Durham County, NC Loses Detention Officer
On April 25, 2020, Durham County Sheriff's Office announced the loss of one of their senior officers to complications that had arisen from contracting coronavirus while on duty. Senior Detention Officer Alexander Pettiway, age 55, had served his community through his work with the Durham County Sheriff's Office for over 23 years.
It was in 1996 that Officer Pettiway joined the department. His experience led him to train and mentor many new incoming detention officers over his career. He was successful in helping build the county's field training program that was used at their detention facility.
Officer Pettiway had grown up in the area. He was born in Kenly and went to school locally. He attended North Johnston High School, then went on to further his education at Fayetteville State University.
After contracting the virus, he was admitted to the Wake Medical Center. His condition rapidly deteriorated, and he died from acute hypoxic respiratory failure as a result of COVID19.
Durham County Sheriff's Office
Pettiway spent 23 years with the Durham County Sheriff's Office (DCSO). The DCSO is the primary law enforcement department for Durham County, NC. The department also manages all the correctional facilities within the county.
Clarence Birkhead is the current sheriff in Durham County, elected in 2018. He is the first African American to hold this position in Durham County's history.
Durham County Detention Center
After 23 years, Officer Pettiway had become a staple and leader at the Durham County Detention Center. The Durham County Detention Center has a motto of providing care and compassion to members of the community. Officers like Pettiway made it their job to be sure that inmates are treated fairly and with respect. It was also a part of their duties to maintain a safe environment, secure and humane for everyone involved, as they serve their time and restructure their lives for the future.
The detention center can house up to 736 inmates. It also helps to provide options to encourage those who have been released to help them obtain jobs, training, and other assistance to move forward and live better lives. Any juveniles held at the facility are offered educational services through the Durham County Public Schools.
Siblings Mourn Loss from Virus
Senior Detention Officer Alexander Pettiway is survived by his sister and brother, one niece, four nephews, and many more extended family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in uniform.
Major Cynthia Korenagy wrote an announcement regarding his passing to the staff in the department. "To say he will be missed does not do justice to what any of us are feeling at this moment. Officer Pettiway was a unique, gentle soul and loved by us all."
Sheriff Clarence Birkhead was equally moved by the loss of a long time employee of the department. "Losing a member of our Sheriff's Office family is never something you are prepared for. We will come together to support each other and Senior Officer Pettiway's family as they deal with this great loss."