Woman Officer of the Year Award
The Brown Deer Police Department is proud to announce that Officer Melissa Fus was awarded the Woman Officer of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Association of Women Police on Friday, October 14, 2011.
Above left to right: Lt. Lisa Kumbier, PO Melissa Fus and Chief Steven Rinzel
The Woman Officer of the year Award is to be awarded to any female law Enforcement officer in Wisconsin who has distinguished herself as follows:
The following is the letter submitted for the nomination of Officer Fus for this award:
- Consistently above average performance in day-to-day assignments
- Demonstration of dedication to ones community and or to the law enforcement profession above and beyond work activities
- Demonstrating by performance of work related act(s) within the past year, exceptional courage, leadership, initiative, innovation, and dedication
- Displaying and maintaining a professional demeanor and reputation
Dear WAWP Award Committee:
This letter is to nominate Officer Melissa Fus of the Brown Deer Police Department for consideration for the Woman Police Officer of the Year Award. Officer Melissa Fus has been employed with the Brown Deer Police Department since September, 2003. After attending the academy and field training, Officer Fus started as a patrol officer assigned to second shift from February 2004 to January 2008.
Officer Fus quickly became versed in all of the laws and ordinances of the jurisdiction as well as the policies and procedures of the Brown Deer Police Department. In 2006 Officer Fus was recommended for and became a Department Field Training Officer which allowed her to share her knowledge and experiences with new employees. Since 2007 Officer Fus has met the department's criteria to be an Acting Shift Supervisor when the shift's Lieutenants and Sergeants were not on duty.
Officer Fus' ability to conduct thorough investigations, as well as her ability to speak to children victims and suspect juveniles made her an obvious choice in 2008 for the Brown Deer Police Department's High School Liaison Officer. Officer Fus' responsibilities as a School Liaison Officer is multi faceted as her duties also include conducting major criminal investigations, employee background investigations, and crime scene processing.
Some specific incidents and accomplishments to support the nomination are as follows:
In January 2010, Officer Fus investigated an alleged incident of a soccer coach/high school teacher and player/student having an inappropriate relationship. Officer Fus gathered information from friends of the student and obtained the student's name. After speaking with the alleged student/victim she was able to gain the student's trust and obtain a disclosure of inappropriate contact/relationship with the coach/teacher. Officer Fus used the information she had gathered and obtained search warrants for the teacher's work computer and residence which yielded further evidence to substantiate that an inappropriate relationship had taken place. Officer Fus arrested and referred the suspect to the District Attorney's Office and ensured the suspect would no longer teach again.
On March 16, 2011, Officer Melissa Fus obtained information from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Criminal Investigation Unit regarding possible internet solicitation for sexual contact with a minor. They had investigated this but had not established probable cause and had not positively identified the suspect and victim and were going to suspend their investigation. They forwarded information about the investigation to Officer Fus because they suspected the suspect resided in Brown Deer. Officer Fus was able to identify the victim and determined she went to Greenfield schools, but was currently in a juvenile detention center. Officer Fus interviewed the victim and learned that the victim and suspect did indeed have sexual internet communications. Officer Fus discovered that the suspect and the victim met in Fox Point and the suspect did gave her $20, but the victim left prior to having any sexual contact with the suspect. The victim was weary of the suspect because he did not look like the picture on his social networking profile page. The Wisconsin Department of Justice believed the suspect was a certain individual that resided in Brown Deer, but they were not certain. Officer Fus established that the Brown Deer resident was not in fact the suspect, but learned that he was friends with the suspect. She also determined that the suspect lived in Fox Point, in the same apartment complex the victim reportedly met him at. Officer Melissa Fus was therefore able to turn this investigation over to the Fox Point Police Department with very specific information that far exceeded that which she was given from the Department of Justice.
On April 1, 2011 Officer Fus was working patrol and was dispatched to a cognitively disabled male wandering around in the streets. She responded and found the 15 year old boy wearing shorts and a t-shirt and not dressed for the cold and rainy weather. The child is non-verbal and autistic. At the time he was found, nobody was at his home to care for him. Officer Fus learned that his parents frequently leave him in the care of his 13 year old brother and sister, who in turn leave to play with their friends. They had been able to do this for some time by locking the disabled sibling in the house. They then started leaving the door open because they lost their key and their brother would escape. Officer Fus learned this was not the first time the boy had been found wandering in the neighborhood. He had been found in the past wearing inappropriate clothing, in a neighbor's car, and smelling of urine and feces. Officer Fus began an intensive investigation, speaking to neighbors and the school. Officer Fus leaned that the school had been providing baths and trying to fix some of the boy's hygiene issues. The school had previously made reports to the boy's parents and to the Bureau of Child Welfare. Officer Fus obtained information from the school that documented unacceptable weight loss and lack of medical care, as well as the above mentioned hygiene issues. Officer Fus also became aware that the boy was found again wondering by a neighbor on April 13, 2011 despite her previous warnings to his parents. In her police reports, Officer Fus documented specific quotes his family made such as "I don't know if we can keep him anymore," and "the problem is that he gets out of the house," making it clear they did not accept responsibility for supervising him. Officer Fus compiled her reports and presented them to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office. Both mother and father were charged by the District Attorney's Office with Child Neglect. Through her efforts and reports, Officer Fus was able to speak for a child who could not speak up for himself.
Officer Melissa Fus is consistently a valuable resource when it comes to investigations such as the neglect of the child listed above. She has a vast knowledge when it comes to sexual assault or abuse investigations and is a great resource for other officers in our department. Officer Fus recently developed a Sensitive Crime Investigations policy. This policy was put into effect in June 2011 and discussed the initial investigation, follow-up investigations, evidentiary considerations, as well as numerous investigative resources. The policy she developed created a step-by-step guide to investigating these types of complaints. As a result of the policy, investigations that were often considered difficult and overwhelming have been simplified for our officers.
Officer Melissa Fus, in her role as the high school liaison officer, has established many positive relationships with the staff and students at the school. Her relationships assisted her in the referenced child neglect investigation, but have also yielded information from students. An example of this occurred in May of 2011. Officer Fus received information from a student regarding an underage drinking party and potential use of prescription drugs at an apartment in Brown Deer. The tenant of the apartment was a 33 year old male who was associating with teenagers. Officers then facilitated obtaining a vacant apartment nearby and set up surveillance equipment. Officers set up a detail to handle this underage drinking party. Officer Fus monitored the video footage from inside the nearby apartment and broadcast to officers descriptions of people coming and going. Officers assigned to the detail then would conduct field interviews or traffic stops of the juveniles. This detail led to additional information gathering as well as the tenant being evicted and receiving numerous citations for providing alcohol to underage persons. The information that was developed and names that were obtained during this detail has proven valuable in another investigation from July of 2011. In July of 2011, officers conducted an investigation into the possible overdose death of a 17 year old Brown Deer resident. The contacts made during the underage drinking detail that night allowed for other personnel in the detective bureau to develop a list of people to interview related to the death investigation.
Most recently, Officer Fus has investigated or assisted in the investigations of multiple bank robberies and attempted bank robberies. On August 4, 2011, after the Brown Deer Police Department already had multiple investigations regarding banks occurring, Officer Fus assisted the Milwaukee Police Department in locating a subject that had robbed one of their banks and had tried to rob one in Brown Deer. There are three Tri-City National Banks in close proximity to each other in our area. At approximately 12:30 p.m. employees of the Tri-City National Bank inside a Pick 'N Save store in Brown Deer reported a suspicious person. At approximately 1:00 p.m. employees of the free standing Tri-City National Bank on West Bradley Road called to report a suspicious person. Officer Fus responded to this call and learned that the subject was seen in Milwaukee nearby. Officer Fus felt she would be able to identify him from having viewed the security footage. While responding to that area, she observed police squads at the Tri-City National Bank on West Good Hope Road in the City of Milwaukee. Officer Fus learned they had just been robbed and she was able to quickly explain that the suspect was possibly still in the area and it would be beneficial for Milwaukee Police to accompany her to try to find him. As a result of her efforts and ability to articulate to Milwaukee what was occurring, the subject was located and arrested.
In addition to these specific investigations, in her role as a high school liaison officer, Officer Melissa Fus has become involved in numerous school activities and concerns. She stays current with school staff to address truancy violations and has implemented random school wide truancy sweeps, which has greatly reduced the number of students wandering the halls or being tardy for class. Officer Fus has even, on occasion, made personal home visits to chronically late students to ensure they are getting up and ready for school and to demonstrate to the student that she does care about them and values the importance of their education.
Officer Fus conducts a yearly internet and electronic media awareness class for incoming high school freshmen in an attempt to prevent cyber bulling, sexting, and other issues surrounding the use of internet social sites. In addition, Officer Fus makes presentations to Health and Safety classes during their sexual education course in which she explained to the students the state laws pertaining to sexual contact and intercourse between children under the age of 18. This straightforward approach to the consequences of sexual contact amongst students is an eye opener to many students who originally believed what they were doing was not a crime.
In 2009, Officer Fus brought the Forever Changed Program to the Brown Deer High School. This allowed the students to see the effects of drinking and driving in a dramatic form ranging from the initial response of emergency units, to the investigation and arrest of people, as well as eulogies regarding people who passed away in the mock accident. Officer Fus has already begun planning this program for the fall of 2011 and our agency would like to continue this presentation every two years. In addition to the Forever Changed Program, Officer Fus continues to investigate other programs to better the schools and police department, as well as the relationship between the two. Officer Fus communicates with other school liaison officers to obtain information about what works in their communities. Officer Fus is currently looking into a program to encourage students to come forward with anonymous tips. She is also looking into a texting and driving simulator to teach students about the dangers of texting and driving.
In Officer Fus' role as a school resource officer she has demonstrated that she is a valuable resource for students, parents, teachers and administration regarding laws and student behavioral issues. She has taken a proactive approach to deal with the pressures today's young people find themselves having to confront. She provides students with straight forward talk about the consequences and provides sources of help available to kids experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, along with peer pressure, gang activity, and sex.
Officer Fus is a dedicated employee whose compassion for children and citizens of Brown Deer is unsurpassed. She is a never ending advocate for the vulnerable and abused and will fight with no avail to have their voices heard and justice in their behalf served. For these reason the Brown Deer Police Department would like to nominate Officer Fus to be considered for the Woman Police Officer of the Year Award.