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Correctional Officers Week: A look inside the Alachua County Jail

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Correctional officers witness what most people see on TV. This week is dedicated to recognizing those in the trenches—guarding those behind bars.

“You can get hurt, because the inmates know you, they watch you,” said Bradley Provencher, a detention officer at the Alachua County Jail.

“There’s always a possibility that you can get hurt,” said Dawn Bacon, a detention officer at the Alachua County Jail. “But I think everybody that takes on this job and puts on this badge kind of puts that behind them.”

From the minimum petty theft to the maximum of murder, these officers see it all. They say the most dangerous part of the job is the unpredictability.

“You can have all kinds of stuff that at just a moment’s notice goes down,” said Stephen Taylor, a detention deputy at the Alachua County Jail. “It completely changes the tempo of your job.”

“It’s not the type of job you want just to get a paycheck,” said Malcolm Williams, a detention officer at the Alachua County Jail. “It can definitely alter your life if you’re not on top of your ps and qs and how you should act around this type of environment.”

They put themselves in harms way by doing their job to a tee, ensuring those behind bars stay there and those in the public are safe.

“The possibility of making a mistake, and someone being let out that’s not supposed to be, that is the biggest danger,” Taylor said.

Working 12 hours a day with the people who have your back has created a family within the Alachua County Jail, and they say that is what brings them back to work everyday.

"We see each other more than we see our family,” said John Hoover, an administrative sergeant at the Alachua County Jail. “We all have a good comradery. We're always there for each other with brotherhood and sisterhood."

"Corrections in general is a big family because it's a job not many people want to do,” Provencher said. “So we all look out for each other and help each other the best we can."

This week the community has treated this family with days of food, ice cream and gratitude. All to honor those who protect the public locked in with the people who are a danger to the public.

STEPHEN: “This really is a job I do recommend,” Taylor said. “It’s a big family. The comradery is awesome.”

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