A manager at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women is one of 17 people around the province to receive national recognition.
Sandra Gemmill, staffing manager at the Maple Ridge prison, has been given a Corrections Exemplary Service Medal, which recognizes two decades or more of exceptionally commendable service.
The awards are the most prestigious national decoration for professionals in the sector, including correctional centre and probation office staff.
Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, presented the awards at a ceremony at Government House.
“These skilled and compassionate professionals really are unsung heroes of public safety,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
“Helping clients to gain insights into their offending behaviours, to build life and career skills, and to get the supports they need to live crime-free in the community, are just some of the ways these staff foster profound, personal changes that make B.C.’s streets safer for all of us.”
Gemmill began her career with B.C. Corrections in 1996 as a security officer at Alouette River Correctional Centre. She worked at ARCC until 2000, when she was accepted at North Fraser Pretrial Centre as a lateral transfer for the opening of the remand centre.
Gemmill was an instrumental part of the team that planned and opened the new admissions and discharge department for the then largest provincial correctional centre in the province.
In 2006, Gemmill won a correctional officer position at the newly opened ACCW, where she was promoted to the rank of correctional supervisor in 2009 and subsequently to an assistant deputy warden in 2014.
She was the supervisor of the admissions and discharge department and manager of the sentence management unit. Her current role is the staffing manager.
Gemmill was a key member of the leadership team that planned and ‘operationalized’ the new secure women’s building at ACCW in 2012.
“Sandra has always upheld a high level of integrity and co-operation in her dealings with peers, staff and inmates, which is exemplified on the many committees she has participated in. Sandra’s commitment to her work is only surpassed by her commitment to her family. She is the very proud mother of her two sons, Cody and Nathan, and is actively involved in their sports activities,” said a press release.