In Memory of Corrections Officer Jose Alfredo Diramos Kates
California Corrections Officer Lost to COVID19
On Saturday, July 11, 2020, California authorities announced the loss of a corrections officer to coronavirus. Corrections Officer Jose Alfredo Diramos “Joe” Kates, age 37, died from his on-the-job exposure to COVID19. He had been working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than four years. He was exposed to the virus during an outbreak among both staff and inmates at North Kern State Prison.
Officer Kates was well-liked as an officer by both inmates and fellow officers. His service to his community came through his four years with the CDCR. He was a family man with a large household of four children. To his children and grandchildren, he was known as “Papi.” A life of honor, Kates gave everything, including his own life, to protect the community, his family, and others. We can only ask that to respect his gift, and that of other law enforcement officers during this pandemic is to take it seriously, wash your hands, and wear a mask.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Officer Kates gave his life to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The CDCR is the state agency in California responsible for managing prisons, jails, and inmates. Headquartered in Sacramento, the department also handles and maintains parole systems and promotes inmates’ rehabilitation and education to improve their futures.
The Department was formed in 1885 and has had a long history within the state of California. It is the third-largest law enforcement agency in the US, behind New York City and US Customs and Border Patrol. Currently, the department provides jobs to over 68,000 employees and runs its corrections systems on a budget of approximately 11.3 billion dollars per year.
North Kern State Prison
Kates was assigned to the North Kern State Prison, which is located in Delano, California. The primary use of North Kern is as a reception area for prisoners as they begin the transfer to another state prison. It houses minimum to media security prisoners. The prison’s reception portion is responsible for determining new prisoners’ health and mental status before their assigned destination. The testing is comprehensive, and most prisoners take approximately 90 days to complete. The Prison provides education, counseling, and other benefits to inmates if they choose to offer a better future for their lives.
Children’s Lives Disrupted by COVID
Across the globe, families and their children are having their lives disrupted and turned upside down by COVID19. Corrections Officer Kates leaves behind his wife and four children. These four children will have to find the courage to go on without their family leader, friend, and father. Extended family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers will come together in support of their loss.
Cecy Kates, the wife of Officer Kates, wrote a loving tribute. “I miss you more and more every day. I love you with all my heart. I promise you I’ll keep our girls safe and continue to make them the best they can be. We will make you very proud. Rest in peace, baby. Forever Beast Mode.”
Ten 7 Apparel gave their condolences on social media. “Rest in Peace Corrections Officer Jose Alfredo Diramos “Joe” Kates.”
Zecchariah Cartledge, a 12-year-old hero to law enforcement and first responders, held a fundraiser run for Officer Kates for his family. “Honoring fallen California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Corrections Officer Jose Alfredo Diramos “Joe” Kates with a 1-mile run carrying the Blue Line Flag.”
The IACP, or International Association of Chiefs of Police, shared condolences for the Kates family regarding the loss. “We send our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Corrections Officer Jose Alfredo Diramos Kates of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”