Delaware COs Hold Meeting With Correction Commissioner - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware COs Hold Meeting With Correction Commissioner

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DOVER, Del. -- Delaware correctional officers are holding a town-hall-styled meeting among themselves and Department of Correctional Commissioner Perry Phelps, a month after an inmate uprising at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna in which an officer died.

The meeting at the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware headquarters began Thursday night and offered rank-and-file officers an opportunity to speak with Phelps. Media outlets were barred from attending the session. WBOC requested to be able to sit in, but was not allowed to.

Prior to the meeting, COAD President Geoff Klopp said he said Phelps had the union's support and Thursday' meeting would allow COs to engage in honest dialogue but felt it could potentially be tense because officers are fearing for their safety following the Feb. 1 hostage situation, which saw the death of correctional officer Steven Floyd. 

"It's not safe. Staffing levels are as low as I've ever seen them in my career and I don't know what the answer is," he said.

The union and officers have long complained about issues like staffing levels and the practice of "freezing" staff members with overtime, leading to stressed and overworked COs.

"We haven't seen any action out of the governor's office on the compensation package we gave the governor's office a week ago," Klopp said.

A request to interview Phelps was declined by a DoC spokeswoman, who said he was not available for one. In a statement via email, Phelps said he is committed to working diligently on trying to address officers' concerns.

“I am also committed to hearing feedback and suggestions for improvement from our security staff.  I’m grateful for the service and dedication from the DOC family, and we will continue working through these challenging times together.”

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