Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian recently recognized members of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) for outstanding work over the past year during the 2021 Virtual Employee Recognition and Awards Ceremony. This ceremony is typically held in person each May during National Correctional Officers and Employees Week, however due to COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony was delayed and held virtually.
“Every day the correctional officers, deputies and civilian staff members of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office work tirelessly to keep us safe,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “Although we were not able to celebrate the awardees together in person this year, the virtual ceremony offers a glimpse at the amazing individuals who work at the MSO.”
This year’s ceremony included recognition of 18 uniformed and civilian staff members for individual and collective acts of excellence over the past year with a particular focus on the MSO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those recognized during the July 7 event were the Officer, Superior Officer and Civilian of the Year awards
This year’s Officer of the Year Award was presented to Sergeant Shane Cassidy. Sergeant Cassidy is a 28-year veteran of the MSO who has held a number of critical assignments over his career. During the pandemic, Sergeant Cassidy worked without question or hesitation to clean and sanitize over 100 areas of the jail. His efforts ensured the safety of both co-workers and incarcerated individuals.
The Superior Officer of the Year Award was presented to Assistant Deputy Superintendent Brian Crane. A 33-year veteran of the MSO, Deputy Crane’s colleagues refer to him as a role model, a problem solver and very caring and fair. His outstanding leadership served to provide both guidance and comfort to those on his shift and beyond while working daily to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and incarcerated individuals throughout the pandemic.,
The Civilian of the Year Award was presented this year to Benefits Coordinator Nina Torrisi. This award is given annually to an employee who holds a specialized position and significantly contributes to the efficiency of the office. In 2020-2021, Nina was a crucial component on the employee-focused side of our COVID-19 response. She secured testing for staff, connected employees to critical resources, coordinated contact tracing and was a calm and reassuring presence for countless colleagues.
The Edward “Teddy” Dillon Collegiality Award was presented to Officer Ryan Chavez. This award is named in memory of Officer Teddy Dillon, who passed away in 2012. The award was created in 2019 as a collaboration between the MSO, NEPBA Local 500 and Teddy’s family to honor his legacy. The award recognizes a correctional officer who fosters a positive work environment through their actions and attitude. Officer Chavez received the award and was pinned by Teddy’s mother Dotty Dodge.
The Excellence in Leadership Award was presented to Health Services Administrator Kathleen Shultz. This accolade is reserved for a supervisor whose leadership qualities and personal attributes have a motivating effect on employees. Kathy’s response and leadership to the COVID-19 pandemic was inspirational because she was not only leading the health services unit but, in the trenches, helping drive our organizational response.
In addition to the awards discussed above, Outstanding Performance Awards were presented to individuals and groups for work to:
• Keep the facility and vehicles clean and disinfected
• Assist individuals with re-entry housing and treatment
• Maintain, analyze and interpret data used in decision-making processes
• Ramp up video conferencing, allowing key hearings to continue for individuals in custody while courts were predominantly closed to the public
• And for being a super-utility player – taking on a host of assignments throughout the facility
“I truly believe that every member of our team who worked through this past year is deserving of recognition for their service. Without them we would not be as successful as we are today,” Koutoujian said. “Our entire staff displayed the professional, conscientious and caring behavior that has made the MSO a national leader in the corrections field.”