Corrections officer works to spread system that detects and blocks illegal cell phones

Robert Johnson had spent the majority of his adult life as a corrections officer with the State of Florida. Shortly after graduating from high school, Johnson answered a call on the local radio for job seekers to fill the demand in the state for additional corrections officers. Johnson did an interview and was quickly hired.


Johnson is a large man with a nice, friendly demeanor. But he also proved to be stern. He was one of the rare individuals who can command respect while also showing it to others. These are exactly the types of attributes that prison administrators look for in corrections officers. In addition to his physically imposing presence, these traits ensured that Johnson began climbing the ladder of prison employment quickly.


Within a few years, Johnson was appointed to an elite unit within the Florida Department of Corrections. Known as the SERT team, the unit is tasked with doing all of the things that normal rank-and-file corrections officers are not equipped to deal with. As a member of the SERT team, Johnson was responsible for carrying out some of the riskiest duties in the state’s prison system. These included forced cell extractions of dangerous and violent inmates, conducting surprise raids on the cells of known gang members and operating as front-line defense of the institution in the event of riots.


Johnson proved to be just as able in this role as he had been in all of his previous positions. Soon, he was appointed to lead his own SERT team. Johnson had now not only arrived in the major leagues of prison employment, but he was now a star player.


One day, Johnson’s team was conducting a surprise search of an inmate’s cell. There, they uncovered a package containing a large amount of powder. Tests later confirmed that the substance was nearly pure heroin, with a street value of over $50,000. The drugs were destined for a criminal gang, the prison’s dominant group. Johnson, without knowing it, had become a target.


The following week, Johnson was preparing himself for work when a gunman smashed down his front door with a hard kick and proceeded to unload six shots from a .45 directly into Johnson’s torso. Miraculously, Johnson was able to survive. But it took over 30 surgeries and thousands of hours of rehabilitation to get back to even being able to walk.


Today, Johnson is working with Securus Technologies, spreading the word about the company’s Wireless Containment System. If the system would have been installed where Johnson worked, the illegal cell phone used by the gang’s leader to put out the hit on Johnson would never have been able to connect. Now, Johnson is dedicated to preventing tragedies similar to that which befell him.


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