about it. So many of our Senators and Representatives seem to have no clue. They can tell you all about delDOT, economic development or DNREC, but ask them about the DOC and they have no idea.”

Mr. Healy says that, so far, they have extensive interviews with 12 correctional officers — both retired and active. By the completion of the project he hopes to have filmed around 25 correctional officers. The completion date of the project is undetermined as yet.

The title frame from a trailer of a new COAD-commissioned documentary called “Hidden in Plain Sight” on the difficulties correctional officers face on a daily basis. The documentary has been under production by Healy Media Group since April. (Submitted photo)

Although the DOC’s code of conduct restricts officers from speaking to the media, Mr. Klopp said this project wouldn’t be in violation of that.

“Correctional officers can’t speak to the media, but we’re doing a video production, so this isn’t a media outlet,” he said. “We really hoping that it’ll be a chance to educate legislators and the public on the stresses and difficulty these officers face.”

Mr. Healy said after shooting some of the videos, he briefly considered changing the title simply to “Wow,” because that seems to be the response people have to the sentiments being expressed by correctional officers.

“Not many people know much about correctional officers and their lives, or the DOC for that matter,” he said. “There are just so many surprises to be seen here, it’s really eye opening.”

The production company also helped put together a 30-second commercial for lobbying purposes for the COAD. The ad ran several times over the Memorial Day weekend, said Mr. Healy.

The commercial can be seen at vimeo.com/218878042/0b39d80c8b and the documentary trailer can be seen at vimeo.com/219948363/03d2044016.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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