Story and photos by Ike Dodson
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Law enforcement leaders across the state gathered in Lake Tahoe Aug. 27-30 for networking and training opportunities with prominent experts and partners at the 88th Annual California Probation, Parole & Correctional Association (CPPCA) Training Conference & Vendor Show.
The event, capturing the theme “Partners in Progress” also recognized the hard work and dedication of 17 exemplary civil service employees, including six from CDCR.
“The annual awards ceremony gives CPPCA, County Probation Departments and CDCR, Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) a platform to show gratitude for those chosen for their hard work and dedication to the field of community corrections,” CPPCA president Greg McLean said.
Each year, CPPCA presents the Ruth Rushin award to a CDCR employee who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication and who has significantly contributed to make a difference in the field of corrections. This honor was reserved for Connie Gipson, director of CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions. Gipson has over 29 years of experience serving the citizens of California as a Correctional Peace Officer and manages oversight of over 125,000 incarcerated people in the largest correctional system in the nation. She works in partnership with the California Chancellor of Community Colleges to provide offenders with college courses that lead to degrees or certificates resulting in enhanced workforce skills or transfers to a four-year university. She also serves as CDCR’s liaison with the California District Attorneys Association and maintains a positive and collaborative relationship between the two organizations to enhance public safety and help prosecute CDCR’s in-prison crimes. Gipson is a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, which provides a structured curriculum focusing on strategies to normalize conversations about race, operationalize new policies, drive institutional cultural change and promote racial equality.
Nolice Edwards, chief of CDCR’s Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services, earned the James Rowland Correctional Victim Services Award. The honor is designated for an individual working in a California-based federal, state, or local corrections agency who has, for at least two years, made significant and exemplary contributions to crime victim services delivered through, or provided by, a correctional agency.
Edwards was presented the award by Brenda Crowding, deputy director of the Office of Internal Affairs.
“As chief, Ms. Edwards oversees a comprehensive victim services program and establishes justice practices to ensure crime victims and survivors are afforded the utmost respect in exercising their legal rights, including information, notification, restitution, outreach, referral and support services to crime victims and their next of kin,” Crowding said. “Ms. Edwards is also a champion for Victim Offender Dialogue in which victims or surviving family members meet face to face with the offender so that the survivor can feel heard and the offender can fully understand the effects of their actions.”
Crowding was also recognized as the CPPCA recruiter of the year, after her team welcomed 150 new members to the partnership championing professionalism in corrections, probation and parole.
The Greg Smith Memorial Award, presented each year to an outstanding CPPCA leader, was awarded to CPPCA Southern Region Vice President Karen Thacker, the DAPO Southern Region Parole Administrator. Thacker serves as CDCR’s Parole Agent Safety and Tactics instructor, Child Victimization Instructor and California Parole Supervision and Reintegration Model Instructor was recognized for her leadership of 1,096 staff members, including 982 sworn positions.
DAPO also earned special recognition for Capitol District Parole Agent Anthony Quintana, named the Parole Agent of the Year. The award is given to a parole agent, state or county, working with adults or juveniles who has made a significant contribution to the field of corrections and/or has exhibited exemplary job performance. Agent Quintana continuously works with local law enforcement to gather intelligence and organize operations to reduce gang violence.
California State Prison, Sacramento Correctional Sergeant Henry Ng was named the Adult Institutions Staff Member of the Year, designated for someone at an adult institution who has made significant contributions to the field of corrections. Ng’s support of correctional staff is well known. He is the president of the CSP Sacramento Fallen Officers Fund, and has supported other institutions in the growth of this network.
CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz, DAPO Director Jeff Greene and former Division of Juvenile Justice Director Chuck Supple all spoke with conference attendees before the awards ceremony.