Meet the 2nd generation Korean American training correction officers to defend themselves

CeFaan Kim Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
2nd generation Korean American training correction officers on defense
In recognition of AAPI Heritage Month, meet a correction officer who trains others to defend themselves in NYC's jails.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Edward O was drawn to law enforcement at a young age, despite the dangers.

Now he trains officers to avoid danger, but he is different from many others who wear the same uniform.

Asian Americans make up a very small part of the New York City Correction Officers Academy.

O is one of the department's instructors -- a correction officer with the training development division. He teaches officers how to defend themselves in case of an attack in the jails.

But his lessons are not just physical.

"The best tool an officer has is his mouth," said Dr. Robert Gonzalez, deputy commissioner of training and development, "Being able to deescalate a situation, being able to take the time to talk to an individual who could be emotionally disturbed."

O is also a part of the Emergency Service Unit, which requires him to transport individuals into custody at times.

"We have some persons in custody that have high profiles... so, in order to protect them we're protecting the greater community," O said.

It's a community that O grew up in. He was born and raised in Queens.

"Both parents in the '80s, they had to both work to provide, my mother being the youngest of all her children, clearly my halmeoni, my grandma, came to take care of her babies' babies," O said.

Through the Correction Officers Academy, O has found another family: a family he teaches how to take care of themselves.

"From the day I stepped into the academy for training and the day I went to my initial facility, I was welcome with open arms," O said. "Now I find myself trying to pay that forward to everybody who comes in."

Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim will host and moderate 'Not Your Model Minority: Shattering the Myth,' a town hall marking Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The town hall will take place on Wednesday, May 31, at 2 p.m.


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