TMG Celebrates Maryland Correctional Training Staff 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 the Correctional Training Staff for the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission, which did an outstanding job adjusting training needs during the pandemic. Captain Nicholas Hill (Statewide Academy Manager), Captain Violet Jackson (Statewide In-service Manager), Captain Michael Ennis (Statewide Firearms Manager), and Kathleen Paul-Kershesky (Administrator for Parole and Probation Training) were key players in bringing these efforts to fruition.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to every profession, and corrections held some specific and difficult challenges. Some of these challenges were met through training innovations. The correctional training staff modified the delivery and approach to pre-service and basic training for corrections officers in numerous ways to minimize the risk of exposure to participants and staff.

The greatest challenges included technological and physical aspects. The technology side involved implementing online training for pre-service, which had not been done before. The correctional training staff encountered the same challenges as other agencies in conducting defensive tactics and firearms training and met this challenge by eliminating rotating partners, implementing COVID-19 testing, holding classes outdoors, and using mannequins or simulations when possible.

Using new technology became a staple during COVID-19, and the Correctional Training Staff collaborated with area colleges to assist in creating online training. The team implemented these various innovations as mandates changed, and best practices evolved, consulting with the Department of Health. The innovations implemented by the training staff kept the officers certified without compromising the quality of the training and keeping facilities safely staffed.

The feedback from online training options has been overwhelmingly positive from participants. In addition, it gave the training staff an additional tool to evaluate strengths and improvement areas through data on test scores from individual sections of training and time spent viewing each section.

If you are seeking advice when you need to make quick and extensive modifications to training, the team recommends listening to your staff, the people who do the work, and trust them to know how to best do their jobs. We congratulate the Correctional Training Staff and the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission on rising to the challenges of COVID-19 with successful, innovative training initiatives to prepare better and support staff long-term.