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Thumb Correctional Facility Officer Vikas Vij named 2021 Corrections Officer of the Year
February 23, 2021
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Anita Lloyd, MCO Communications Director
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Contact: Chris Gautz, MDOC Public Information Officer
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Corrections Officer Vikas Vij named
2021 Michigan Department of Corrections Officer of the Year
Lansing, Mich. – Vikas Vij, a corrections officer at Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, has been named the 2021 Michigan Department of Corrections Officer of the Year.
“I’m pleased to congratulate Corrections Officer Vikas Vij for this honor,” said MDOC Director Heidi Washington. “He is a true public servant who works tirelessly to make a difference in his community, and at work, both in the lives of those he supervises and in his colleagues with his positive attitude and strong work ethic.”
Officer Vij, of Macomb, has been an MDOC corrections officer for nine years. He is known at work for his positive outlook that uplifts others.
He has proven to be an asset to the safety and security of Thumb Correctional Facility. For example, he once stopped a visitor from bringing $1,200 cash and a lighter into the prison. He has received the Warden’s Coin more than once for finding contraband.
Officer Vij immigrated to the United States from India in 1995 when he was 8 years old. He is the first person in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree or to choose a career in public service, he said.
“I feel honored and humbled out of all the officers nominated, I was selected to be officer of the year,” Vij said.
Officer Vij has helped raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics and volunteers with WATCH D.O.G.S. at his daughter’s school.
He holds a political science degree from Oakland University, where he volunteered translating documents to Hindi.
Ray Sholtz, who represents corrections officers on the Officer of the Year selection committee and is the Chief of Staff at Michigan Corrections Organization, said all the finalists for the award this year were phenomenal.
“Congratulations to CO Vij and the finalists for MDOC Officer of the Year,” Sholtz said. “Officer Vij had a great application and an excellent interview.”
The Michigan Correctional Officers’ Training Council, a group comprised of representatives from the MDOC, Michigan Corrections Organization, law enforcement and higher education, chose Vij for the honor from a pool of five finalists.
Finalists included: Corrections Officer Jeffery Vining, Marquette Branch Prison; Corrections Officer Derek Wright, Parnall Correctional Facility; Corrections Officer Robert Halvorsen, Newberry Correctional Facility; and Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator Daren Ferden.