Program Specialist

Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Centre College of Kentucky. Melissa began her career in 1991 as the Investigations Supervisor with Fiesta Texas in San Antonio supervising a security staff of 75 while serving as the law enforcement liaison to all city, county, state and federal law enforcement and representing the theme park in all criminal matters. From the Theme park world, Melissa served with the Northside Independent School District Police for 2 years before being recruited to join the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office (San Antonio, Texas) for the next 2 years. A certified Peace Officer since 1995, Melissa Hightower moved from San Antonio to Williamson County Attorney’s office in Georgetown, TX in 1998. In 2001, she was promoted to Sgt. Investigator and in 2013 to Chief Investigator. As Chief Investigator, Melissa directly supervised sworn Investigators and the civilian Evidence Division staff of the office until her retirement in January 2018. In addition to her supervisory duties, Melissa served as the Juvenile Crimes Investigator for over 6 years. She holds a Master Peace Officer TCOLE license and is a certified TCOLE Instructor as well as a Forgery & Questioned Document Examiner and an Identifications Officer. Melissa remains an active Peace Officer with Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Melissa designed, taught and coordinated the new Investigator curriculum at TDCAA Investigator School for 15 years. She has taught on subjects for prosecutors, investigators, victim advocates and support staff such as Immunity & Liability, Digital Evidence, Courtroom Technology, Being a Supervisor in a Prosecutor’s Office, Sovereign Citizens, the Use of Body Cameras, Officer Misconduct, and Social Media. She also teaches for the CAPCOG Regional Police Academy, DPS Recruit school, Texas Municipal Police Association, and local law enforcement agencies in the areas of Family Violence, Courtroom Demeanor, Victims’ Rights, Juvenile issues, Report Writing, Ethics & Professionalism, Eyewitness Identification, and Legislative updates. In 2012, because of her training in the area of domestic violence and protective orders, Melissa was inducted into the Williamson County Crime Victim Hall of Fame. Additionally, Melissa has taught Courtroom Technology nationally for National District Attorney’s Association and the National Advocacy Center to prosecutors and investigators around the US. This course includes audio/video conversion and using audio/video files in trial. In 2018, Melissa joined the Border Prosecution Unit training team to provide training concerning Digital Evidence, Report Writing, Juvenile Issues, Eyewitness Identification, Civilian Interaction and Body Worn Cameras to law enforcement in border counties. In 2019, Melissa created and debuted a training class for a CAPCOG grant that explored the areas of Family Violence & Mental Health and Adverse Childhood Experiences. While at the Williamson County Attorney’s Office, Melissa served on the Sovereign Citizen working group sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. She also served on the working group for the LEADRS program, a DWI reporting system which is sponsored by Texas Municipal Police Association. Melissa was on the Steering Committee for the Attorney Manager Product of the Tyler Technologies software which advises and guides new updates to the software/database which is used by many Texas counties and around the US. In 2012, Melissa was awarded the Tyler Public Sector Award for Organizational Responsiveness for guiding her office to becoming paperless with criminal case files.

Melissa was a contributing writer to both the 2003 and 2006 editions of the Texas District & County Attorney’s Association Investigator Desk Reference Manual. She is the co-author of TDCAA’s latest book for investigators entitled “Case Preparation for Investigators” which was first released in January 2015 (1st edition) and in January 2019 (2nd edition). Melissa also received the 2006 Oscar Sherrell Award for service to TDCAA and was selected as Chuck Dennis award recipient (statewide Investigator of the Year) in 2015. In 2019, Melissa was awarded the TDCAA investigator Section Career Investigator Award for her 21 years of service to prosecution. Melissa has previously served as Chairperson of the TDCAA Investigator Board of Directors in 2006 and 2012.

Melissa Hightower

Introduction to SAFVIC Systems SAFVIC Systems- Trauma-Informed Victim Interviews TxIPS

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