TMG Celebrates Captain Scott Towers and the NHDOC During National Correctional Officers Week

The Moss Group partnered with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Correctional Leaders Association to celebrate Correctional Professionals Week through our second annual spotlight of professionals who stood out for their ingenuity, creativity, and ability to continue to deliver high-quality training within their department.

Today we spotlight Scott Towers, the Captain of the Training Bureau at the New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NHDOC) where he has worked for 21 years.

COVID-19 brought challenges to every profession, and corrections held some specific and difficult challenges. Some of these challenges were met through training innovations. Captain Towers was tasked with adjusting to COVID-19 precautions in existing trainings as well as training National Guard staff to meet basic correctional officer requirements to provide relief to their correctional officers. Every officer was working overtime to adjust for staff who were out sick or quarantined, and the National Guard were able to step in and provide assistance. The greatest challenge to Captain Towers and his staff was time. Everything needed to happen immediately, and things were continuously changing.

Captain Towers and his team had to be ready in two weeks to provide basic training to the National Guard staff. To reduce risk to participants, defensive tactics training was updated with new precautions to allow for continued in-person instruction. Using modern technology became a staple during COVID-19, and Captain Towers and his team began using online instruction. Online classes had to be created and continuously evolved as staff became more familiar with the platforms being used. Providing all staff with computer access was extremely challenging, as were the internet connections and bandwidth being used to maximum capacity causing disruptions to the service from time to time. Despite all of this, Captain Towers and his team kept everything running.

Bringing in the National Guard staff to assist in the various facilities was critical to prevent staff burnout, and the National Guard staff were very appreciative of the training they received with such short notice to get them as prepared as possible. The NHDOC staff were grateful for the assistance from the National Guard and quickly welcomed them to the team. With the various innovations implemented, the overall effectiveness of the agency remained unaffected, keeping everything running throughout the pandemic.

Captain Towers recommends that anyone needing to make quick and extensive modifications to training should reach out for help from others and get support from your team. He stated this time has been a tremendous learning experience in which he is extremely proud of his team. He stated his team showed great respect and professionalism in welcoming the assistance of the National Guard, and the efforts made were successful because of the entire team.

We congratulate Captain Scott Towers and the New Hampshire Department of Corrections on rising to the challenges of COVID-19 with successful innovative training initiatives to better prepare and support staff long-term.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-RY-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.