Rosario Briganti: Corrections Officer (Intern) Extraordinaire
Rosario Briganti is working now with his future in mind. A student in UNOs School of Criminology and Criminal Justice program, Rosario plans to graduate in December of 2022. And he has big goals for himself – someday hoping to have a career as a U.S. Marshal. But he knows he must complete several steppingstones in order to make that happen. That’s where SCCJ’s Internship program comes into play, and for Rosario, it has been a game changer.
Early in 2021, Rosario met with Kim Retzlaff, SCCJ internship coordinator, and together they explored internship opportunities that could advance his long-term goal while providing some spending money in the process. Kim suggested an internship with Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, (NDCS) because working as a correctional officer fulfills one of the requirements for getting hired with the US Marshal Service, and NDCS offers paid internships. Rosario applied, took an aptitude test, and was offered an internship position with the Omaha Correctional Center. He started in May of 2021.
Rosario enjoyed the work so much that he applied to do a second internship the next semester, staying with NDCS. So in addition to picking up a total of 6 college credits (3 credits per semester), Rosario continued to grow in the role as a corrections officer and earn a paycheck at the same time.
As a corrections officer intern, he does the same duties and has the same responsibilities as staff officers. The job offers a lot of variety too, which he likes. Some days he oversees the inmates in the open yard, where he patrols behavior to ensure no fights occur, conducts pat searches, and looks for the passing of contraband. Other job responsibilities include escorting prisoners to other locations, conducting head counts of prisoners, and being a part of the Emergency Response Team, which assists with all emergencies within the institution, such as fights, fires, and inmates having medical issues such as seizures.
Rosario has been trained in CPR, first aid, the use of an automated external heart defibrillator (AED) and is certified to carry chemical agents and firearms.
“I really enjoy the role of a corrections officer,” Rosario said. “The job allows me to develop skills and test who I am as an officer.” Rosario went on to explain that through job training he has learned to de-escalate difficult situations by utilizing communication techniques. “In this position, it’s really important to know when to be tough and when it’s more appropriate to show some leniency. Finding the right balance is an art form, and an experienced corrections officer learns to trust his gut,” he explained.
Rosario has been told by his co-workers and supervisors at NDCS that interns usually are short-lived in the department and rarely develop into competent officers. But that’s not true in Rosario’s case. In fact, Rosario is the first intern ever selected to “run the yard” and oversee inmates as they move about in the open airspace. In this role, Rosario, an intern, has staff reporting to him!
In May of 2022, once Rosario has been a corrections officer intern a full year, he will be eligible to apply for a Field Training Officer (FTO) position. Rosario plans on doing just that, and if selected, he will be the first intern in the Omaha area ever promoted to FTO. FTOs are tasked with significant responsibilities, chief among them training and teaching new recruits how to manage the entire facility and the population it serves.
Rosario is excited to find out whether or not he’s selected as an FTO. His application most likely will be given serious consideration due to the fact that the Omaha Correctional Center named him Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2022. Another honor for Rosario and another first for any NDCS intern!
After Rosario graduates in December of 2022, he plans to stay in the corrections field for a while. He wants to learn as much as he can and develop as fully as he can before heading onto the next great adventure.
Congratulations, Rosario! Keep up the amazing job.
UNO SCCJ student Rosario Briganti (second from left) pictured with NDCS staff receiving his Employee of the Quarter Award.
Any SCCJ student interested in doing an internship should consult with Kim Retzlaff at email@example.com.
Story published April, 2022