At work, I carry a Personal Alarm Device (PAD) that will activate a loud alarm and flashing blue lights in our building, should I feel the need to push the button and alert officers that I need immediate assistance. Once (in my first year of working at the prison) I accidentally pushed the button, and about eleven officers came running down the corridor to make sure I was okay.
Usually, I keep the PAD in my coat pocket and take it everywhere I go. Today as I was crossing the plaza for my afternoon break, I put my hand in my pocket and accidentally bumped the PAD out, where it promptly fell to the ground.
Later, when I returned to the mental health building from my walk, I told the on-duty sergeant that I’d dropped my PAD in the plaza and I was afraid that I might have broken it. “Can we test it?” I asked. “To make sure it still works?”
This particular sergeant happened to be a buddy of mine who has spoken frankly with me on previous occasions regarding prison- and inmate-related issues. Today was no exception.
“When you dropped your alarm,” he said, “and there were inmates in the plaza. How did you pick it up?”
I knew what he was getting at. “Don’t worry,” I said. “Like this.” I demonstrated by leaning over to the side with bent knees and carefully picking up an imaginary PAD. After all, I’m not stupid.
There is an art to not flashing your rear end in prison.