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Sen. Greg Smith Thanks KDOC's 2014 Employees and Volunteers of the Year

by Cheryl Cadue last modified Jul 07, 2015 02:26 PM
Kansas Sen. Greg Smith of Olathe addressed the Employee and Volunteer of the Year Nominees Wednesay during the KDOC's annual ceremony held at the Topeka Correctional Facility. The text from his speech follows.
Sen. Greg Smith Thanks KDOC's 2014 Employees and Volunteers of the Year

Sen. Greg Smith spoke Wednesday at the KDOC's Employee of the Year ceremony.

Kansas Sen. Greg Smith

Topeka Correctional Facility - May 21, 2014

Thank you for allowing me to speak today. It is opportunities such as this that I look forward to. In Topeka we deal with policy issues that directly affect each of you. The conversations are sometimes heated as emotions come into play. The business of dealing with the aftermath of a crime is one that is influenced by moral standards, political philosophies, and religious beliefs. However, we, in the Legislature, are far removed from the daily operations of the corrections department. More likely than not some legislators have only a preconceived notion of what you do. 

My perspective of what you do is shaped by my life experience.  You secure some of the “worst of the worst,” of our society. One such person touched me and my family personally – the murderer of my daughter, Kelsey Smith. You have the great responsibility of overseeing him, and others like him –making sure that they can never again harm another innocent person. You put your lives on the line every day in that endeavor and receive little thanks for it. Let me say publicly to each and every one of you – “THANK YOU. You have my respect and admiration.  I appreciate what you do.” 

As a former public safety officer I strive to provide policy that allows you the freedom to do your job without cumbersome regulations. I serve on committees that deal directly with law enforcement, our courts, and our corrections system. I want you to have the resources you need to do your job safely, efficiently, and well. Your safety is my primary concern. 

I have made it my life’s goal to champion the cause of the crime victim, and - you - the people who protect us from those who victimize the innocent. There is no greater honor than to serve in the capacity that you do. I do my best to make sure that my constituents and all people of Kansas realize the excellence with which you perform your duties. Today we honor those who have been recognized as examples of that excellence.  I am thrilled to have a small part in this ceremony. 

I don’t need to tell you how hard your job is or the sacrifices that you make – not just you, but your families as well. This profession is one that encompasses the whole family, not just the correction officer, or the social worker, or the probation officer, or the administrator. So I thank your family members for sharing you with us and for the hardships they so willing endure. 

It is important that the citizens of Kansas realize what you do.  Keeping us safe is an arduous task. I bristle when I hear correction officers referred to as “guards.”  Guards observe and report.  Corrections Officers observe and act, both proactively and, sometimes, reactively, to keep others safe.  You are NOT guards.  You are professionals and your daily performance bears that out. 

Today, we honor the professionals – those that have gone above what is required, and who do so on a daily basis - hidden from public view and public accolades. This ceremony, in a small way, shows the public what you do, and how well you do it. 

There is always a risk of allowing an elected official a chance to address a gathering. Giving a captive audience, a microphone, and a platform to speak from to an elected official often leads to long and sometimes pompous speeches.  I only have 27 more pages to go. 

No, I wouldn’t do that. Today is about you – a celebration of your service, the fantastic work ethic that you have, and the many accomplishments you have achieved. 

So THANK YOU for all that you do, all that you endure, and for the public servant attitude that you display daily in keeping Kansans safe. You have my heartfelt gratitude. Congratulations to ALL the honorees and congratulations to each and every one of you for a job WELL DONE! 

Thank you.


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