LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Take action to protect Del. correctional officers

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is an open letter to Gov. John Carney:

It has been one month since the criminal assault on the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and subsequent murder of Lt. Steven Floyd. I am writing this open letter to address your lack of action concerning the safety of corrections officers in the First State (especially those at Vaughn), as well as your apparent lack of concern for the residents of Kent and Sussex counties generally, whose residents make up a large portion of the DOC’s staff.

In the time since the assault at Vaughn you have been very active. Unfortunately for law-abiding Delawareans, you have spent much of this time engaged in political activities instead of serving the citizens of our state. You have been in the Delaware Islamic Center providing aid and comfort to foreign nationals, conducting town hall meetings with constituents over budgetary matters and campaigning for your political party in Middletown. None of this provides for the safety or security of the citizens of Delaware.

While you have been occupied serving political ambitions, staff in the DOC have been subjected to daily assaults and indignity wrought by the very same criminals that perpetrated the murder of Lt. Floyd. This issue is of grave concern to many of us living in Kent and Sussex counties, as not only are these facilities in our backyards, but so many friends and family members work for the DOC. You have undoubtedly heard the calls for relief from the officers and leaders within the DOC community and have instead chosen deliberate inaction.

Forming a committee is not action, retired justices cannot protect our loved ones and vicious criminals bent on violence and chaos will not patiently await the results of tedious bureaucratic maneuvering. Since you have been all but silent except when differing [with] the future recommendations of a barely impaneled committee, we have been left to wonder what your motivations are.

As any reasonable person would, I find serious fault with the restrictions forced upon our state by the ACLU of Delaware and in conjunction with the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI). Your failure to publicly rebuke these groups and immediately diminish their role in our correctional system implies your endorsement of their adversarial position against the law-abiding citizens of Delaware.

Furthermore, it is my assessment that the suffering of DOC staff members and their families must mean little to you. I do not believe you would play host to citizens of other nations if state employees in Greenville [were] being held hostage. I do not believe you would be holding town halls if state workers were regularly and viciously assaulted in Hockessin. Finally, I do not believe that you would be campaigning if armed criminals occupied a state office in Wilmington and brutally murdered an employee there.

In the absence of even the most trivial involvement from you or members of your staff and cabinet, I am left to draw my own conclusions. Your deliberate inaction is in stark contrast to that of Sen. David Lawson, who has the integrity to take at least the first step towards correcting course and setting right the indignities that led to this tragic situation.

I implore you to consider the callousness of your inaction and choose instead to behave as a leader by taking immediate actions to provide support to the members of the DOC. These brave men and women deserve the support of the government they serve; denying them is a severe dishonor that shames all of Delaware.

Michael Rodriguez
Clayton

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