Senior Special Agent Julie K. DeMello
Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Senior Special Agent Julie K. deMello of the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General as Officer of the Month for December 2006.
Since March 1961, the Peace Corps has dispatched more than 182,000 Americans to 138 countries to teach and assist citizens in developing nations all in the cause of peace. Although the safety and security of its volunteers is the Peace Corps' highest priority, safety risks are inherent as volunteers are often assigned to remote and unstable areas of the globe. In December 2004 SSA deMello, armed with 15 years of law enforcement experience, began her service with the Peace Corps' Office of the Inspector General, coordinating investigations and prosecutions of violent crimes against volunteers in the Inter-Americas and Pacific Islands region.
Before the ink on her credentials was dry, SSA deMello was dispatched to South America to coordinate the re-investigation of a long-missing Peace Corps volunteer. This high profile case, for which Congressional hearings had already been held, required Agent deMello navigate the professional, diplomatic and political minefield surrounding this investigation. Ultimately, hers was the first comprehensive investigative report on the case that had previously been investigated by more than a half-dozen US and host nation law enforcement agencies.
It should be noted that just prior to concluding her investigation of the missing volunteer, SSA deMello was asked to coordinate the investigation and prosecution of a particularly vicious sexual assault on a volunteer by a known drug dealer.
Recognized for her extraordinary victim sensitivity, in early 2006, SSA de Mello coordinated the prosecution of a sexual assault on a former volunteer. She accompanied the victim and two witnesses back to the host nation, where she worked with the local prosecutor to present the best testimony possible in a case that had no physical evidence. The prosecution resulted in the defendant's conviction, and the judges credited the victim and witnesses' credible testimony in their ruling. Understandably so, SSA deMello now serves as the Peace Corps' chief investigator for rape and sexual assault crimes against volunteers.
Julie deMello began her law enforcement career in 1989 with the Columbia (MO) Police Department. Throughout her tenure with the department, she served as a crisis negotiator, a field training officer and, on occasion, as a member of the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad. Developing skills that would aid her later in her career, she became one of the department’s on-call detectives for rape, child abuse and other violent crime against persons.
In 1995, SSA de Mello joined the Drug Enforcement Administration where she performed a variety of investigative activities, including undercover, physical, and electronic surveillance. Throughout 9 years of service with the DEA, SSA de Mello was the author of hundreds of affidavits for complaints, search warrants, electronic surveillances, and asset forfeiture warrants. She served as part of the air support operations security detail for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta; undercover operations in the Caribbean; and a Title III investigation in Seattle. In 2003 and 2004, SSA de Mello was the case agent for a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional complex conspiracy Title III investigation that resulted in the seizure of over 500 kilograms of cocaine, over $1 million, multiple assets, and a multiple defendant indictment ending in several arrests. For her efforts with this investigation, she received the National Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Award.
SSA deMello's personnel file is filled with awards and commendations earned at each of the three law enforcement agencies with which she has served. According to the Peace Corps' Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Geoffrey A. Johnson, "SSA de Mello is a human dynamo with a vast knowledge of criminal laws and procedures." She is a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) and the Liaison Officers Association (LOA).