Thursday, January 28, 2016


Back in 1974 (Gadfrey, was that really more than 40 years ago???) I was a 30-something television news reporter in Phoenix.

One day a prison guard . . well nowadays we call them detention officers . . was overpowered by inmates at the Federal Detention Center in Florence, Arizona, and taken prisoner.

I have no memory what their complaint was at the time but after holding the officer for some time, he was released.

I had drawn the short straw and was at the scene trying to cover the story.

When the guard was freed, I was given the opportunity to interview him.

He looked about as happy to meet me as he had been to be captured by the inmates.

And it was a look I saw time after time over the years, frequently from lawmen.

Of course in modern times they are more than happy to hold a news conference for dozens of reporters and television cameras.

You might also note the 1970's-ish equipment I was working with - a microphone with a long cord that went to the photographer's equipment and a boxy tape recorder for my editing purposes later.

Like the comparisons between wall telephones, huge computers and box cameras with today's smart phones, we've come a long way.

The long hair and mutton chops on your heroic newsman are long gone too.


  1. He looks like he'd like to put you in a choke hold.

  2. That guard looks scary, probably scarier than the inmates holding him captive.

  3. How could the inmates overpower a big guy like that? Does everyone in prison pump iron? Is it like one big exercise bulking up club? Do women in prison and women prison guards look like this guy? All reasons to stay out of prison.

    1. Actually, my petite granddaughter is now a "corrections officer" at the State Prison near this one.

    2. A friend of mine is the son of the warden of one of the state pens in Colorado. He told me about drugged out inmate who focused his obsessive ways on weights during his 5 year stretch. Guy looked like a million bucks when he was paroled. He was back 4 weeks later after violating parole by ripping the bar out of some dive in Denver after they refused to serve him. He said he had no idea he was that strong.

  4. That glare could have been his statement about your hair cut and chops--look at his. Probably figured you were a pinko. Isn't that what inquiring reporters were called in places like Arizona, Indiana and elsewhere that we now call red states. Isn't that an irony?

  5. I have a vague memory of this event. Back in the winter of 64 & 65, I spent the winter in Florence, AZ with my family. It was for my dad's health but, while we were there , dad took a job as a prison guard. So when we moved to AZ in 1970 for good, any news about events at the prison always stood out. When dad worked there, there was one similar event that was called a prison riot. Nothing really bad happened but, I remember dad had to work some long hours for a few days.