A graduation ceremony was held Sept. 1 for eight corrections officers who will be staffing the new cell block in the Clermont County Jail.
The new officers include Lawrence Cruey, Jeffrey Gaffney, Samantha Heist, Shaun Mikicic, Brandon Shaw, Danny Spears, Shaun Thompson and Christina Turner.
“We are glad to have you on board,” Sheriff Tim Rodenberg told the officers at their graduation ceremony.
The Board of Clermont County Commissioners recognized the need for more space in the jail and voted March 16 to approve the opening of an additional cell block designed to house 32 inmates.
“As a result of the initiative on their part, it was necessary for us to hire additional officers,” Sheriff Rodenberg said.
The individuals selected went through five weeks of extensive training and exams to prepare for the job. They were trained how to interact with inmates in a variety of situations and were put through physical and mental testing.
“Each and every one of you should feel like you’re part of something special,” Judge Ken Zuk, guest speaker at the ceremony, said.
Judge Zuk said the officers are going to have to deal with people that sometimes aren’t the most admirable and at times are difficult to handle, but he encouraged the officers to treat others like they would want to be treated.
“You’ve been given the training you need to have,” Judge Zuk said. “And if you follow that training you will do extremely well.”
Sergeant Bill Hogue, who helped train the officers, said it is probably the best group they have ever had go through the academy. Hogue recognized each officer at the ceremony and presented them with their certificate of completion.
“It’s a great honor to work for this department,” Shaun Mikicic, of Columbus, said when his name was called.
Mikicic was selected as valedictorian of the class, and the former marine said he didn’t think he could find an atmosphere similar to serving the country until he began training as a corrections officer. He said he found a sense of camaraderie during training that he didn’t expect.
Sam Heist, of Bethel, agreed that the best part was getting to know the group she would be working with. She said the hardest part was adapting to the environment, but said completing the training and graduating was a great accomplishment.
“I am ready to move on to the next chapter,” Heist said about beginning her job as an officer.
With the graduation and hiring of the eight new officers, the Clermont County Jail was able to open the cell block this week. The additional beds brought the jail capacity up to 278 beds.