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  4. IDOC and IDJJ recognize frontline staff and fallen heroes

IDOC and IDJJ recognize frontline staff and fallen heroes 

IDOC and IDJJ recognize frontline staff and fallen heroes

Featured are winners and nominees for the IDOC and IDJJ 2014 Officer of the Year. Top winners with plaques from left are Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach at District 3, Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara at Stateville Correctional Center, Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery at Logan Correctional Center, IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black at IYC Harrisburg and IDJJ Acting Director Candice Jones. (Not featured is IDJJ Aftercare Specialist Rachon Stovall).


SPRINGFIELD - May 6, 2014 - The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) held a ceremony today to recognize the departments’ past and present heroes.

Facility and district nominees, selected as the officer, agent or specialist of the year, were congratulated and five of the nominees received top honors from their divisions. The ceremony honored the memory of the IDOC and IDJJ fallen heroes, who died in the line of duty.

Highest honors were awarded in the categories of: Officer of the Year in the Adult Division, Officer of the Year in the Women and Family Services Division, Agent of the Year in the Parole Division, Juvenile Justice Specialist of the Year and Juvenile Justice Aftercare Specialist of the Year. Winners were chosen from a field of nominees, who were considered for the award by colleagues and supervisors at their respective work place. The overall winners were chosen by each of the departments' executive staff.

IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez and IDJJ Acting Director Candice Jones commended the efforts of frontline staff within their respective agencies.

“Promoting public safety and maintaining the safety, security and integrity of the Illinois Department of Corrections are the utmost goals of the agency. Our frontline employees are highly skilled and trained professionals, who serve the agency with steadfast commitment in carrying out its mission,” said Godinez. “Corrections employees face risks each and every day. Their bravery and vigilance are admirable as they provide security and programming. For these reasons and more, Governor Quinn has declared this week, May 4th through10th, Correctional Officers Week in Illinois to recognize the excellence of correctional employees. We are here today to commend our frontline staff and honor the memory of our fallen heroes named on the Memorial Wall for their commitment to public safety, their heroism and their leadership to the state of Illinois.”

“The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is committed to helping youth rehabilitate and become productive citizens,” said Jones. “The agency’s staff support the mission to encourage youth in making the right choices and becoming better individuals as they return to their families and communities. The department is dedicated to providing treatment, educational, vocational, social and emotional services to the state's incarcerated youth. The employees being recognized today are commended for their dedication and support toward this goal.”

Nominations for this year's awards recognize frontline staff at each of the state's facilities, juvenile centers and parole districts. This year's top five frontline employees were presented with recognition letters from the governor and the directors of IDOC and IDJJ, and a $500 check from the Employee Benefit Fund. The nominees are judged on leadership, initiative, professionalism and service to their community and career.

Employees receiving top honors during today’s ceremony are:

Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara at Stateville Correctional Center

Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara at Stateville Correctional Center was named Correctional Officer of the Year for the Adult Division. Featured from left are IDOC Assistant Director Gladyse C. Taylor, Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara, IDOC Director S. A. “Tony” Godinez and IDOC Chief of Operations Joseph Yurkovich.

Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara joined IDOC in 2008. Since joining the agency, Vergara has achieved a near-perfect attendance record. He has worked several posts throughout the facility and was appointed to its Internal Affairs Unit in 2012. He conducted investigations that developed new information and led to the prosecution of several inmates and time added to their sentences. Vergara also was diligent in discovering dangerous contraband and security threat group literature, resulting in its removal and helping to ensure a safer facility environment. He has been a certified tactical member for nearly five years, once assisting in the search and recovery of an escaped offender, who was apprehended without incident. In March 2013, he was named District 1 Internal Affairs Officer of the Year. Vergara exhibits characteristics of an exemplary officer. He is professional, intelligent, diligent and completes assigned tasks in an exceptional manner.











Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery at Logan Correctional Center

Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery at Logan Correctional Center was named the Correctional Officer of the Year for the Women and Family Services Division. Featured from left are IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery, IDOC Assistant Director Gladyse C. Taylor and IDOC Coordinator of Women and Family Services Division Margaret Burke.

Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery began her IDOC career in June 2012 as a correctional officer trainee at Logan Correctional Center and was certified as a correctional officer in January 2013. Montgomery has demonstrated the characteristics of an outstanding employee. In July 2013, she received information regarding possible drugs inside the facility and found approximately 1.5 grams of marijuana in an offender’s property. It has been noted by her supervisors that she is a quick study and conscientious. Montgomery’s many other attributes include her positive attitude, eagerness to learn, professionalism and commitment to team work. She has been appointed intelligence coordinator at Logan Correctional Center. Her performance and skills make her an asset to the facility as well as the Illinois Department of Corrections.











Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach at District 3

Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach at District 3 was named the Parole Agent of the Year. Featured from left are IDOC Deputy Chief-Greater Illinois Region Jason Garnett, IDOC Deputy Chief-Parole Reentry Group Arthur Sutton, IDOC Assistant Director Gladyse C. Taylor, IDOC Deputy Chief-District 1 Dion Dixon, Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach, IDOC Chief of Parole Darryl L. Johnson and IDOC Director S. A. “Tony” Godinez.

Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach is assigned to IDOC’s District 3 Sex Offender Supervision Unit. Gehlbach has spent endless days with assignments that include surveillance checks, GPS monitoring, sex offender registrations, sex offender treatment sessions, transports and violator reports. She even has spent her time off completing Automated Management System (AMS) notes and reports to maintain time frames and compliance of sex offenders; she then provides extensive detail in reports to her supervisor and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Gehlbach’s dedication to her job is reflected in her minimal use of time off. She is resourceful in using local law enforcement as resources and the court system to gain knowledge that is beneficial to her caseload. She is a valuable agent to the District 3 SOSU with her dedication and knowledge of the unit’s workings.









Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black at Illinois Youth Center Harrisburg

Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black at Illinois Youth Center Harrisburg was named the Juvenile Justice Specialist of the Year. Featured from left are IDJJ Deputy Director of Operations Jesse Montgomery, Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black, IDJJ Deputy Director of Aftercare Eva Moore, IDJJ Acting Director Candice Jones, IDJJ Chief of Staff Era Laudermilk and IDJJ Deputy Director of Programs Heidi Mueller.

Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black has worked security posts at Illinois Youth Center Harrisburg for more than 20 years. He is knowledgeable of his duties and responsibilities and the work he completes far exceeds expectations of the job. Black is punctual, dependable and completes every task with little or no direction. He is very involved in his children’s lives and is a strong advocate for youth athletics, donating time outside of work to coach Pony League baseball. Respected among professional colleagues and fellow volunteers, he has succeeded in coaching six all-star teams, two of which have advanced to National Pony Tournament. He is a junior high school athletic sponsor, a member of Bulldog Boosters, American Legion baseball sponsor, volunteer for Lincoln School recycling program, a former Boy Scout leader and reliable volunteer during numerous flood and tornado disaster cleanups. In 2010, Black received IYC Volunteer of the Year Award.










Aftercare Specialist Rachon Stovall

Aftercare Specialist Rachon Stovall is the ultimate professional, who is willing to extend herself to help her colleagues and to service the youth on her caseload. She brings a wealth of clinical skills and insight to her job, which allows her to accurately assess and “tune in” to her youth and their family situations. She is punctual for work and rarely takes time off. Stovall has managed to access resources and complete documentation ahead of schedule; her documentation is accurate and thorough. She eagerly seeks out supervision when she has questions and accepts correction and direction without hesitation. In an effort to better service youth and support her colleagues, Stovall has volunteered to serve as supervisor on days when the regular supervisor was unavailable. She is present and genuine. Additionally, her sincere interest in the welfare of her youth has earned her great respect among them and staff. This employee encouragingly engages youth by highlighting their strengths and, most of all, she holds them accountable in a fair, impartial way. Her work performance is in keeping with the department mission.

Nominees List for 2014

Adult Division

 Big Muddy River CC  Correctional Sgt. Michael Bowers
 Centralia CC  Correctional Officer Julia McCarty
 Danville CC  Correctional Officer David Lewis
 Dixon CC  Correctional Officer Rodney Kipping 
 East Moline CC  Correctional Officer Thomas Francis
 Graham CC  Correctional Officer Kenny Moore
 Hill CC  Correctional Sgt. Glenda Custer 
 Illinois River CC   Correctional Officer Alan Combites
 Jacksonville CC   Correctional Officer Ricky Davis
 Lawrence CC  Correctional Officer John Horton 
 Lincoln CC   Correctional Officer Aaron Leesman
 Menard CC  Correctional Officer Sarah Wooley 
 Pinckneyville CC   Correctional Officer Rudolph Depyatic
 Pontiac CC   Correctional Sgt. Paul Blackwell
 Robinson CC  Correctional Officer Lisa Clark 
 Shawnee CC  Correctional Lt. Kurtis Hunter
 Sheridan CC  Correctional Officer Catherine Moodie
 Southwestern Illinois CC   Correctional Officer Zach Payne
 Stateville CC  Correctional Officer Ambrosio Vergara
 Taylorville CC   Correctional Officer Matthew Huffman
 Vandalia CC   Correctional Officer Kevin Aukamp
 Vienna CC  Correctional Officer John Ramage
 Western CC   Correctional Officer William C. Garrett
 Peoria ATC   Correctional Residence Counselor I Stephen Collins

Women and Family Services Division

 Decatur CC   Correctional Officer William Doran
 Logan CC  Correctional Officer Dusty Montgomery
 Fox Valley ATC  Correctional Residence Counselor I Albert Diaz

Parole Division

 District 1   Senior Parole Agent Annastasia Smith      
 District 2  Senior Parole Agent Pete Paesani
 District 3  Senior Parole Agent Julie Gehlbach
 District 4  Senior Parole Agent Rocky Turner
 District 5  Senior Parole Agent Steve Peeples

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

IYC Chicago – Juvenile Justice Specialist Ronald Nwaru

IYC Harrisburg – Juvenile Justice Specialist Brent Black

IYC Kewanee – Juvenile Justice Specialist Jeff Peel

IYC Pere Marquette – Juvenile Justice Specialist Chad Burns

IYC St. Charles – Juvenile Justice Specialist Collie Jones

IYC Warrenville – Juvenile Justice Specialist Latricia Bynum

Aftercare Specialist Dr. Lisa Rembert

Aftercare Specialist Rachon Stovall