| Press Release
August 5, 2014
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Tallahassee, Fla -- The heroic actions of Florida Department of Corrections Sergeant Stephen Gillman and correctional officers Sophia White, Jamie Fischer, and Timothy Smith, who each received the Medal of Heroism from Governor Rick Scott on March 6, were recently recognized by the Southern States Correctional Association.
The officers were awarded the 2014 David H. Williams Excellence of Service Award on July 23. This award recognizes individuals for their distinguished actions in the field of criminal justice. The officers were nominated by Florida’s elected representative of the Association, Sylvia D. Williams of the Florida Department of Corrections, for their heroic actions on August 18, 2013.
On that date, at approximately 12:00 p.m., Sergeant Stephen Gillman was supervising the feeding of the noon meal at Holmes Correctional Institution when an inmate attacked the Sergeant with two handmade weapons, slashing the Sergeant in back of the head and neck. Additional security staff in the dining hall immediately responded to assist the Sergeant. Correctional Officers Sophia White, Jamie Fischer, and Timothy Smith came to the Sergeant’s aid, assisting him in subduing the inmate. The correctional officers’ swift actions effectively diffused the volatile incident in progress and prevented further serious injury to Sergeant Gillman.
In addition, Senior Classification Officer Neopoleon Barnes of Wakulla Correctional Institution was selected as the 2014 Support Person of the Year by the Southern States Correctional Association. Mr. Barnes is currently assigned to the Wakulla Correctional Institution Work Camp, has overseen the GED program and has been instrumental in the increase in graduates and enrollment in the program. He also has been the driving force behind the annual Black History Month, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day programs with a high participation rate.
“Our officers work hard to change lives and ensure the safety of their colleagues, the inmates in our custody and Florida families,” said Secretary Michael Crews. “This recognition is well-earned and the Department is proud to have such brave and caring individuals serving the public.”
The Southern States Correctional Association: http://www.sscaweb.org/ provides a forum for the discussion of criminal justice problems and solutions to promote the association as a medium for the sharing of common experiences.
Left to right: Genese McCoy, David H. Williams Excellence Award, Committee Chair; Officer Sophie White; Officer Timothy Smith; Officer Jamie Fischer; Sergeant Stephen Gillman; Mitzi Kellum, SSCA President
Left to right: Genese McCoy, David H. Williams Excellence Award, Committee Chair; Officer Neopoleon Barnes; Mitzi Kellum, SSCA President
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, oversees more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.