Sergeant Lucy Larkins is originally from the Northeast where she was born and raised. After moving away from her family and being on her own in 2003, she graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology as well as an Associates in Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. Shortly thereafter, Sgt. Larkins attended the Allegheny County Police Academy where she obtained her law enforcement certification.
She worked for a security company for about four years before moving to Florida in 2008. Ready for a change and the opportunity to make more money, she applied with Hendry Correctional Institute (HCI) for a job as a Correction’s Officer. Once she got the position, she attended HCI’s academy and received her certification as a Correction’s Officer. Sgt. Larkins remained in this position until 2011.
In August of 2011, a position as a Correction’s Officer opened up with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Sgt. Larkins applied, and received the job. She began working in the Hendry County Jail during the night shift as the female booking officer for nearly a year and a half.
When a new position called PREA Coordinator/Classification Officer was available, Sgt. Larkins immediately applied and got the job. PREA stands for the ‘Prison Rape Elimination Act which was passed by Congress in 2003. PREA “applies to every person incarcerated in federal or state prisons, jails, private facilities, lock-ups, juvenile facilities and immigration detention centers. The law applies to several forms of sexual violence, including coercion by other incarcerated at our facilities or coercion by staff.” As of now, this is still her current position at HCSO.
As the Coordinator for PREA, Sgt. Larkin is responsible for the safety, education, and training for all inmates, officers, and civilian staff. Every three years, PREA is audited. For their first audit in 2016, HCSO received ‘above standard’ in three areas, and is considered PREA compliant. This is a feat that made Sgt. Larkins “extremely proud.”
The Classification component of her job title includes being in charge of the inmate workers (trustees). She also looks at the criminal history and current charges of new inmates, and then classifies them accordingly within the system.
Sgt. Larkins is the Administrator of the ‘Weekend Work Program’ which means she is in charge of coordinating workers and monitoring their monthly reports. She is also a Recruitment Team Member, and assists with traveling to high schools, colleges and academies in an effort to spread interest in the field of law enforcement.
A large amount of Sgt. Larkins’ time is spent answering requests and grievances from the inmates. Her time on the job also includes attending to paperwork and responding to emails. She often comes in early or stays late, and assists others during her shift as needed.
When Sgt. Larkins is at home, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son. They look forward to attending several sporting events including baseball and hockey games. She has become an avid runner having just finished her third half-marathon. She has even found that she has a passion for gardening.
When asked why she decided to move away from the field of sociology and into law enforcement, Sgt. Larkins answered quickly. With a huge smile on her face, she stated that “this job is fun because everyday is something new.” She went on to explain that “you meet people on the worst day they could possibly be having, and sometimes all they need is to have someone tell them that it’s gong to be okay.”
With her small, petite frame accompanied by a warm and friendly smile, there is no doubt that Sgt. Larkins is a force to be reckoned with. She has built a great rapport with both her fellow coworkers as well as with most of the inmates she attends to each day. Her positive and empowering attitude is contagious. It’s evident that Sgt. Larkins loves her job, and truly enjoys helping others in need.