Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2001

Multi-Faceted Woman is Ohio’s Top Corrections Officer

(Columbus) Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Director Reginald A. Wilkinson today named Christina Van Meter, 41, Ohio’s Corrections Officer (C.O.) of the Year. C.O. Van Meter received DRC’s prestigious Ronald C. Marshall Award at a banquet honoring Ohio’s corrections officers. Van Meter began her career at the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) in 1994, where she works in the segregation cellblock, one of the toughest assignments in any prison. She has intervened in three suicide attempts while on duty, rescuing the prisoners and maintaining them until the medical teams arrived.

Van Meter has contributed her innovative ideas and enthusiasm to two of MCI’s problem-solving teams. Both teams went on to win statewide awards. One of the teams she worked on implemented a Field Training Officer (FTO) program at MCI providing mentors to new officers, and Van Meter was selected as one of the first FTO's. Officer Van Meter is also an active member of MCI’s Special Response Team (SRT). SRTs are highly-trained, elite teams used to conduct comprehensive "shake down" searches and to counter incidents of unrest or violence in Ohio’s prisons. She assisted in the formation of MCI’s Honor Guard six years ago and continues to serve in that capacity. Officer Van Meter was selected as security staff representative in the planning and implementation of MCI’s Horizon Interfaith Dorm, the first of its kind in the world.

Officer Van Meter has enhanced her career through extensive training. In addition to suicide prevention, she has completed courses in the special needs of inmates with mental illness, Use of Force, SRT, PR-24 baton and Cell Extraction. She also shares her training and expertise with others as an instructor in Safety and Sanitation, Instructional Skills and Firearms. Her career goal is to become a Training Officer.

Van Meter is also involved in her community, volunteering at Marion schools, nursing homes, the Red Cross and humane society. Certified in Floral Design and Food Service from Tri-Rivers Vocational School, Christina decorates cakes and makes floral arrangements for elderly Marion residents. She also serves on the board of the Marion County Junior and Senior Fair.

A committee of former Officers of the Year and management representatives chose Officer Van Meter to receive the coveted Ronald C. Marshall Award. The committee interviewed each of Ohio’s Corrections Officers of the Year - one from each prison - and selected Officer Van Meter as the Year 2001 Ronald C. Marshall Award recipient. Ohio’s top correctional honor was named in memory of Ron Marshall who began his career as a guard at the Ohio Penitentiary and rose through the ranks to become warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility before he died.

For more information, contact Tessa Unwin in the DRC Public Information Office at (614) 752-1157.