Ceremony honors new sergeants

5 new sergeants face podium with right hands raised while taking oath
Dep. Chief of Prisons Shannon Cluney administers the sergeant's oath

Five new sergeants were sworn in during a promotion ceremony January 15 at the Idaho Department of Correction’s Central Office.

The ceremony was the first of its kind for the department. IDOC Director Kevin Kempf says there will be more ceremonies like it in the future. He says the intent is to honor staff and help them grow roots in the agency.

“You don’t just throw chevrons across the table and say, ‘Hey Wayne, show up on Monday. Congratulations, you’re a new sergeant.’” Kempf says. “We have generally done that in the past.”

You can see photos of the ceremony here.

The wardens of the facilities at which the new sergeants will serve introduced each of them to the audience.

Here are summaries of the introductions:


Sgt. Gary L. Hartgrove/Idaho State Correctional Center

Hartgrove joins IDOC with 30 years of experience in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He started as a correctional officer and rose through the ranks as a sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

Most recently, Hartgrove served as a prison security auditor for CDCR. He has experience planning and implementing a wide-range of programs at the institutional level and statewide. He is moving to Idaho so he can enjoy time with family members who live here.

ISCC Warden Randy Blades says Hartgrove has the qualifications to apply for a position as a deputy warden but took a job as a sergeant so he can get his foot in the door. 

“He came out and he visited the facility [ISCC], walked it,” Blades says. “I knew I was talking with someone who really knew the business on that day and that we made the right decision.”


Sgt. Adam Nimmo, Sgt. Adam Miller/Idaho State Correctional Institution

Nimmo joined IDOC in 2001 as a correctional officer at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution. In 2003, he became a field training officer. In 2004, he became a certified OC instructor. In 2006, he transferred to ISCI.

Most recently, Nimmo served as a corporal at ISCI’s Unit 13. Away from work, he enjoys spending time with his two boys, ages 13 and 15.

Miller joined IDOC in 2007 as a correctional officer at ISCI’s Behavioral Health Unit. He went on to serve at ISCI’s Receiving and Diagnostics Unit, where he processed male offenders entering Idaho’s prison system.

Most recently, Miller served as a corporal at ISCI’s Unit 24. He has served in the U.S. armed forces for 21 years. He is currently assigned to Gowen Field. He and his wife have two sons, ages 19 and 23. 

“Both of these men represent the department’s core values and what we really stand for,” says ISCI Warden Keith Yordy. “They have ethics, integrity, and they display the highest of morals.”


Sgt. Amy Welsh/South Idaho Correctional Institution.

Welsh joined IDOC in 2010 as a correctional officer at IMSI. Most recently, she served as a corporal at ISCC.  She is a member of IDOC’s crisis negotiation team.

Away from work, Welsh enjoys obstacle-course racing. Last year, she became a member of the Spartan Trifecta Tribe. To qualify for the distinction, a racer must finish, within a calendar year, three obstacle-course races organized by a company called Spartan Race. The courses require racers to overcome obstacles like crawling through mud under barbed wire, leaping over flames and climbing walls.

“I’ve heard her name all along, what a great person she is, and I hear a different definition of her every time, and it’s always 100 percent positive,” says SICI Deputy Warden Jay Christensen.  


Sgt. Wayne Wilson/Idaho Maximum Security Institution

Wilson joined IDOC in 2003 as a correctional at IMSI. He has worked in a variety of roles. Most recently he served as an education corporal.

IMSI Warden Al Ramirez joked that the reason he promoted Wilson is because of what Wilson did not say to the warden the first time they met.

“I was in the Marine Corps for four years, and Wayne served in the Navy, and he’s the first sailor that looked me in the eyes and shook my hand and didn’t say anything bad about the Marine Corps,” Ramirez says. 

Wilson and his wife have been married for 23 years. They have three sons and two grandchildren.

Away from work, Wilson enjoys hunting and fishing. He also owns a part-time tree-trimming business.

“So if any of you have any trees that any need work, Wayne is your guy,” Ramirez says. 

Story published: 02/03/2015

The sergeant's oath

My rank has been elevated and with it expectations of my performance and conduct. So, too, must my sights be lifted and my view broadened.

I alone am responsible for the attitude I bring to work every day, for the behavior I model to inmates and for the example I set for my peers. 

Through the application of the skills and knowledge I have gained, I will lead people to achieve what no person can create or achieve alone. 

My success will be measured not by personal achievement but by the growth and development of those in my charge.

I view it not a burden but an honor. 

Ceremonies intended to help "grow roots"

The director of the Idaho Department of Correction, Kevin Kempf, says the purpose of the new promotions ceremonies is to help staff “grow roots” in the agency so more employees will choose to make the department their career. 

“We recently had a couple of high level positions open, and I was giving some thought to asking a highly qualified person who came up through the ranks in the Ada County Sheriff’s Office to apply,” Kempf says. “But I would bet my salary that if I called him, the first thing he would say is, ‘Jeesh, and leave Ada County?’ That’s what roots like in an agency.”

Kempf believes there are three things that must be done to strengthen the bond between the department and its staff -- appropriately compensate staff for the difficult job they perform, honor employees’ achievements and help employees’ families appreciate the important role their loved ones play in keeping the people of Idaho safe. 

A pay proposal is before the Legislature for consideration, but Kempf believes promotions ceremonies are something the department can do now to honor staff and reach out their families. 

At the January 15 promotions ceremony, several of the new sergeants’ family members were in attendance. As each sergeant was introduced, their families were recognized.

“It takes a special kind of person to work in corrections, it’s challenging and sometimes dangerous.” Kempf says. “Family support is vital to our success and we want our families to know how much we appreciate them.”

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