Behind bars: What it takes to be an Allen County Jail Confinement Officer

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The job of a Jail Confinement Officer might not be the most glamorous and prettiest possession, but for Corporal Aaron Robbins, it’s the opportunity to impact the lives of those who is at the lowest part of their life.

“With this job, getting out of bed everyday and knowing I can help somebody or make a difference in somebody’s day, I can literally do that ever day,” Cpl. Robins said. “If they have ever had a friend, a family member or love one, that ended up in this facility, how do you want them treated?”

Six-man corner cell in Allen County Jail

Cpl. Robbins currently works for the personnel department for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, but got his start “on the block.”

Cell Block Confinement Officers (C.O.s) are responsible for maintaining control and insuring safety of facility staff and inmates. Cpl. Robbins said that the average daily duties for the C.O.s include simply helping inmates get what they need, whether it’s getting them their meals and other necessities. He adds that the biggest perk of the job is impacting the lives of those in their care and help them get back into society.

“It’s fun at times, sometimes it’s a little rough,” said B-Shift Shift Commander Tommy Wacasey, a 12-year officer at the jail. “Everyday has it’s challenges, one of the most rewarding things is to help somebody out if they were struggling, help them through the issues they were having.”

“Or they just need someone to talk to some of these folks just need someone to talk to. Around events like the Super Bowl, it’s actually kind of fun. I’ll go in and watch the game for a moment and interact with those inmates,” Cpl. Robbins said.

The sheriff’s department gave WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Allen County Jail, the same tour that’s given to potential candidates. Due to inmate confidentiality, WANE 15 was unable to record in certain parts of the facility.

While touring the jailhouse, WANE 15 got to see how the inmates interacted with officers, the booking procedures and the different cell block areas.

One of the largest blocks in the jail was designed for two officers to oversee, but with the current shortage of C.O.s, sometimes there just isn’t enough man power.

“We sometimes have one officer working with or trying their best to help 150 inmates at a time, some of the smaller surrounding county facilities don’t even have that many inmates in their entire jail,” Cpl. Robbins said.

To become a sworn officer for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, every candidate must first start off as a officer on the block. If you are interested in apply, click here.


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