From retail stores to corrections: A journey to ACA certification.

Author:Alexandrian, Armen G.
Position:Certification Spotlight - American Correctional Association

Iwas born and raised in Cajun country in Lafayette, La. I am 32-years-old, married and enjoy the Cajun culture. I graduated from Lafayette High School in 2001 and attended one semester of college, but ultimately decided college was not for me. After graduating, I worked for Eckerd Drug Store Projects for approximately one year. My job entailed travelling throughout Texas and Louisiana opening new stores, remodeling current stores and closing old stores. During that time, I had a longtime friend who was currently working for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office in the correctional center, and he talked me into applying. Within several months, I began training to become a corrections deputy.

My full-time career with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office began in October 2001. At that time, the corrections deputy training was 90 hours and entailed two weeks of classroom training. Upon completion of the classroom training, deputies attended three days of on-the-job training in the correctional center before each deputy was assigned to a security shift. Current training for new corrections employees is up to four weeks, followed by another several weeks with a field training officer. Following the required training, I was assigned to B-shift, which was rotating days and nights, and then A-shift, which entailed working the night shift. While working on A-shift, I worked in all areas of the correctional center including the housing floors, intake and booking, property and recreation. I became very efficient in intake and booking, and my shift supervisors began to consistently keep me posted in that area. In July 2004, Sheriff Michael Neustrom wanted to implement a work release program within the corrections division. I was highly recommended by the jail commander, and after a rigorous selection process, I officially began working in the new position in July 2004. During that same year, I took the supervisors promotional exam and was selected as the first case manager supervisor for the work release program.

In August 2005, I was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to the work release program as a case manager. During this time, I reported to Captain Colby Barbier, and my responsibilities included supervision of the driver staff, security staff, fleet management, offender employment, disciplinary hearings for offenders, employer visits and customer service issues. Due to an influx of offenders in the local jail shortly after Hurricane...

To continue reading