AUGUSTA, Maine — Instructor Peter Couture of the Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta recently had several security staff from the Maine Department of Corrections speak to his law enforcement class about career options with the Maine Department of Corrections.
Speaking to the high school students were Sergeant Mark Clevette, Commander of MDOC’s Special Operations Group , and Correctional Officer-K9 Handlers Cpl. Richard Greene and Cpl. Brian Donahue. Corporals Green and Donahue had their K9 teammates with them: T.J. and Rex.
Instructor Couture said, “I do a law enforcement program that involves all entities of law enforcement, whether it’s local, Sheriff’s Department, State Police, Warden Service, Probation, Parole, Corrections. I bring in special guests. It gives the students a choice when they graduate from high school. The Correctional is a branch you can get in when you’re 18 versus the other law enforcement branches you’ve got to get in when you’re 21.”
Sergeant Clevette, a 22-year MDOC veteran, is now Commander of the Special Operations Group, a highly trained unit for responding to emergency situations such as hostage taking. “Everything we do now is all ‘hands off’,” Sgt. Clevette explained to the class. He demonstrated several pieces of C-SOG equipment. “We don’t go ‘hands on’ with the prisoners. The work of 30-35 correctional officers in taking back a room can now be handled by two C-SOG members,” Clevette told the class.
One student asked, “What does it take to become a K9 Handler?” Corporal Greene answered that it starts with about one year of service as a Corrections Officer with good standards, good work ethic. Then, Greene said, “you go through an Oral Board to see where your mindset is; to see what your experience level is.”
Eventually, he said, “you meet with the dog to see how you and the dog respond. There is a break-in period for the Handler and the dog to get to know each other. The bond has to be there. Then the team goes into a period of training and discipline,” Greene said.
For more information about a career in the Maine Department of Corrections, or to schedule MDOC staff to speak to your class or group, contact MDOC Personnel Officer Laurie A. Hayden:Laurie.A.Hayden@maine.gov or 287-4498.