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G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility Officer James Sims named 2020 Corrections Officer of the Year


CONTACT:  Chris Gautz, MDOC Public Information Officer

(517) 241-0363,

Cary Johnson, MCO

(517) 485-3310,


For Immediate Release

G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility Officer James Sims named 2020 Corrections Officer of the Year

Lansing, Mich. – James Sims, a corrections officer at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, has been named the 2020 Corrections Officer of the Year for his exceptional service to the State of Michigan and dedication to giving back to his community.

“We’re proud to have outstanding corrections officers, like James Sims, on our team,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington. “His extraordinary commitment to making his community, and the State of Michigan, a better place to live serves as a positive example for all of us. I’m excited to congratulate Officer Sims on his selection for this prestigious award.”

Officer Sims began his career with the MDOC in 1997 at the former Southern Michigan Correctional Facility. He has served as a positive role model for both staff and prisoners. He has worked as a field training officer for new corrections officers at the corrections officer training academy and is trained to support his peers through the Traumatic Incident Stress Management Program.

“James has always been a dedicated Member of MCO through his advocacy for veterans, MCO members and Special Olympics,” said MCO President Byron Osborn. “He is well deserving of this award. I would also like to say congratulations to all of the finalists and Correctional Officers of the year throughout the state.”

Officer Sims is also dedicated to serving his community through a variety of organizations and charitable efforts. He is an active member of the LGBTQ community and has attended numerous LGBT Criminal Justice Professionals conferences across the country and abroad.

He regularly participates in and coordinates fundraising events through the Special Olympics Michigan Law Enforcement Torch Run, Shop with a Hero, Harvest Gathering, State Employees Charitable Campaign and Relay For Life, and is a charter member of the Jackson Lions Diabetes Service Club. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, who served in Operation Desert Storm and in Somalia, and is and an active member of his church, Edgewood United Church of Christ in East Lansing.

Officer Sims said he was humbled to be selected for the award and considered his fellow finalists outstanding officers.

“It’s very humbling to begin with to even be nominated for officer of the year at the facility,” Officer Sims said. “Though it’s humbling, I’m very proud.”

The Michigan Correctional Officers’ Training Council, a group comprised of representatives from the MDOC, Michigan Corrections Organization, law enforcement and higher education, chose Officer Sims for the honor from a pool of five finalists.

Other finalists for the award included: Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator Carlos Cook, Michigan Reformatory Corrections Officer Kacy Datema, Kinross Correctional Facility Corrections Officer Robert Mills and Oaks Correctional Facility Corrections Officer Brenda Nichols.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our Corrections Officer of the Year nominees and finalists,” Washington said. “Their hard work, and the hard work of corrections officers across the state, helps make Michigan a safer place to live.”