By Brandon Hamilton, Prairie Region
Grande Cache Institution is a place that most, more than likely, don’t even realize exists. I consider myself lucky to work here and it’s thought to be a hidden gem by most. I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing officers who welcome others and make them feel like they’re part of a family. This is so important at a rare location such as ours for many reasons.
The majority of officers who work here are new and away from family and close friends. When something needs to be done, there are people ready to help; regardless if it’s moving, fixing something, personal struggles, or just getting a football game together to pass the time. Grande Cache is a great place to work with lots of opportunity and tons of great fellow officers! To top it off, the town is small and we’re surrounded with exceptional scenery and outdoorsy things to do.
I am currently a Correctional Officer at Grande Cache Institution. I’ve been working on Unit 13 which is also known as our Pathway unit. The Pathway unit is focused on Aboriginal culture and the associated healing paths to rehabilitation.
I have quite a few tasks associated with my duties as a Correctional Officer/A/CX-II including inmate movement and control, inmate address and supervision, search and seizure requirements, formal paperwork protocol, inmate and staff rapport building, information sharing, incident response as part of the Code Team, in-depth inmate file review and paperwork, and being knowledgeable and involved as part of the Case Management Team.
Additionally - and also what I consider to be most important - support for fellow officers and other staff. This means being there to assist when needed in any type of situations from providing help to get searches or paperwork completed; to backing up the integrity of a fellow officer or staff member; to helping a partner in need, even outside of work.
In addition to the above, I am also very involved on a volunteer level. I have joined the Union for Canadian Correctional Officers in hopes of helping fellow officers when needed, to have a say in what safety and security measures we take, and to gain knowledge about the job in a more involved manner. It’s a big learning curve. There is a lot to know to be successful and helpful to fellow officers. I have so much to learn!
Unfortunately it feels as though it’s the most thankless job at times, too. Luckily joining the Union to get thanks wasn’t a reason I joined. I enjoy trying my best and being part of the team that hopefully makes things better for everyone; even if it’s only one small step at a time. This reminds me of a quote a great officer, leader, and friend will consistently preach:
“You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution” – Roy Fulop CX-II (GCI)
I personally aim for the latter.
I am also involved with the Internal Communication Advisory Committee. Though I have not been a member of this team for long, I think it will be an interesting journey considering communication is something that can always be improved in most areas. I enjoy being part of various teams that look to the future with good intentions of making things just a little bit better.
As of recently, our main project has been Let’s Talk Express. I look forward to reading it and getting others interested too! It will be an interesting read as I’m sure there will be lots of visuals and it will be directly in line with my duties. I hope to read stories and ideas surrounding CSC members and my fellow officers and co-workers. I am excited to see how other institutions and officers around Canada operate and the things they do, as well as the stories they have and the knowledge and tips they can pass on.
I’m sure everyone can agree that we learn every day until we retire so any extra tips are greatly appreciated!