News Releases


The California Department of Corrections (CDC) honored 67 of its employees for acts of heroism and outstanding service while on duty and in the community. The employees—men and women, peace officer and civilian—were selected from facilities through the state.

Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Robert Presley and CDC Director C. A. Terhune presented the heroism medals and awards and the awards for the Correctional Supervisor and Officer of the Year.


The medal of valor is the department’s highest award, earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. The employee shall display great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril and with full knowledge of the risk involved. The act should show professional judgment and not jeopardize operations or the lives of others.

Correctional Officer Henry Scruggs, from California Institution for Men, is awarded the Medal of Valor for risking his life to save another.

On April 28, 1999, as Officer Scruggs was leaving a Los Angeles store, he heard what he thought were three gunshots. Chased by an assailant armed with a small revolver, a man ran into the store after being shot and seriously wounded. Officer Scruggs identified himself as a peace officer and drew his firearm to protect himself, the wounded man and others inside the store.

Officer Scruggs noticed a van parked across the street with the assailant and two others inside trying to make a getaway. He called for 911 assistance and made his way toward the van. He displayed his badge and firearm, while telling the van occupants that he was a peace officer and ordered them to put their hands up. He detained the suspects at gunpoint, and an off-duty Los Angeles police department officer came to Scruggs’ assistance. Shortly thereafter, uniformed officers arrived on the scene to arrest the suspects.

Officer Scruggs displayed remarkable courage in the face of danger, and risked his life to save another. Officer Henry Scruggs is being honored today for putting the life of another person before his own.

Firefighter Richard White, California Institution for Women, is honored today with the Medal of Valor for placing the life of another before his own.

On his way to a dental appointment on July 2, 1999, Richard White noticed smoke coming from a house and a woman and her child running out yelling ‘fire’. He immediately stopped, identified himself as a fireman, and asked someone to call 911. After determining that the fire was in the rear of the residence, he discovered that there were two other children still in the house.

White went into the house and went down the hall, as smoke poured out of the dining room. He opened a bedroom door and spotted one of the children and told the child to get out of the house and called for the other child. He heard the child yell, ‘there’s smoke in here,” and told the child to come near the door and to stay low.

After the second child crawled out of the bedroom toward him, white escorted the children out of the house. Once out of the house, white tried to put out the fire with a garden hose, but the hose was cut. His attempts at using the backyard hose proved equally difficult without sufficient water pressure. The fire chief and crew arrived on scene to extinguish the fire.

Were it not for Mr. White’s courage and disregard for his own safety, the children inside the house could have died. He is commended here today for placing the life of another before his own.

Efigenia Roszko, Correctional Counselor I, California Medical Facility is honored today with the Medal of Valor for her quick thinking and heroic actions.

On September 12, 1999, Efigenia Roszko was driving westbound on interstate 80 near American Canyon road in Solano County. Suddenly, a speeding car passed her and swerved to her right off the freeway, hitting the side of a hill, rolling over and landing on its roof in the path of oncoming traffic. A wheel flew off the damaged vehicle and hit her car, but she managed to pull it to the shoulder. Despite the clear danger involved, Roszko crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic to come to the aid of the crash victims.

She noticed two adult passengers fleeing the scene in different directions, leaving a baby still in its car seat. Smelling gasoline and concerned that the car might catch fire or be hit by an oncoming vehicle, she helped the child out of the car seat and moved him to a safe area. The child sustained a head wound and Roszko applied first aid until paramedics arrived.

Were it not for Efigenia Roszko’s quick thinking and heroic actions, the child may not have survived in the path of oncoming traffic. We honor her today for her bravery.

Correctional Officer Robert G. Barron, Correctional Training Facility, is honored today with the Medal of Valor for defusing a potentially dangerous situation.

On March 19, 1999, Officer Barron responded to what he thought was a robbery, after seeing several men run from a store, one of whom was holding a large knife. With disregard for his own safety, Officer Barron followed the subjects and caught up with them. He identified himself as a peace officer and ordered the man to put down the knife. Barron repeated the request several times but the man refused and instead approached Barron.

Officer Barron drew his handgun and identified himself as a peace officer. The suspect continued to ignore Barron’s commands, and instead taunted Barron with demands that Barron shoot him. Ultimately, the suspect agreed to sit down with Officer Barron and discuss the matter. Shortly thereafter, a sheriff’s deputy arrived and arrested the suspect.

Officer Barron’s professionalism and valor defused a potentially dangerous situation. His actions are a credit to the department, and he is honored today with the medal of valor.

Warehouse Property Controller Jeff Bonnet from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison is awarded the Medal of Valor displaying courage and dedication in the face of peril, and risked his life to save another.

Jeff Bonnet and his family were on vacation on a hot July day in 1999, enjoying the Colorado River’s scenic beauty. The wind was strong and the current was flowing fast. Passing a boat on the other side of the river, bonnet’s wife saw a woman waving frantically. As he pulled their boat closer to the other, bonnet spotted a man without a life vest trying to swim upstream to the boat. The man was pushing a small boy ahead of him.

Bonnet tried to rescue the man but the man slipped under the water. After the man resurfaced, bonnet realized the man was exhausted and couldn’t respond to directions. Bonnet jumped into the river and grabbed him as he came up a second time and the man went limp. Bonnet’s wife brought the boat back just as the wind and current began to carry the two men downstream. Bonnet and his wife first brought the man and then his son into their boat.

The rescued man was so exhausted that he couldn’t talk for awhile, but eventually told bonnet that he was completely spent from trying to swim upriver and push his son ahead. Mr. Bonnet displayed courage and dedication in the face of peril, and risked his life to save another.


The Corrections Star (Gold) medal is the Department’s second highest award for heroic deeds under extraordinary circumstances. The employee shall display courage in the face of immediate peril in acting to save the life of another person.

Assistant Information Systems Analyst William O’Rafferty, Valley State Prison for Women

While visiting his family in California City last November, O’Rafferty heard a cry for help from a neighbor’s home. When he responded to the cry, he discovered a woman, covered in blood from numerous wounds. He instantly applied pressure to stop the bleeding, while instructing his son to call 911.

Speaking little English, the woman told O’Rafferty that her husband was still in the house. Unsure if the woman’s husband had inflicted the injuries, O’Rafferty asked his son to close the front door and back away from the house. O’Rafferty continued applying first aid to the stricken woman until help arrived. When police came and searched the house, they found the woman’s husband inside dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

O’Rafferty’s quick thinking and courage enabled the woman to recover from her wounds and possibly saved her life.


The Corrections Star (Silver) medal is the department’s third highest award for acts of bravery under extraordinary or unusual circumstances. The employee shall display courage in the face of potential peril while saving or attempting to save the life of another person or distinguish him/herself by performing in stressful situations with exception tactics or judgment.

Correctional Sergeant Daniel Perez, California Institution for Men

Sergeant Perez was on his way home from work at the California Institution for Men on Oct. 31, 1999, when he came upon the scene of an accident between a truck and a motorcycle. No one was administering first aid, so Sergeant Perez to assist the motorcyclist. He instructed the victim to lie still, as he had sustained multiple injuries including a serious leg wound. Sergeant Perez retrieved a blanket from his car and covered the victim.

While doing so, he noticed that the victim was wearing green pants and black boots and identified himself as correctional Officer Burt from the California Rehabilitation Center. Sergeant Perez told the victim that he worked a nearby prison and that he would take care of him until assistance arrived.

Once assistance arrived and Sergeant Perez provided vital information to the Highway Patrol, he informed the watch commander at the California Rehabilitation Center of the accident and suggested that officer Burt’s family be notified. Later at the hospital, Sergeant Perez learned from the attending physician that officer Burt had to have his wounded leg amputated. Thanks to Sergeant Perez’s quick thinking and first aid assistance, Officer Burt is alive today. We commend him for his spirit of goodwill and professional demeanor.

Correctional Officer Douglas Roe, California Medical Facility

While assigned to an outpatient psychiatric housing unit at the California Medical Facility, Officer Roe witnessed an inmate pursuing another, one with blood on his arms and clothing. Officer Roe immediately activated his personal alarm and drew his baton. The attacker had cornered the victim and began slashing him with a razor blade.

The victim broke away from his attacker, at which time the attacker turned his attention to Officer Roe. With his baton drawn, Roe took a protective step towards the attacker, standing between the victim and the attacker and placing himself in danger. Officer Roe ordered the attacker to drop his weapon and lie face down on the floor. The attacker complied and responding staff members restrained him.

Correctional Officer Roe’s prompt actions prevented additional injuries to the victim and may have saved his life. By placing himself between the victim and attacker, Officer Douglas Roe displayed great courage in the face of immediate danger.

Medical Technical Assistant Bonnie Salma, California Medical Facility

While shopping at a department store in Suisun on June 2, 1999, Bonnie Salma noticed a man lying on the floor who was not breathing. While an employee began one-person cardiopulmonary resuscitation, she offered her assistance. After a few cycles, the victim began breathing on his own, but soon lost that ability. Salma and the store employee resumed CPR. The man began breathing once again, but he was having severe difficulty breathing. His lips and teeth were almost closed, making ventilations nearly impossible.

Salma ran to her car, calling on a fireman at the scene to help with CPR. She retrieved a mask-shield and was able to reposition the man’s head and to place it over the man’s mouth to get better ventilation. It worked! He began breathing much better just as the ambulance arrived. The man had had a heart attack and was in intensive care for several weeks.

Bonnie Salma is honored here today for actions above and beyond her duties as a medical technical assistant. Her selflessness and quick thinking deserve high praise and recognition.

Materials and Stores Supervisor II Gary D. Presley, Corcoran State Prison

On a rainy March 15, 1999, Gary Presley came upon an overturned truck whose driver had lost control of the truck on the rain-slicked highway just north of Corcoran State Prison. Seeing the accident, Presley turned around and found the driver pinned underneath the truck cab with only his legs showing. The engine was running and fuel was igniting a fire. Mr. Presley climbed into the truck and saw the driver lying in the cab’s door opening. He covered the driver with his coat to keep him warm.

Presley immediately returned to his car, called 911 on his cellular telephone, and quickly returned to the truck driver. Within minutes, Kings County and Corcoran Police Department emergency units arrived on the scene. Calling for an air ambulance, the police department blocked a portion of Highway 43 to use as a landing zone.

While emergency crews were extracting the driver from his truck, Presley took it upon himself to get the name and phone number of the trucking company for whom the driver worked. He called Martinez Hay Haulers in Lemoore and advised them of the accident.

Presley’s quick thinking and immediate action to assist the driver and contact emergency medical personnel prevented further injuries to the driver and worry to the trucking company. He is honored today for disregarding his own safety in attempting to save the life of another.

Correctional Lieutenants George King and Calvin Smith, Correctional Counselor Joan Arthur, and Supervising Nurse Felix Abu, Mule Creek State Prison

In the early morning of August 25, 1999, Lieutenants King and Smith, Counselor Arthur and Supervising Nurse Abu witnessed a single-car accident on their way to work. The three occupants suffered serious injuries after their car rolled over and came to a stop upside-down.

They stopped to render assistance. Gasoline was spilling from the vehicle and the potential of an explosive fire was great. The three wreck victims suffered serious injuries, but one was trapped and unable to escape the car. Working together quickly and with total disregard for their safety, the four approached the wreck site, carefully extracted the victim.

They comforted and assisted other family members and summoned emergency medical staff. It was only after the three victims were in the safe hands of the emergency crew did they continue their journey to the prison. Despite their valiant efforts, the crash victim died later as a result of his injuries.

For their courage and compassion and for total disregard for their own safety, Lieutenants George King and Calvin Smith, Correctional Counselor Joan Arthur and Supervising Nurse Felix Abu are honored today.

Correctional Officer Charles Padgett, Mule Creek State Prison

After witnessing an accident between a school bus and a truck on February 10, 1999, Officer Padgett stopped to render assistance. The driver and her daughter were severely injured, with the daughter’s leg being completely destroyed and suffering other injuries, and her mother trapped behind the steering wheel.

He calmly reassured them that help was on the way, listening to the young girl as she spoke about the pain in her leg. He wasted no time in helping the emergency crew unload and set up the life support equipment. He helped to assemble the various hoses, couplers and power generator for the pneumatic rescue device that eventually freed the two victims. When additional medical assistance arrived, Padgett began pulling the numerous pieces of wreckage away from the victims’ bodies.

It was only after the two accident victims were in the safe hands of the emergency crew did Officer Padgett continue his journey to Mule Creek State Prison. It is for his heroic actions and humanitarian efforts that we honor Correctional Officer Charles Padgett today.

Correctional Officer Michael Morris, North Kern State Prison

Even on his yearly vacation, Correctional Officer Michael Morris displayed the courage of a true professional.

Morris was part of ‘strike team’ of volunteer firefighters from Tulare County and the California Department of Forestry responding to the devastating Northern California fires in August 1999. The strike team was to protect a group of homes atop a ridge in Butte County near Oroville Dam, where the fire was expected to come through the area the team was assigned to protect.

The fire suddenly came right to one of the houses the team was protecting. Officer Morris directed one of the teams to concentrate on one side of the house while his team worked on the other side. The teams saved the structures.

Later that same day, the team heard an explosion from the direction of a mobile home located in a heavily wooded area. As Officer Morris’s team moved their fire engine closer, another structure on the property was burning and endangered the engine. Without any assistance, Officer Morris held the fire hose, enabling the fire engine to get out of the path of the fire. The mobile home was also saved.

The fire captain credited Officer Morris for personally saving both houses, noting that Officer Morris has been involved as a volunteer fire fighter since he was age 17. Officer Michael Morris is honored today for his courage and unselfishness in fighting fires during the ‘California fire siege of 1999’.

Correctional Officer David Barzelay, California State Prison, Sacramento

Two inmates at California State Prison, Sacramento, were stabbing another inmate on the small side yard of Facility B on April 5, 1999. Officer Barzelay responded quickly to the scene and physically pulled one of the inmates off of the inmate being stabbed, while verbally ordering the third inmate to stop the assault. The two inmates assaulting the third had inmate-manufactured stabbing weapons.

Officer Barzelay placed himself in harm’s way, and his quick and decisive actions prevented the perpetrators from inflicting serious or lethal injuries to the third inmate. He single-handedly stopped the serious assault, preventing further injuries to the involved inmates, other inmates and facility staff. Correctional Officer David Barzelay is being honored today for his professional and heroic actions in saving an inmate’s life without regard for his personal safety.

Correctional Officer Albert Macias, Southern Transportation Unit, North Kern State Prison

On June 5, 1999, two gang members were in a stolen vehicle being chased by Ontario Police Officer Brian Hurst. After a short pursuit, the 19-year-old driver, who was on felony probation, fled on foot. During this foot chase, off-duty Correctional Officer Macias drove by and asked Officer Hurst if he needed any help.

After receiving a positive reply, Officer Macias immediately drove past the suspect, cutting him off. Officer Macias jumped from his own car and placed a control hold on the suspect, taking him into custody without incident. As it turned out, the suspect was wanted for a burglary that had just occurred in nearby Rancho Cucamonga.

Officer Macias’s actions clearly aided Officer Hurst in apprehending the fleeing suspect. Without his quick-thinking and unselfish actions in assisting another peace officer, the suspect may have evaded capture. We honor Correctional Officer Albert Macias today for his bravery and professionalism.


The Corrections Star (Bronze) is the Department’s award for saving a life without placing oneself in peril. The employee shall have used proper training and tactics in a professional manner to save, or clearly contribute to saving, the life of another person.

Correctional Officer Joseph R. Castillo, California Correctional Center

During the April 11, 1999, controlled feeding of a group of inmates on the prison’s Lassen Unit Level III yard, an inmate with a slashing device assaulted another inmate. During the attack, the inmate under attack sustained two severe lacerations to his throat and cheek, requiring 24 sutures.

Officer Castillo quickly recognized the volatile situation and the extent of the inmate’s injuries. He isolated the inmate from others, while controlling the injured inmate’s bleeding. He radioed for medical staff and ordered all inmate movement on the yard to cease. Officer Castillo stayed with the injured inmate and continued his efforts to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wounds until medical staff arrived.

Correctional Officer Joseph Castillo is honored today for his outstanding actions in controlling a serious and volatile incident. He not only provided safety to the victim and possibly others, but secured the crime scene. Officer Castillo’s exemplary achievements reflect credit on himself and the department.

Correctional Sergeant William Teesdale and Correctional Sergeant Philip Trupe, California Correctional Institution

On September 18, 1999, while assigned as the Unit I Unit sergeants, Correctional Sergeants William Teesdale and Philip Trupe responded to a medical emergency. An inmate had suffered a severe heart attack and was lying unconscious on the bathroom floor.

Sergeants Teesdale and Trupe assisted the medical technical assistant in placing the inmate on a gurney and rushing him to the unit I medical clinic. The inmate had no pulse and was not breathing when he reached the clinic. Both sergeants began cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the ambulance staff arrived. The CPR succeeded, and after surgery and a month-long hospitalization, the inmate recovered and was returned to the institution.

Were it not for Correctional Sergeant William Teesdale and Correctional Sergeant Philip Trupe, the inmate probably would have died. We honor them today for their heroic and selfless act.

Electrician II Gary Warner, California Correctional Institution

In May 1999, a California Correctional Institution inmate on an outside work detail collapsed from an apparent heart attack. As he was working nearby, Electrician Gary Warner came to the assistance of others in administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and in transporting the inmate to a more suitable location.

Placing his personal safety at risk, Warner performed ‘rescue breathing’ on the stricken inmate for more than five minutes. Warner knew of the potential of contacting one of the hepatitis or aids viruses, but did not hesitate in starting CPR.

The Department honors Gary Warner today for his selflessness in coming to the assistance of another.

Medical Technical Assistants Robert Gonzaludo and Shawn Hawkes, Centinela State Prison

On their way home from Centinela State Prison on April 18, 1999, Robert Gonzaludo and Shawn Hawkes noticed a vehicle ahead of them begin to drift. The vehicle slowly drifted from the slow lane into the fast lane, and eventually swerved off the road. It collided with a large boulder and rolled over.

They immediately stopped their vehicle to assess the situation and summoned emergency medical assistance. As they approached the car, they recognized the sole occupant as Centinela Correctional Officer Darvin Jennings, who had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel.

Working together, the pair began to administer first aid and comfort to Officer Jennings, who was still conscious and suffering from severe pain. Within a few minutes, a physician stopped to assist, and following his instructions, the two men extracted officer Jennings from his vehicle, ensuring the stability of his head, neck and back. When medical assistance arrived, Gonzaludo and Hawkes assisted them in further immobilizing the injured officer and moving him out of harm’s way.

We honor today Medical Technical Assistants Robert Gonzaludo and Shawn Hawkes today for their courageous acts. Without their assistance, Officer Darvin Jennings might not be alive today.

Correctional Officer David Koludrovic, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

While in the process of releasing inmates in his housing unit for the evening yard on January 27, 1999, Correctional Officer David Koludrovic was alerted to an emergency on the other side of his unit. Officer Koludrovic responded immediately and saw an inmate placing a noose made of bed sheets around his neck. He yelled for the inmate to stop and ran to the upper tier, while activating his personal alarm.

Just as Officer Koludrovic arrived, the inmate jumped from the upper tier in an attempt at suicide. Officer Koludrovic reached over the railing, grabbed the back of the inmate’s jumpsuit, and pulled him back over the railing. Officer Koludrovic not only opened himself to the danger of being pulled over the railing, but ultimately saved the inmate’s life. Officer Koludrovic acted so quickly that the inmate received no injuries.

Correctional Officer David Koludrovic’s immediate response to save the life of another, with disregard for his own safety, reflects the best in professionalism and concern for others. We are proud to honor him today.

Correctional Sergeant Gary Spears, Correctional Officer Dale Paugh and Correctional Officer Edward Popke,Sierra Conservation Center

Correctional Sergeant Spears and Correctional Officer Paugh were traveling separately on December 3, 1999, when they came upon the scene of an accident. It was during commute time in the late fall darkness. They were to play a pivotal role in preventing further injuries to the victims—including a fellow correctional officer.

An elderly woman turned into the path of Correctional Officer John Popke and their vehicles collided head-on causing extensive damage and injury to both drivers. The accident blocked one lane of the two-lane road, causing motorists to veer around the accident scene. Officer Popke had to break his steering wheel to extricate himself from his vehicle. Once free, he immediately attempted to render aid to the elderly woman. He was hampered in his efforts as he had suffered sprained hands and a broken finger.

Correctional Officer Dale Paugh arrived at the scene and continued to administer first to the elderly woman. Officer Popke called 911 and attempted to slow down oncoming traffic and direct it around the accident.

Correctional Officer Gary Spears also came across the accident and immediately began assisting in directing traffic, putting himself in harm’s way. He took Officer Popke’s flashlight and ensured that the officer to sit down and away from the danger zone. Sergeant Spears placed flares to slow down the traffic.

The men from Mule Creek State Prison—Correctional Sergeant Gary Spears and Correctional Officers Dale Paugh—are honored today for coming to the aid of a fellow officer and other victims without concern for their own safety. We also honor Correctional Officer Edward John Popke for his life-affirming efforts despite his injuries.

Stationary Engineer John Allred, San Quentin State Prison

Though it was out of his way and he was doing a favor for his daughter, John Allred, a stationary engineer at San Quentin State Prison, pulled into a gas station in Pittsburg and discovered all but one of the pumps were full. He discovered a van that was parked rather oddly with a group of people were gathered around it, with one person shaking the driver, yelling ‘wake up, wake up, man!’ others thought the man had overdosed.

As Allred ran to the van, he noticed a man in his late 40’s with his head back over the back of the seat, arms at his side. The onlookers stood there, believing the man was dead and that they didn’t know what to do.

Allred knew exactly what to do. As he opened the van door, he got a good look at the driver. Indeed he looked dead: ashen, his lips, eyelids and ears were purple, and his eyes were rolled back in their sockets. He tried to get a pulse with no success, and the man was not breathing. After dragging the man to the rear of the van, Allred laid the man flat on his back, ripped open his shirt and loosened his pants. He began an external heart massage.

A bystander asked what he could to do help, and Allred showed him how to perform an external heart massage. Allred then positioned the man’s head and opened the mouth and checked the tongue. He pulled out a partial dental plate and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. While administering CPR, the man regained consciousness. The ambulance arrived soon after and transported the man to a local hospital.

Thanks to John Allred’s quick thinking and skill, the man is alive today. We honor him today with the Bronze Medal for his courage.

Correctional Captain Mark Perkins, Correctional Lieutenant John McAuliffe, Correctional Counselor II Alan Savwell, Associate Government Program Analyst Nancy Fitzpatrick, Program and Fiscal Audits Branch, CDC Office of Compliance

On February 22, 1999, Mark Perkins, John McAuliffe, Alan Savwell and Nancy Fitzpatrick were enroute to the Baker Community Correctional Facility in Southern California where they were to conduct an audit. As they drove toward the facility in Interstate Highway 15, the car immediately ahead of them suddenly rolled onto the left shoulder, rolled sideways in front of their car, and continued to roll nine times, plowing through the scrub and other brush of the desert.

The car landed on its roof and the two occupants tried to escape the vehicle. One received serious injuries, and the four employees assisted in removing the victims from their car, covered them with blankets, and retrieved personal items—including a purse—that were thrown from the vehicle.

After calling 911, the group immediately rendered assistance to the victims, and provided traffic control until the California Highway Patrol and medical aid arrived. When the highway patrol was on scene, they assisted the officer in securing neck braces for the victims.

Correctional Captain Mark Perkins, Correctional Lieutenant Alan Sawvell, Correctional Counselor John McAuliffe and Assistant Governmental Program Analyst Nancy Fitzpatrick are honored today for displaying highly professional and skilled responses to a dangerous situation that could have resulted in loss of life. Their quick actions reflected their willingness to assist and their commitment to duty. We honor them today for their bravery and professionalism.

Parole Agent I Jahan Naghshineh, Parole Region IV

On the evening of July 13, 1999, Agent Naghshineh was called at home about one of the parolees he supervises. The man was living at a board and care facility, had been drinking heavily and had not returned to the facility. Agent Naghshineh was aware of the psychological problems the parolee had and he was fearful for the life of the parolee. He notified his unit supervisor of his concern and received permission to locate the parolee in the community.

The next morning, Agent Naghshineh arrived at the parolee’s residence and searched the property. He went to an alley area where he found the parolee, naked on an abandoned couch, unconscious and not breathing.

Agent Naghshineh began CPR, and the man began breathing. The agent called the San Bernardino police department, who in turn contacted the fire department and paramedics. While waiting for the emergency crew, Agent Naghshineh took a bed sheet out of his vehicle and covered the parolee.

The emergency crew transported the man to Saint Bernadine’s hospital, where he remained in a coma for several days. When he came out of the coma, he admitted to Agent Naghshineh that he was trying to commit suicide and thanked him for saving his life.

The Department honors Parole Agent I Jahan Naghshineh for acting in an exemplary manner without regard for his personal safety in saving another’s life.


The Distinguished Service Medal is for an employee’s exemplary work conduct with the department for a period of months or years, or involvement in a specific assignment of unusual benefit to the department.

Assistant Information Systems Analyst, Supervisor, Tim Fites, California Correctional Institution

For more than 10 years, Analyst Tim Fites has consistently been finding innovative solutions to a variety of computer-related challenges at California Correctional Institution. He oversees the institution’s 300 computers, 150 printers, and numerous databases. Couple that with his responsibility for the more than 1,100 telephones, including monitoring the telephones for security breaches and inmate pay telephones, Fites consistently finds innovative solutions to save time and costs for maximum benefit to the institution.

One of his projects included designing the institution’s sick leave program, which improved the effective monitoring of overtime costs. He participates in institutional exercises to ensure the smooth operation of all telecommunication and computer equipment.

Fites spent significant time developing plan for the institution’s local area network, and installed mini-networks within the prison and one at the regional administrator’s office. He took the lead in numerous Y2K-related issues, during which he met all deadlines and exceeded requirements and expectations.

On behalf of the department, we are proud to recognize Tim Fites for his generous contributions to California Correctional Institution and for his outstanding work ethic.


The unit citation is for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances.

Correctional officer Lisa Baugh, Correctional Officer Rigoberto Fregoso, Correctional Officer Jesse Jackson, Correctional Officer Timika White, Calipatria State Prison

Calipatria State Prison was on a lockdown status due to ongoing incidents involving inmates of two ethic backgrounds. On February 14, 1999, Correctional Officers Baugh, Fregoso, Jackson and White were on duty in the Facility B housing unit and supervising inmates while they took showers.

Two inmates who had been secured in a shower managed to disable and open the shower doors. Both inmates were armed with inmate-manufactured weapons and ran toward another inmate who was restrained in handcuffs and under escort.

Officer Baugh chased one of the armed inmates and saw him throw his weapon into an empty cell. With the assistance of responding staff, she gained control of the inmate and placed him in restraints.

Officers Fregoso, Jackson and White placed themselves between the armed inmates and the inmate in restraints. The other armed inmate continued his advance toward the third inmate and Officers Fregoso, Jackson and White used their side-handled batons to strike the inmate, who then dropped his weapon. Again, with the assistance of responding staff, the three officers gained control of the inmate and placed him in restraints.

The Department honors these four Correctional Officers from Calipatria State Prison today—Lisa Baugh, Rigoberto Fregoso, Jesse Jackson and Timika White—who undoubtedly prevented serious injury to the inmate who was being attacked. Their quick action and disregard for their personal safety epitomizes the highest standards of the department.

Correctional Sergeant Daniel Peddicord and Correctional Officers Randy Abney, Miguel Avitia, Anthony Beasley, Marvin Benner, Daniel Darnall, James DeLong, Jed Duteil, Spencer Dyer, Mark Givich, Dee Hicks, Kenneth Holmes, Terrie Loflin, Kim Picco, Galvin Ratliff and Vincent Zumpano, High Desert State Prison

During an incident on November 22, 1999, at High Desert State Prison, nearly 60 inmates began a violent attack on staff members. Led by Sergeant Peddicord, the officers isolated and contained the incident, which prevented further injuries to staff members.

After a stabbing incident involving a group of inmates, the remainder of the inmates on the facility yard were ordered to submit to an unclothed body search for inmate-manufactured weapons. These inmates refused to comply. As the facility’s supervisory staff attempted to resolve the dispute through spoken communication, one of the inmates struck a sergeant in the jaw, setting in motion this major assault on staff.

These 15 correctional officers under Sergeant Peddicord’s command responded quickly and took appropriate actions—from administering pepper spray to using side-handled batons, from intervening between combative inmates to pulling inmates from the sergeant under attack. Several among them sustained injuries and continued to assist in quelling the disturbance and putting inmates into restraints.

The Department commends and honors these outstanding men and women today for their performance, team spirit and dedication during a critical time. Without their working together to contain this incident prevented a larger number of staff members sustaining more extensive injuries.

Correctional captain Steve Trevino, Correctional Counselor I Jennifer Jones, Office Technician Debra Adams, Wasco State Prison

On March 16, 1999, Office Technician Debra Adams received a call from a young woman identifying herself as the wife of an inmate at Wasco State Prison. Adams immediately realized that the young woman was despondent and possibly suicidal. Adams was able to gather more information about the young woman’s husband. After she took the necessary information, she referred the young woman to Correctional Counselor I Jennifer Jones.

Counselor Jones continued the dialogue. Using her training in negotiations to calm the woman, she gathered more information. During this stressful time, Counselor Jones kept the communications lines open until assistance could arrive.

Meanwhile, Adams contacted Captain Trevino and requested his assistance in locating the caller’s husband. The inmate was located and informed of his wife’s possible psychological condition. The inmate voluntarily provided Captain Trevino with information about where his wife lived.

Captain Trevino then contacted the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department that responded immediately and provided medical assistance. Subsequently, the young woman received some psychiatric assistance and evaluation. Some days later, the young woman contacted Counselor Jones to thank her, Captain Trevino and Miss Adams personally for going out of their way to assist her.

The Department salutes and recognizes Correctional Captain Steve Trevino, Correctional Counselor I Jennifer Jones, and Office Technician Debra Adams for their collective efforts, exceptional professional ability and resourcefulness in coming to the assistance of someone in need. They reflect the highest traditions of the department of corrections.

Substitute Academic Teacher Tim Handel, Wasco State Prison

Tim Handel was on his way to work on December 3, 1999, when he witnessed a traffic accident in which a pickup truck was flipped on its side. The driver had left her vehicle and was calling for assistance from her cell phone. Noticing that she was upset, he placed the call, explained the situation, and requested emergency assistance.

He then went to the pickup and determined that the driver could not open the passenger door and was trapped inside. After determining that the driver did not need medical assistance, Handel instructed the driver to relax and wait for the fire department to remove him from the truck. Each time the driver moved, the truck would rock back and forth, adding to the potential of the truck rolling over again and possibly injuring the driver.

Once the emergency crews arrived, Handel provided a description of the overall situation and extent of injuries. He told the ambulance crew of the woman’s possible neck injury and her difficulty in breathing.

The Department recognizes Substitute Academic Teacher Tim Handel today for his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. His actions no doubt comforted those in need of medical assistance.

Correctional Officer Drusilla Fernandez, Correctional Officer Rogelio Gonzales, Correctional Officer Johnnie Mae Washington, Central Transportation Hub, North Kern State Prison

Enroute to Wasco State Prison, Transportation Officers Drusilla Fernandez, Rogelio Gonzales, and Johnnie Mae Washington saw a home with part of its roof on fire. They immediately phoned 911 and stopped. With full knowledge of the potential for life-threatening peril, Officers Fernandez and Washington approached the house and began knocking on doors and windows, while shouting to alert any residents.

Meanwhile, Officer Gonzales found a garden hose and attempted to control the fire while awaiting the local fire crew. The local fire crew, however, had already responded to another fire and a fire crew from some 10 to 12 miles away were called.

Officers Fernandez and Washington were successful in waking the occupants and got them out of the house and to a safe area. Officer Gonzales continued to control the fire with the garden hose until the fire crew arrived and extinguished the blaze.

The Officers’ efforts minimized damage to the home and evacuated the residents to a safe area. We honor Correctional Officers Drusilla Fernandez, Rogelio Gonzales and Johnnie Mae Washington today. Their quick thinking and courage averted a possible tragedy.


The award goes to the employee who exemplifies the high quality of service the nation receives from its detention and correctional officers.

Correctional Sergeant Brian Pahel, California Institution for Men

Sergeant Brian Pahel, who has been with the Department for 15 years, began his career as a Correctional Officer at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad. After assignments with the California Institution for Men and with the Department’s Transportation Unit, he promoted to Sergeant and returned to the California Institution for Men.

Sergeant Pahel has been part of several important innovations at that institution, including responsibility for providing communications radios for all culinary staff. The prison’s large culinary physical plant and the distance between staff and the kitchens did not provide for effective communication. The radios proved to be an excellent solution. He also saved the institution more than $50,000 per year by issuing cups and flatware to each inmate when they arrived at the prison.

Sergeant Pahel enhanced the prison’s training program as an active instructor, and is currently the 7k training sergeant, a certified side handle baton instructor as well as a range instructor and the Special Emergency Response Team—or SERT– instructor. He frequently teaches classes at the SERT academy and his leadership skills and motivational methods are outstanding.

Involved in his community in several areas, Sergeant Pahel has been a little league coach for more than eight years. He also assists with the neighborhood youth programs and after school activities.

Sergeant Brian Pahel has brought invaluable contributions, knowledge and expertise to the department. His involvement and dedication to his career and community is valued and appreciated. Today we honor Sergeant Pahel as the California Department of Corrections’ Supervisor of the Year.


The award goes to the employee who exemplifies the high quality of service the nation receives from its detention and correctional officers.

Correctional Officer Jo-Ella Wright, California Institution for Men

Correctional Officer Jo-Ella Wright began her Corrections career in 1993 as a medical technical assistant at the California Institution for Men. She came to the Department after four years in the United States Air Force as a medical specialist. She became a Correctional Officer in 1996 and was recently promoted to Correctional Sergeant!

Sergeant Wright brought her extensive medical, military and correctional training to her positions at the prison. It greatly enhanced her performance in the HIV unit, an assignment she requested because of her background. She often took the lead in emergency situations, being aware of protections, precautions, and practices necessary when working with HIV inmates. She observed and reported changes in inmates’ medical conditions in time for positive medical intervention.

She was an advocate for the HIV unit in developing supervised walking programs and inmate work projects, enabling otherwise idle and/or depressed inmates to be productive and to assume a responsible role in their treatment regimens. She was a trainer and role model in effective custodial management for terminally ill and difficult inmates.

Sergeant Wright has played significant roles in life saving situations. She observed an unconscious aids ward inmate, alerted staff to summon assistance, and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the inmate for more than 30 minutes. She came to the assistance of auto accident victims, rendering immediate trauma care to the couple, diverting traffic, and remaining with the couple until emergency assistance arrived.

Sergeant Jo-Ella Wright’s contributions and dedication to the department are well recognized and much appreciated. Her innovations and caring manner are felt throughout the Corrections community. We honor and recognize her today as the California Department of Corrections’ Correctional Officer of the Year.