Sons of the American Revolution Honor Director Ervin
On May 24, the George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution presented Director LaTanya Ervin with the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal in recognition of her exceptional contributions to public safety and the Sheriff's Office.
Chapter President Rand Pixa joined John Blair, the Chapter’s Public Safety Awards Chair, as Mr. Blair read Director Ervin’s nomination to an audience that included Sheriff Sean Casey and many of Director Ervin’s colleagues. Mr. Pixa then presented Director Ervin with a certificate and medal.
Director Ervin has served with the Sheriff’s Office for 17 years and is currently the Director of the Inmate Services & Alternative Programs Division. In this capacity, Director Ervin oversees the development and delivery of programs, resources, and services to approximately 300 individuals entrusted to our care. Her work not only helps keep staff and inmates safe, but it ultimately helps keep our community safe.
Director Ervin joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2006 as the Inmate Classification Manager and was promoted to her current position in 2017. In this position she oversees Inmate Classification, which includes counselors who handle the intake of new inmates and counselors assigned to housing units, and Inmate Services, which includes reentry counseling, the volunteer program, deputies who handle jail and alternative programs, GED and ESL instruction, and law and leisure library services. In addition, Director Ervin manages the Office’s compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which includes training, policy development and implementation, and education and outreach to inmates so they are familiar with their rights and available resources.
Director Ervin has served as a Critical Incident Stress Management Peer Debriefer, a Crisis Intervention Team member, and a registered trainer for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration GAINS Center for Trauma. She also serves on the Alexandria Reentry Council and the City’s LGBTQ Task Force.
Director Ervin is highly respected and appreciated by her sworn and civilian colleagues, and she has been recognized multiple times as the Sheriff’s Office’s outstanding civilian supervisor. But her work over the past few years, when she faced both the challenges of the pandemic and ensuring PREA compliance, is especially noteworthy.
During the pandemic, the entire approach to housing inmates had to be adjusted to allow for new inmates to be kept separate from others until it was certain that they did not have COVID-19. In addition, programs once delivered in person by volunteers or outside providers had to be adjusted when the jail was closed to visitors. Programs previously delivered by staff and held in group settings with inmates from different housing units also had to be modified to keep inmates separate from those outside their housing unit. When a rare exposure did occur, housing assignments had to be quickly assessed and modified. None of this would have been possible without Director Ervin’s expertise, insights, and dedication. She worked tirelessly with fellow commanders, medical and mental health providers, and with her own staff to ensure that the safest and most compassionate options were always identified and implemented.
Even during the pandemic, inmates received professional development training, took part in enrichment programs, and participated in reentry preparation, such as a virtual resource fair where exhibitors offered legal, employment, health, educational, training, housing and other services and programs that would benefit ex-offenders when they returned to the community. These programs help inmates acquire skills and change behaviors that will enable them to live more productively when they are released and subsequently, help to improve the community when they can solidify family connections, obtain employment, and continue their education.
While dealing with the pandemic, Director Ervin also had to keep making progress on the Office’s compliance with PREA, federal law enacted to protect inmates from sexual abuse. Director Ervin made sure the required and appropriate signage and messaging were in place in the detention center, including updating materials to reflect the transition when Sheriff Casey took office last year, and she consulted with representatives of outside organizations to seek their insights on preparing for a challenging mock PREA audit. With preparation and implementation complete, Director Ervin led the Sheriff’s Office through a successful mock audit. Based on this experience, Director Ervin and her team are well positioned for the actual audit in the near future.
Although the Chapter usually honors those who perform traditional law enforcement duties, they recognized the tremendous and positive impact that Director Ervin has in Alexandria’s criminal justice system and how the detention center and our community are safer and better because of Director Ervin’s outstanding service to the Office, her staff and our inmates.
Above: (l-r) Sheriff Sean Casey, Director LaTanya Ervin, Chapter President Rand Pixa and John Blair, the Chapter's Public Safety Awards Chair. Below: Congratulations to Director LaTanya Ervin!