Detention Deputy Johnitha Simmons was born in Los Angeles, California. At four years old, she and her mother moved to Clewiston, Florida where she still resides today.
Deputy Sheriff Simmons graduated from Clewiston High School in 2001. She later enrolled in Palm Beach State College and earned her A.A. Degree in 2005. Wanting to eventually be a P.E. coach, she enrolled in Florida Atlantic University. In 2008, Simmons graduated from FAU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science.
Her dream was to be a P.E. teacher. With no P.E. positions in the area available, Deputy Sheriff Simmons took a position as a Language Arts teacher at Clewiston Middle School. After two years of teaching, budget cuts forced her to rethink her career choice. Wanting to stay close to her family, she decided to pursue a career in Corrections.
In 2012, she enrolled in the Palm Beach State Corrections Academy and obtained her Corrections Officer (C.O.) certification. Ready for a new challenge, Deputy Sheriff Simmons began looking for a job.
She was hired as a Corrections Officer at Moore Haven Correctional Facility where she worked for two years. In 2014, she applied with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and landed a position as a Corrections Officer in the jail.
Deputy Sheriff Simmons spends her time at work performing various tasks. When she arrives on duty, she tackles any paperwork that needs to be completed from the previous shift. She checks emails, handles first appearances, assists with booking, does hourly security checks and takes care of the many inmate needs. She is also involved in transporting inmates to court, does medical runs when inmates must be taken to a hospital and transports inmates who have been sentenced by the courts to go to prison. She is a “jack of all trades”. Deputy Sheriff Simmons stated, “I’m firm and fair in order to maintain custody and control of the inmates.”
When she is not performing the duties of a Corrections Officer, she is hard at work being a single mother to her nine year-old son. She is committed to being actively involved in his life. They spend their time together fishing, roller skating, watching movies and playing video games.
The truth is, the life of a Corrections Officer can take its toll both physically and mentally. Deputy Sheriff Simmons is grateful for the members of her unit because they always have each other’s backs. When help is needed, someone on her team will step up and lend a hand – no questions asked. On a final note, this dedicated Corrections Officer said, “work is like one big family and we help each other out. I am really happy to have the opportunity to work at HCSO”.
With the ongoing news coverage of police shootings in this nation and the negative attitude toward the police nationwide, the staff of the Caloosa Belle has decided to show our support to the men and women of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Department who protect us every day In the following weeks we will be introducing you to them and letting you know what they do to keep you safe every day.