• Area prison personnel compete in challenge

  • LCF takes the trophy.

    • email print
  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    A week of competition culminated with the Lansing Correctional Facility team taking home the 2019 Prison Challenge Days trophy Sept. 21 at the U.S. Penitentiary-Leavenworth Staff Training Center.
    “This is only our second time to win since this began (in the early 90s),” said Adam Hoover, LCF first sergeant. “It is awesome and it was really close, so it feels good. We had a lot of people come out and put in a lot of hard work.”
    Personnel from five area correctional facilities — USP, LCF, CoreCivic’s Leavenworth Detention Center, and a combined team from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and the Joint Regional Correctional Facility — competed at locations around Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth in the challenge in hopes of taking home the trophy and building esprit de corps.
    Since the USP won the 2018 challenge, USP personnel hosted and organized the events. Personnel competed in 14 different events, including golf, bench press, dodge ball, a bus pull, an obstacle course, tug-of-war, a trap-and-skeet shoot, basketball, bowling, darts, pool, softball, a strong man competition, and cornhole.
    New events included darts, pool and the strong man competition, which was similar to the “World’s Strongest Man” competition seen on television.
    “Traditionally, the prison challenge has typically been athletic-based events. This year we had requests from staff who wanted to participate in the prison challenge but could not do the various athletic events, and I am sure all the institutions taking part in the prison challenge have staff who feel the same way,” said Jacob Dyer, USP executive assistant. “USP-Leavenworth’s overall goal with the list of events was to try to get more people from various institutions involved.”
    The strong man competition was what Sgt. 1st Class David Camberos, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, JRCF, said he was most looking forward to.
    “It is a lot different from the other events,” Camberos said. “It takes a different kind of athlete to compete in it. It doesn’t take much endurance; it is more of a strength thing.”
    Though the Prison Challenge originated in the early 1990s, this was only the third consecutive year for the event after a long hiatus. It was brought back by former USP Warden Nicole English.
    “The point of the Prison Challenge is to bring all the correctional facilities in Leavenworth County together,” Dyer said. “Even though we work at different facilities for different agencies, we all share the same goals.
    “The Prison Challenge brings us all together once a year to build friendships and partnerships,” he said. “(English) knew the importance of this and that is why it was so important for her to work to bring it back.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Ray Ramos, USP corrections officer, is one person who was around when the challenge first started, and he said he was glad it was brought back.
    “It is better than it was before with a lot more events,” Ramos said. “I like it for the rookies because they get to play and then get to know the other staff members outside of work. There are times when you don’t see the other employees unless you’re doing something like this.”
    Each event was ranked first, second, third or fourth, awarding five points, four points, three points and two points, respectively. In the end, LCF won with 58 points, USP came in second with 57 points, USDB/JRCF came in third with 50 points and CCA came in last with two points.
    This was the first time USDB and JRCF combined to form one team.
    “Even though I have two different facilities, we’re still one Military Correctional Complex,” said Col. Caroline Horton, 15th Military Police Brigade commander and USDB commandant. “One team, one fight.
    “As a one-of-a-kind brigade here at Fort Leavenworth and a very specialty niche when it comes to correctional specialists in the Army, we’re a very small operation,” she said. “I think it is important to get together with our other corrections professionals out in the civilian sector and share in camaraderie to know that we’re not the only ones who do this job, which is very difficult.”
    Participants said they enjoyed the week of competition.
    “It created a bond between the institutions that will be there for a while as long as people stay in place,” said Staff Sgt. David Lippens, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 15th MP Brigade. “While it might be for the state, it might be federal, it might be military, we all at the end of the day do the same job, so we all have an understanding of each other and this kind of gives everybody a chance to get to know each other.”
    First Lt. Justin Overman, 526th MP Company, 40th MP Battalion (Detention), 15th MP Brigade, said this was the first time he’s participated in the challenge.
    “It was a really fun experience,” Overman said. “It is great to build a relationship with outside prisons because there are so many things that facilities in the area can do for each other.
    “We can give each other new perspectives on how things are run and … pick their brains,” he said. “Sometimes there could be something that one prison is doing that other prisons aren’t, and they can learn from that and see if it is something that could enhance the capabilities of another prison just by trying it.”
  • Comment or view comments