Innovative Development Training for Correctional Officers

Wilmington University Criminal Justice program faculty members Dr. Jim Warwick and Dr. Greg Warren are leading a team of seasoned law enforcement practitioners to provide essential training to correctional officers and supervisors under a contract recently awarded to WilmU by the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC).

Following a siege by inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in February of 2017, during which Sgt. Steven Floyd was killed, Delaware Governor  John Carney issued an executive order establishing an independent review team to investigate the incident and security issues at the facility. As part of its set of comprehensive recommendations, the team suggested additional training for the DOC’s 1,600 correctional officers, from newly-sworn correctional officers to corporals and more veteran supervisors, captains and wardens.

With training sessions from January through July 2018, Drs. Warwick and Warren spent the fall conducting a needs assessment, meeting with correctional officers, developing curriculum and
recruiting a team of trainers, all of
whom are highly-skilled  law enforce-ment professionals and WilmU adjunct faculty members. The six-hour training module provided to 1,200 correctional officers includes sessions on interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques. In addition, 400 supervisory personnel will receive eight hours of training, including sessions on supervisory management techniques, risk assessment and building trust within the institution. Dr. Warwick says the training team is uniquely qualified to “share our experiences and expertise with DOC staff in this important professional development training.” He said the goal of the trainings is to help create a safer environment for staff and inmates.

The majority of the training sessions will be held at WilmU’s Dover campus to provide DOC staff with a block of uninterrupted time, away from the correctional facility. Dr. Warren hopes this will be the start of a long-term training and education relationship with the DOC.

As retired troopers of the Delaware State Police, Warwick and Warren understand first-hand the challenges and stresses on law enforcement personnel. And as educators with extensive teaching and training ex-perience, they know the merits of staff development and continuing education. They are a uniquely qualified team to spearhead this Wilmington University professional training initiative. WU

—Lori Sitler