Corrections Sergeant Covelli
Corrections Officer Bradley Chapline
Palm Pilot Failure
Authored By: Bradley Chapline
"Old Sam" and I go all the way back into the mid 1980's. And truly, there has only been a handful of days where we were on friendly terms.
When I first met Sam Covelli, he was, like me, a corrections officer. But, where I was "just a rookie" who had recently passed probation, and joined the union, Sam was a seasoned vet in being an officer, and a well-known powerhouse union representative. I thought it would be good to get to know Sam.
So, he invited me over to his place to have a barbeque. I accepted the invitation. Bringing my wife with me, Sam's partner, a "tom-boyish", but stunningly gorgeous woman named Nikki, was a pleasant surprise. The three of us immediately became friends. They became known as the "Nikki / Mikki" duo. And, they should have become friends, for the two of them were both "pool sharks".
But, poor Sam was boring, to say the least. He just talked prison shop, and voiced all his complaints about the Nevada prison system.
So, I abandoned Sam, and took up with the Nikki / Mikki duo. That's when all the fun, and trouble began. Nikki and I loved to insult each other, (of course all in fun), and wrestle. Nikki was a true cowgirl, so pinning her down was not ever easy. In fact, I lost wrestling matches more than a few times to Nikki. My wife got great enjoyment out of watching these matches, especially the ones I lost.
So, later on, all three of us abandoned Sam and took off to the local pool halls. Boy were they good. I was a fair to mediocre pool shooter. But, other men with talent in billiards lost to the Nikki / Mikki duo. I remember losing one of many pool matches to this duo, and once, I took a light poke at Nikki with my pool cue. Her retaliation was, to ram her pool cue into my ribs, which nearly dropped me to the floor.
But, this was all in fun. The three of us really liked each other, and none of us really had any kind of fondness towards Sam.
Sam was already thinking I was having an affair with Nikki. Nothing could have been further from the truth. So, the more I hung out with Nikki at work, the madder Sam got. (Oh yes, right, I forgot to mention that Nikki was also a corrections officer at our men's prison).
Sam's next move was to tell me I could no longer be around Nikki. The duo of Nikki / Mikki did not take this lightly. I think my friendship with Nikki had just accentuated her relationship troubles with Sam. I continued to hang out with Nikki at work when we both had free time. Sam started a rumor on the "prison grapevine" that Nikki and I were still having an affair.
When I backed off my friendship with Nikki, she really got angry with Sam. So, Nikki did begin an affair with another corrections officer, but, at no time, was I involved. In fact, Nikki's new boyfriend made it clear to me that he too didn't want me hanging around Nikki!
So, the war between Sam Covelli and I was now well intact. Sam blamed me for everything that was wrong between him and Nikki.
Now, even though I was a dues paying member of the local correctional officers union, Sam made damn sure I never got any legal assistance. This is exactly where I began to learn an "officer's legal defense".
The rumors were running wild between all the drama that the Sam - Nikki situation was bringing to the prison grapevine.
But soon their relationship was permanently severed. Nikki moved out of state with her new boyfriend, and believe it or not, Sam was promoted to senior corrections officer. Yes, it was true, when Sam fucked up, he seemingly moved up!
Sam's next move was to form a personal relationship with a woman named Linda Johnson who was the head of this local corrections officer union. Sam then created an alliance of well known correction officers who were "good ole boys". Sam was successful in forming as one, this quite powerful prison / union association.
But, I was out to break them apart. So, while Covelli and his good ole boy union network were out to stop a rise in recent minority hirings, I had gone to each minority and asked that they join the union once they had passed their one year probationary status. I gave the minorities all the numbers I had crunched. If each minority employed by the prison's department in the southern region joined the local union, there would be enough votes to hold a recall election and possibly replace both Sam Covelli and his crew of officer / union representatives.
Linda Johnson's and Sam Covelli's union were absolutely furious with me. They demanded that I tender my resignation as a union member. I refused. In fact, I informed them I would be the greatest "thorn in their side" that they would ever experience.
The months passed and the Johnson / Covelli union team never once encouraged any minority prison officer to join their union. But, there came a time when these minorities passed their probation and just kept joining the union. Now, the power was about to shift. I had the potential votes to both initiate a recall election in the union and replace both the likes of Linda Johnson and Sam Covelli. I was celebrating.
Several weeks later Linda Johnson and Sam Covelli called me down to the local union office. They wanted to make a deal.
Here were my terms. Immediately withdraw your "reverse discrimination" lawsuit against the Department of Prisons hiring of minority officers. There must be an immediate election of minority union representatives. Plus, a request must be made within the next six months that would bring on board all union powers and decision making into the hands of the international union.
Grudgingly, the local union team of Johnson / Covelli agreed to these terms. Their union powers had been slashed. And when AFSCME (American Federation State County Municipal Employees) took over our local union, Johnson and Covelli were no more than figureheads.
So, I was shocked when Covelli was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
When I worked the post of the "Gatehouse", which was the institutional intake center, Sgt. Covelli would try to intimidate me. But, the more he tried these tactics, the more intrusive my searches were of his personal gear.
And then, one day, I got lucky. "Mr. Know It All Covelli" left a contraband electronic device in the on position. I heard a beep coming from his personal belongings. This gave me "probable cause" to do an in-depth / detailed search. I found what was called, a "palm pilot". I said to Sgt. Covelli, "Well, well, well, it looks like your secret little computer device malfunctioned sarge." Quickly, Covelli shot back, "No you are wrong, this palm pilot is just a computerized notepad. There is nothing illegal about that."
But, I didn't fall for that line. I confiscated the palm pilot. The associate warden of operations had the institutional electronics supervisor look at the palm pilot. He found a so-called secret list of functions, such as a voice recorder, a video camera, and a telephone. All serious contraband to bring into a prison. So, Sgt. Covelli was transferred from the Southern Desert Correctional Center while under investigation.
But apparently, with the palm pilot investigation continuing on, Covelli got into more trouble as the newly opened High Desert State Prison property sergeant. Covelli was offered an early retirement option by the state. Covelli accepted, and this finally was the end of his time as a so-called public servant.