The Thin Line system is a way of honoring service based professionals who work as first responders and Military Armed Personnel. You will typically see these thin lines as a single stripe within a flag. Additionally, the flag may be printed on clothing apparel, hats, pins, patches, and much more. There are nine Thin Line colors that represent nine different branches:
- The Thin Blue Line represents law enforcement.
- The Thin Red Line honors firefighters.
- The Thin Green Line represents military, federal agents, border patrol agents, park rangers and wildlife officers.
- The Thin Gold Line honors dispatchers.
- The Thin Yellow Line represents tow truck drivers.
- The Thin Orange Line pays tribute to search and rescue drivers and EMT personnel.
- The Thin Purple Line represents security guards and personnel.
- The Thin White Line honors emergency medical services.
- The Thin Grey Line pays tribute to corrections officers.
So who are corrections officers (CO)? These personnel can be anyone who works in a correctional facility. The list can include probation officers, parole officers, bailiffs, jailors, and prison guards. As of 2020, there were over 400,000 correctional officers serving the public in county, state, and federal facilities across the United States. A college education is not required to be a corrections officer in county jails and state prisons, but many of these officers do have bachelor’s degrees in various topics, including criminal justice and psychology. To be considered for this role at a federal penitentiary, you must have a bachelor’s degree.
There are several skills that make a successful corrections officer:
- Physical Fitness
- Military Experience
- Law Enforcement Experience
Additionally, there are some requirements:
- Fitness - Requirements vary, but many organizations do test applicants with physical evaluations including activities like pushups, situps, sprints, and long distance running.
- Psychological - A background check is needed to determine that the CO has no felonies and can legally own a firearm. COs must then be able to show that they are capable of using firearms. Additionally, most employers administer a psychological evaluation which must be passed before entering the training academy.
- Cognitive - Perspective COs must be at least 18, but no older than 37 with near normal hearing and vision. A written basic skills test is also required.
- Training - Upon hiring, COs must attend training academy where they will attend courses and test their physical condition, use of firearms, and written and practical exams.
Being a corrections officer is a risky job, given the fact that they work directly with inmates. Add in over incarceration in the United States, staffing shortages, and budget cuts - COs have their work cut out for them. Because of the environment they work in, officers must always be on alert and hypervigilant. With all of this in mind, it is important that we show respect and honor our nation’s COs, who are often forgotten as they work behind the scenes and not on the frontlines. Consider flying the thin grey line flag to show your support of corrections officers.