Lee County Officer of the Year finalists: Deputy Michelle Wilson

Reporter: Corey Lazar Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

One of five finalists for Lee County Officer of the Year is a deputy who was thrown into the worst kind of violence before she had even finished training.

Deputy Michelle Wilson has only been with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for a little more than a year.

“That’s incredible,” Wilson said after learning she had been nominated. “Let’s just say I’ve learned about and experienced a lot more than people have ever done in their career.”

Wilson received a sobering experience while still learning from a field training officer, before she even got her own patrol vehicle.

“My first day on FTO, which is our training, I experienced watching my FTO in a very violent situation, a very bad situation with a not-so-good person,” Wilson said, “and with my training, a little bit of experience and just being a person, I had the duty to act, and I had to do what I had to do to make sure she went home to her family.”

At 7:42 a.m., on Oct. 17, 2021, Wilson and her fellow deputy were searching for a robber who had just targeted a 7-Eleven in Estero. During the search, the suspect, 30-year-old Joshua Dewayne Hammock, came out from behind a building and started stabbing Wilson’s field training officer in the head and neck.

Wilson shot and killed Hammock.

“It was every emotion in this world you can imagine,” Wilson said. “You go through the initial shock, you freak out, you’re sad, and then you get a sense of relief because you guys go home to your family? Absolutely.”

Wilson said her family life helps her process everything and keep herself in check.

“I have a wonderful support group: my husband, my kids, our family,” Wilson said. “I don’t have time to think, you know. We’re always doing something. We’re busy, so it’s just, that’s what keeps me kind of going for you, so I have three girls that are 12, 9 and 7, and then I have a little boy.”

Wilson said her mission is to protect her kids and others and show them how they can give back to their community in their own way.

“I wanted to be there for kids,” Wilson said. “I was part of a family that was kind of broken, so I wanted to kind of assist kids and kind of fill that gap. Let them know, you know, ‘You’re not alone.’ I might be in this uniform, but I’m still human… I was born and raised in Lee County, so I just want to contribute with the awesome team that I have and keep the streets safe and clean and be a mentor in community policing—you know, it’s not always bad guys… they’re more than that.”

Wilson said she feels honored to be a woman in law enforcement. Her advice to children, especially girls: If someone says no, keep trying.

The Officer of the Year will be announced at this year’s Law and Order Ball, hosted at the Suncoast Arena by the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. WINK News anchors Amanda Hall and Corey Lazar will emcee the event, and WINK is a sponsor.

Those interested in attending the Law & Order Ball on June 3 can buy tickets at the event’s website.

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