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Issued: Friday 5 August 2016
Eight correctional officers who responded to a cell fire, stopping an attempt by inmates to take over their wing at Wellington Correctional Centre, have been honoured for their bravery in a special ceremony today.
Corrective Services NSW officers Troy Brien, David Wake, Graeme Hill and Michael Hollow, received the Minister's Commendation and Medal for Brave Conduct, and second-responding officers Nathan Sparkes, Daniel Baxter, Drew Stone and Mark Deguara received a Commissioner's Commendation.
Minister for Corrections David Elliott, Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant and Commissioner Peter Severin paid tribute to the officer's courage and professionalism.
On March 10, officers responded to a fire which had been deliberately lit by two inmates in an attempt to take control of the prison wing. They were forced to use tear gas to restrain the inmates when they attacked officer Graeme Hill.
"Correctional officers are our last line of defence. This medal is a small token of my appreciation to the officers who put their lives on the line," Mr Elliott said.
Mr Grant said the community was grateful for the courage shown by the officers.
Mr Wake, chief correctional officer and part of the specialist Immediate Action Team, said the incident showed the officers were "one step ahead of the criminals".
"We were just doing our job but it's always good to get recognition for the job and recognition for all people involved in Corrective Services," Mr Wake said.
Mr Brien, a senior correctional officer, who was the first in the cell, said it was a team effort. "At the end of the day you want to come home alive. You don't know when something can happen and you need to be ready."
Commissioner Severin said the camaraderie and teamwork highlights the values instilled in Corrective Services staff and a commitment to duty.
Broken Hill officer Craig Matten who rushed to the aid of a fellow officer being assaulted by an inmate, officers Mathew Singleton, David Tonkin, Dale Bates and Jamie Scott who provided first aid to an injured motorcyclist while transporting inmates this year, were also honoured for their bravery.