Highway signs to honor fallen USP officer
September 14, 2011 5:36 AM
Almost 15 years ago, Correctional Officer Scott Williams, a 29-year-old Marine veteran
and father of two young girls, was stabbed to death by an inmate at the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary.
His family, friends and legions of his coworkers have never forgotten the young man
and his loss, and have labored through the years to offer fitting tributes to his life.
Now, a segment of State Route 1 between Vandenberg Air Force Base and the turnoff
to the Lompoc penitentiary at Santa Lucia Canyon Road will soon bear the designation "Federal Correctional Officer Scott Williams
The designation comes by the way of a state Senate resolution carried by Sen. Tony
Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, and was heavily supported by a number of
peace officer organizations.
"We can only hope that this small tribute to Officer Williams and his family serves
as a reminder of his sacrifice and that the safety of all our law enforcement officers is a matter of statewide and national
concern," the resolution states.
Officer Williams, who served in Operation Desert Storm and was once named "Marine
of the Year," was married to his Lompoc High School sweetheart, Kristy, and was the father of 6-year-old Kaitlin and 11-month-old
Kallee. The family lived in Los Alamos.
"Officer Williams was taken from his family far too soon and this bill is a way to
honor and remember the contributions he made to our country and our community," Mr. Strickland said on the floor of the state
Senate. "His passing is a tragic reminder that law enforcement officers serve the public and risk their lives for us on a
daily basis and I can only hope this small tribute to Officer Williams serves as a reminder of his sacrifice to our community."
Barry Fredieu, president of Local 3048 of the American Federation of Government Employees
at the penitentiary, worked with Officer Williams and has sought recognition for his colleague through the years, including
helping build a memorial park to Officer Williams near the penitentiary staff housing.
On Tuesday, knowing Sen. Strickland's bill had just been passed into law, Mr. Fredieu
retired after almost 25 years with the federal penitentiary system.
The knowledge that the highway designation was coming, he said, was the best retirement
present he could imagine.
"For me, it's really a lasting tribute for Scott and his family, that's the way I
look at it," said Mr. Fredieu. "We built the park (on penitentiary property) but people have to come in to see the park, as
opposed to this highway, which is forever. The staff is going to see it, the local community is going to drive by it. Thousands
of people are driving this highway each and every day. That's a more visible tribute."
The officer's widow, Mr. Fredieu said, would ideally like to see the sign dedication
for the highway next April, on the 15th anniversary of Officer Williams' death. As required by law, the two highway signs
were paid for with donations, including from the local union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the
national peace officers' council.
"It seemed like the right thing to do," said Ryan Sherman, spokesman for the CCPOA,
who helped navigate the resolution through the legislature. "It was a way to honor Scott and his memory, instead of letting
It was especially fitting, he said, because of the recent decision involving the
inmate caught on surveillance tape killing Officer Williams. Inmate Roy C. Green, who had strapped two homemade knives to
his arms, stabbed Officer Williams in the neck, and seriously injured another officer by stabbing him in the chest. Three
other officers, coming to the aid of the fallen men, were slightly injured.
Mr. Green, also known as Haneef Bilal, was charged with one count of murder within
the jurisdiction of the United States, one count of murder of a correctional officer, three counts of assault with intent
to murder and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm.
For most of the years since the officer's death, Mr. Green, who has pleaded innocent,
has been confined at a federal medical referral center in North Carolina. Defense attorneys have said that Mr. Green has an
IQ bordering on mental retardation.
Recently, Mr. Green was civilly committed and will remain in Bureau of Prisons custody
for the remainder of his life.
"When they finally got the news that he (Green) was certified into the civil commitment
program, and that there's not going to be a trial, he's not going to be convicted, this (the road) was a way to honor Scott
and his memory, instead of letting things disappear," Mr. Sherman explained. "Now that there was finality to the legal portion
of it, we're stepping up and doing a little bit to recognize his sacrifice."