Two Correctional Officers Awarded National Medal of Valor

The North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS) has named two Delaware Department of Corrections (DOC) correctional officers as recipients of its medal of valor.

Sergeant Timothy McCrary and Officer Jeffery Hansen, correctional officers at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC), were presented with medals and certificates of recognition by NAAWS at a banquet in Columbus, Ohio.

According to its website, the NAAWS Medal of Valor is awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves with a deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice that involved the risk of life.

The two won the award for their acts during an incident in August 18th, 2022

On August 18, 2022, Sergeant McCrary and Officer Hansen were assigned as partners to the Secured Housing Unit of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.  The Secured Housing Unit is a maximum-security area that houses our state’s highest risk inmate population.  That evening, as Sergeant McCrary and Officer Hansen completed a routine check of an inmate common area of the Secured Housing Unit, an inmate standing nearby suddenly turned toward Officer Hansen and launched an unprovoked seemingly planned attack utilizing a concealed improvised blunt metallic weapon.  The inmate struck Officer Hansen in the head and face more than a half dozen times.  Sergeant McCrary, who was present in the common area, immediately came to the aid of Officer Hansen drawing the attacking inmate away from the injured Officer.  The inmate turned and struck out at Sergeant McCrary, hitting and punching him in the head and torso area.

Sergeant McCrary worked to move the attacking inmate towards the back of the room while continuing to be physically assaulted.  Meanwhile, although Officer Hansen had sustained serious injury including multiple lacerations and a significant loss of blood, he quickly regained his composure and came to the aid of Sergeant McCrary.  Both injured Officers worked together, drawing on their correctional training to secure the attacking inmate as the inmate actively resisted.  The officers ultimately administered multiple bursts of non-lethal cap-stun spray to finally secure the inmate to the ground.

During the attack an alert was triggered, and other Officers arrived on-scene within approximately one minute, finding the inmate secured to the ground by Officer Hansen and Sergeant McCrary.  After the inmate was placed in handcuffs and the scene was secured Officer Hansen and Sergeant McCrary were escorted to the medical area to receive first-aid treatment.  Both Officers were transported by ambulance to an area hospital where Officer Hansen required in-patient care.

In the critical moments where every second counted Sergeant McCrary and Officer Hansen worked effectively in the face of sudden, unprovoked, life-threating violence to accomplish their public safety mission.  Both Officers individually demonstrated heroic bravery, self-sacrifice and extraordinary presence of mind while enduring physical attack to come to the aid of his fellow Officer.  And both Officers worked effectively as a team after sustaining bodily injury to end the threat by the inmate without further escalation or injury, demonstrating fidelity to their knowledge, training, and readiness.

The conduct Sergeant McCrary and Officer Hansen demonstrated on August 18, 2022 reflects great credit upon themselves and the Delaware Department of Correction.  In a correctional environment that is built around predictability and routine, their swiftness of actions speak not only to each Officer’s character and commitment to our core values but also illustrates his professionalism, skill, and ability to perform at the highest level.