Jesse Montgomery | Chief of Operations
Jesse Montgomery was named chief of Operations for the Illinois Department of Corrections on February 1, 2012. A veteran employee of IDOC, Montgomery joined the agency as a correctional officer at Joliet Correctional Center in 1990 and was promoted to correctional sergeant in 1996. He became an administrative assistant at Joliet Correctional Center in 1997 and later was promoted to acting unit superintendent there in 1999. Montgomery was named assistant warden for programs at Pontiac Correctional Center in 1999, assistant warden of operations at Stateville Correctional Center in February 2000 and superintendent of Illinois Youth Center-Joliet in July 2000. He was appointed as deputy director of District 2 in May 2003. He later was named deputy director of the Parole Division in November 2004 before being appointed chief of the Parole Division in May 2007. Before his most recent position, Montgomery served as acting deputy director of the Northern District since May 2011, overseeing the operations of the Northern District reception and classification center, correctional centers and adult transition centers.
Montgomery is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He holds an associate’s degree in applied science from Prairie State College and a bachelor's degree with a minor in criminal justice from Governors State University.
Scope of Responsibilities
The chief of operations is responsible for the overall operations of adult institutions, Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and the operations center. The chief of operations is also responsible for the coordinating of all death row transports and oversees escape risk designations for all incarcerated felons.
Safety is at the forefront of the agency's operations. The department's emphasis is placed on front line staff to protect and control inmates. A number of initiatives designed to ensure the safety of employees and inmates have yielded significant results. Among those are control and order. To ensure control and order, security level designations, controlled inmate line movement, inmate property boxes and other enhanced securities initiatives, such as the increased monitoring of security threat groups (STGs), have created a more secure prison system. Improved technology also defines the way IDOC safely operates its facilities. Security functions include regular and random shakedowns and searches of cells, inmates, employees, vehicles, visitors and common areas.
The Operations Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a statewide command center for any critical situation. The center is quipped with state-of-the-art technology. The command center also supports parole agents and other law enforcement agencies by providing a wide variety of inmate data, such as addresses, offender tracking system (OTS), juvenile tracking system (JTS), LEADS, inquires and criminal history. The center also provides support through the automated management system, which involves the issuing and cancellation of warrants. The Operations Center has increased the safety and security of parole agents, and offenders, as well as that of the general public through the tracking of offender transports and extraditions.
Special Operations Team
The Special Operations Team (SORT) is a statewide unit that responds to the operational needs of the department during routine or critical incidents. SORT ensures the safety and security of inmates, staff and the public by enforcing the IDOC policy of zero tolerance for drugs, contraband and violence within its facilities. In order to maintain the safety and security of all areas within IDOC, all or part of the following specialized teams are used, all of which comprise the SORT.
NEMAT or the department's Statewide Hostage Negotiation Team is under the umbrella of SORT so that all emergency response teams could work and train together and have consistency and structured leadership. Negotiators from all areas including Programs, Security, Juvenile, Adult, Parole, and Women and Family Services were added to the team to promote continuity.
The Canine Unit is used during reportable and unusual situations. Duties performed include the detection of drugs and weapons, tracking and recovery and building and area searches are conducted to ensure the security and safety of the public during escapes, hostage situations, riot conditions and to assist with the operational needs of the department during routine and critical incidents.
A facility Tactical Unit is maintained at all IDOC adult institutions. The Tactical Units are not considered a full-time responsibility. Tactical team members are responsible for fulfilling obligations of their full-time positions when not serving in an emergency situation. Tactical Units train monthly on marching and formations, use of force, chemical agents, dealing with riots and disturbances, forced cell moves and other specialized training.
The Tactical Response Team/Special Weapons Team is readily available for immediate activation and substantial mobilization to respond to the operational needs of the department during routine or critical incidents. During these reportable and unusual situations, the Statewide Tactical Response Team/Special Weapons Team is used to provide high-level transport, hostage rescue, fugitive apprehension and riot control, thereby helping to ensure the safety and security of the public during escapes, hostage situations, riot conditions and high-level transfers.
The Sniper/Observer Unit is deployed to maintain the security and safety within the facilities as necessary. The Sniper/Observer Unit responsibilities include observation skills, intelligence gathering, intricate and meticulous attention to detail and expert marksmanship skills as required in a hostage rescue situation.