Beyond the Badge

Duenas brothers proudly wear badge

Brothers wearing correctional officer uniforms at the training center.
Correctional Officer brothers Lorenzo, left, and Gilbert Duenas at the Correctional Training Center.

Brothers carry on grandfather’s law enforcement legacy

Brothers in family are now brothers in badge after Lorenzo Duenas graduated with Academy Class 1-23A, joining older sibling Gilbert Duenas.

While the Duenas brothers are the only members of their family working at CDCR, they were influenced by their grandfather’s career.

“Our family roots in law enforcement stem from our step-grandfather who was a Stockton Police officer for 30 years,” Gilbert said. “He passed when we were young but I know he would be proud of us today. I hope to have future generations of our family be able to serve and protect the public.”

The eldest brother is a correctional officer at California Medical Facility and has worked for the department since 2020. Last year, he proudly announced Lorenzo’s acceptance into the academy.

Community involvement began before badge pinning

The pair took part in a 2022 marathon for the Sacramento Run with the Cops with both brothers running with the CMF team. Now, Lorenzo will be working at the institution.

“At the time (of the marathon), he was a soon-to-be cadet. I’m happy to say he graduated in the latest class,” Gilbert said. “We will soon be working at the same institution and I couldn’t be happier.”

Gilbert said he became a correctional officer to set an example.

“I want to be a role model to not only those incarcerated but to the community as well. Correctional officers are unique. We keep the bad from the good and help those who want help to get better,” he said.

Proud is the word Gilbert Duenas uses when describing his younger brother.

“Lorenzo is a great person and I know he’ll do great things. I was with him all the way from submitting his application and to graduation,” he said. “I know he will use good judgment, be fair, firm and consistent and always remember his training.”

Lorenzo echos his older brother’s reasons for joining the department.

“To work for CDCR means that I have career opportunities,” he said. “(With these) opportunities I can now use all of my skills to finally to help those around me to the best of my ability, and help serve my community.”

Academy was a fulfilling experience for Cadet Duenas

With the Academy behind him, Lorenzo said it was a great experience.

“Academy life was challenging but rewarding,” he said. “From physical training in the mornings to study sessions at night, the camaraderie we built really made us determined to pass all obstacles. Company Commander Sgt. I. El Tareb quickly became a role model for me and others for Class 1-23A.”

Lorenzo said the training was top-notch.

“I enjoyed all the one-to-one time he gave as well as the other instructors who were able to help teach cadets from arrest and control to Range. Each subject was always taught by those with patience and understanding,” he said.

CDCR recruitment team impresses

The recruitment team, Academy instructors and the Office of Peace Officer Selection also impressed Gilbert.

“They’ve been so helpful with Lorenzo, all the way to graduation,” he said. “Working as a peace officer for the department is a dream come true for both of us and we are so excited for the future.”

Lorenzo credits recruiter, Lt. V. Melendez with guiding him through the process.

“I didn’t have a full grasp of what the department had to offer. I met a now-Lieutenant who really was able to guide me and was helpful with all my questions from my first stages of the hiring process all the way to graduation. I now have more connections than ever before,” he said.

Gilbert Duenas said when someone is considering a correctional officer career, they should be open-minded.

“The advice I would give is that you be open and flexible, think and grow. Think about the officer you want to be and be true to yourself. Understand the job and how to be the best version of yourself. If you do this, the sky is the limit,” he said.

Interested applicants can apply online at

To learn more about the correctional officer selection process, watch this video.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Photos courtesy Officer Gilbert Duenas