Corrections Officer Glen M. Williams
New York State Department of Correctional Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Corrections Officer Glen M. Williams as its Officer of the Month for May 2002. A sixteen year veteran of the New York State Department of Correctional Service, Officer Williams is currently assigned to the Crisis Intervention Unit at the Green Haven Correctional Facility.
Although he grew up in New York City, Glen Williams spent many summers in rural upstate New York hunting and fishing with his Uncle Frank. Young Glen greatly admired his uncle, who served as a corrections officer at the Attica State Prison for nearly 25 years, and so few people were surprised that upon graduating from high school, Glen too joined the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Graduating at the top of his class from correctional officer training, Officer Williams served a one-year probation period at Attica and was subsequently assigned to Green Haven. Opened in 1949, this maximum-security facility located in Duchess County, New York, currently houses approximately 2,100 inmates.
Upon arrival at Green Haven in 1987, Officer Williams quickly established a reputation as a conscientious and thorough officer who had the gift of always knowing what was going on in his area. He honed his observational skills by closely monitoring inmates and consistently displaying an eagerness to learn and improve his overall knowledge of corrections. He emulated more seasoned staff in an effort to improve his performance and exhibited a level of maturity and responsibility that far exceeded his actual years of service, demonstrated by his role on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT).
During his first six years Officer Williams served as the officer-in-charge of B block where he ran an efficient trouble-free housing unit comprised of over 200 men. He successfully cultivated and managed a wide network of inmate informants that proved to be a valuable resource necessary to maintain a safe and secure facility on a daily basis. In an effort to learn more about the process of receiving and releasing prisoners, Officer Williams transferred to the Reception Area in 1993. Two years later he assumed the duties of the Recreation Yard Officer and joined the Blood Exposure Response Team (BERT) which provides counseling and support to prison officers following a significant exposure to body fluids. In 1999 Officer Williams transferred to the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU).
On September 27, 2000, Green Haven's Deputy Superintendent for Security Services, George S. Schneider, was making his rounds throughout the prison yard, which at the time was populated with more than 350 inmates from the E and F blocks. As he crossed the yard, an inmate called out to him by name and as the Deputy Superintendent turned to acknowledge the voice, the inmate suddenly lunged forward with a 10 ½ inch shank taped to one hand and a six-inch long ice-pick-type weapon taped to the other. Already serving a life sentence for murder, the attacker began viciously stabbing Deputy Superintendent Schneider in the face, shoulder and back. Corrections Officer Gary L. Mitchetti ran to assist Deputy Superintendent Schneider receiving puncture wounds to the back of the head and skull.
Acting on pure instinct and without regard for his own safety, Corrections Officer Williams placed himself between the inmate and the Deputy Superintendent as the inmate posed to strike again. He was able to stop the attack on Deputy Superintendent Schneider and safely escort him from the yard. Officer Williams then returned to the yard and persuaded the inmate to surrender the weapons without further escalation of an extremely volatile situation.
Using investigative techniques, inmate informants and intelligence-gathering skills, Officer Williams has spent the last four years helping the facility avert potentially disastrous situations. Always on guard, he states, "Violence is always an option at prison." He remains vigilantly aware of the activities and conduct of his charges. His innate ability to work behind the scenes and sift through volumes of information has foiled numerous inmate plans and actions from ever reaching fruition.
Officer Williams received the 2001 New York State Department of Correctional Services Medal of Honor, the department's premier accolade. He also distinguished himself as the recipient of the American Correctional Association Medal of Valor in January 2002. In addition, he has received numerous letters of commendation recognizing his exemplary achievements as a correctional officer. Officer Williams has served on the Green Haven's Honor Guard, ranked the best in the state, and is a member of the New York State Corrections Officer Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA).
Charles R. Greiner, Green Haven's Superintendent, gives Officer Williams his highest endorsement, saying that he "consistently displayed a willingness to accept additional responsibility whenever the situation warrants and to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. His personal integrity, dependability, and overall performance have earned him the respect of all who have ever worked with him."