Senior Officer Specialist Melissa Foy
Federal Bureau of Prisons
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Senior Officer Specialist Melissa Foy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as its Officer of the Month for October 2008.
Working in a correctional institution is stressful and extremely dangerous. Every year, hundreds of correctional officers are injured in confrontations with inmates, and more than 500 correctional officers have been killed in the line of duty-making corrections one of the toughest beats of all. Their responsibilities are multi-faceted. They are tasked with maintaining security, inmate accountability, intelligence gathering, contraband recovery, and transportation of some of our nation's most heinous criminals. Correctional officers are often unarmed, and always outnumbered. Throughout her career with the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton (USP Hazelton), Senior Officer Specialist Melissa Foy has made significant contributions in all facets of correctional duties.
The USP Hazelton is a high security institution located in West Virginia. On February 7, 2007, in an unprovoked attack, an armed inmate viciously assaulted one of Foy's fellow correctional officers. Responding to the distress call, Senior Officer Foy was the first on the scene and found her colleague being stabbed repeatedly. With little regard for her own safety, she quickly took the assailant down and restrained him until help arrived. The victim, who had been stabbed ten times, was able to escape. Undoubtedly, Senior Officer Foy's instincts and decisive actions saved her colleague's life.
Her superiors at USP Hazelton have praised Officer Foy for her superior work ethic, her deep commitment to the agency, and her devotion to duty. Since its activation in November 2006, Officer Foy developed and now implements policy and procedures at the Secure Female Facility at USP Hazelton.
Officer Foy knows the majority of inmates and her instincts help her recognize when they are involved in suspicious behavior or prohibited acts. She has forwarded raw intelligence to the Special Investigation Staff which has been instrumental in solidifying criminal cases against individual inmates. With an educational background in substance abuse and dependency, Officer Foy ascertained that inmates were getting a "high" from a medication which was being dispensed daily. She identified the drug and worked with the Health Services Department to ensure that the facility discontinued prescribing this medication. In addition, adjustments were made in how medications were dispensed to the inmates.
As the Bus Operations Officer, she escorts numerous inmates on medical appointments outside the facility. As many of these inmates are being treated for female-specific diseases, she is able to provide the facility's medical staff with information about their conditions obtained from the physicians off site. She shows compassion and concern for these women and her warmth is recognized and appreciated. Officer Foy also serves as a mentor and routinely instructs less experienced staff members on correctional techniques such as conducting thorough area searches, pat searches and inmate accountability procedures.
For her courageous act of courage in February 2007, as well as her dedication and willingness to assist whenever and wherever she is needed, Officer Foy was awarded the 2008 Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Julie Y. Cross Award, the organization's most prestigious honor given to a federal law enforcement officer for an act of exceptional courage or heroism, an unusual degree of stamina, and willingness to go beyond the call of duty. She is the first Federal Bureau of Prisons Officer to be awarded the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Officer of the Month Award.
Located in the nation's capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.