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HCSO trailblazer: Maj. Melissa Moore makes history

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Major Melissa Moore is a pioneer in her field and a hometown hero to the people of Tampa Bay.

For 23 years, Major Moore has been a part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, making an impact on her hometown.

“I was born and raised in West Tampa to my two loving parents who are still together til’ this day,” Moore said. “My dad is very strong so I get that from him and my mom is very tenacious.”

For Moore, hard work was just in her DNA.

“The kids have always watched me,” Moore said. “Hard work always pays off.”

However, Major Moore never thought she’d be joining, better yet, climbing the ranks within the Sheriff’s Office.

“The goal at the time was not to become Colonel it was to be the best that I can be,” she said.

Major Moore first put on a uniform when she joined the Navy. After serving her country, she came back to Tampa to serve her hometown. In 1997, she began working as a Detention Deputy at the Orient Road Jail. That job wasn’t easy as she went face to face with Tampa’s toughest criminals on a day to day basis.

“I never let that get in my way,” she said. “Through hard work, determination and that tenacity I was able to keep moving forward.”

Major Moore began climbing the ranks and began working at the Faulkenburg Road Jail.

After years of hard work, Major Moore is now making history. This May, Major Moore will officially become a Colonel in the Department of Detention Services. She is the first Black woman to ever hold this position, and to work her way up from Detention Deputy.

“I’m proud that he chose me and proud to see that my hard work from day one has paid off,” Moore said.

HCSO Sheriff Chad Chronister surprised Major Moore with the promotion one random day in January by calling her into his office.

“He said I needed to go to his office and I immediately called my mom,” she said. “I was very excited and very emotional.”

Major Moore is setting an example for women and children who look like her.

“I represent African-American women, I’m a single mother, I have an 11-year-old son,” she said. “I tell all single mothers to continue working hard, never give up and trust God. Sometimes you get afraid, take risks and step out.”

A risk taker, a trailblazer, Major Moore is Black history.

“The ones that before me paved the way, and I’ve paved the way now to have the first African American Colonel and I know now there will be more to come and I’ll pull more along with me,” Moore said.

Major Moore steps into her new role on May 4. She is going from overseeing 500 employees to more than 1400. She is also taking on many other responsibilities in her new role, like managing the budget, the meal operations for inmates, other facilities and more.

It’s a full-circle moment for Moore she steps into her new role because she’ll be working from inside Orient Road Jail, which is the exact place she started back in 1997.

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