STA students get hands-on experience

STA students get hands-on experience

Staff member demonstrates proper search techniques
STA class assists with cell searches
Corporal Smith speaks to STA students and team

Thirty new employees to NDCS received a unique, hands-on experience last week. Instead of reporting, as usual, to the Staff Training Academy (STA), they went to the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) to assist with cell searches.

“This was a great opportunity to gain institutional knowledge in a not so routine situation,” said Ken Sturdy, Training and Development Manager at STA. “We talk a lot at the academy about what can happen, but this was a real chance for them to see what it’s really like. It’s great exposure to the world of corrections that many might not see outside their normal line of work.”

Learning how to conduct a cell search is required training for all staff – regardless of job classification. First exposure is usually in a controlled, staged environment at STA. This time, they were called on to utilize their newly acquired skills in a real setting.

“It’s a much better experience. It’s a good chance to see what it’s really like,” said Corporal Blackwell, STA student.

Teams of two trainees were paired up with an experienced staff member who walked them through the proper way to conduct a search. They also learned what type of items to look for and where to look.

“In situations like this, it’s a perfect opportunity for new staff to get a good overview of how things should operate,” said Corporal Hampton Smith. “Teaming up experienced staff with new staff is a great example of leadership and a way to help others acquire skills needed in corrections.”

For those new staff members assigned to other facilities, this was an opportunity to be inside the penitentiary for the first time.

“It was a good experience,” said Case Worker Kussman, who will be working at the Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC). “It was good to get a chance to see the layout of the facility and cells and how things are set up, in case I get a chance to come help out in the future.”

“Seeing 30 staff walk in to our facility to assist with searches was a huge morale boost,” said Warden Michelle Wilhelm. “NSP staff did an amazing job of completing searches and working the needed overtime. But the additional assistance we received, including from the Staff Training Academy, really pulled us together as a department. The new employees had a great opportunity to get hands-on experience. Their contribution to the searches certainly enhanced the safety and security of the facility for staff and inmates. Their efforts truly kept everyone safe.”