Alabama Department of Corrections Captain, Kevin J. Bishop, was presented the Soldier’s Medal by Governor Kay Ivey during a ceremony at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
Bishop, who is a staff sergeant in the Alabama Army National Guard, received the award for his heroic actions on March 11, 2016, when inmates gained control of a dorm at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
The award’s citation credits Bishop for rescuing the prison warden from imminent danger without regard for his own personal safety, and preventing the violence from spreading to other parts of the facility.
At approximately 9:15 p.m. on March 11, 2016, correctional officers at Holman Prison were called to a disturbance in one of the prison dorms. In the process of breaking up a fight among several inmates, a correctional officer was stabbed.
On receiving the report of the stabbing, the warden, Bishop, and a corrections captain entered the dorm. While assessing the situation, a lone inmate attacked and stabbed the warden multiple times in the back and head. Bishop responded to the attack by deflecting the inmate’s follow-on attempts to stab the warden; shielding him and applying pressure to the warden’s wounds. Bishop was able to hold off the inmate and successfully lead the warden and the other officers out of the dorm to safety.
In addition, Bishop assured emergency medical services and the corrections emergency response team were mobilized in response to the incident.
Despite being injured in the attack, Bishop remained on duty and initiated measures to ensure the disturbance was contained.
“It is always a dangerous situation when violence erupts,” said Bishop. “I did not hesitate to respond to the aid of another in this situation. This is not something someone plans on doing when they wake up each day. I would hope my fellow officers would take the same actions in my time of need.”
Bishop added that he was prepared to handle the incident because of his military training and years of experience in corrections.
The Soldier’s Medal is the highest non-combat award for heroism for a member of the United States Army, or Reserve Component who performs a heroic act while not serving in a military duty status.
“With extraordinary courage and selflessness, Captain Bishop safeguarded his warden and fellow officers while taking appropriate action to resolve a very dangerous situation,” said Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “Captain Bishop is an exceptional leader and we are grateful for his service to the Department of Corrections.”
Bishop said he never set out in his career in the National Guard or Department of Corrections to receive awards or accolades and has always tried to serve his state and country by following the Army values.
“Receiving the Soldier’s Medal is an overwhelming honor, and I accept the award on behalf of all the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way each and every day without reward or recognition,” Bishop said.
Bishop, a 1997 graduate of the Alabama Corrections Academy, rose through the ranks and received a promotion to captain in 2013. He is assigned to the G.K. Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore where he serves as a senior corrections supervisor.
In 2004, Bishop enlisted in the Alabama Army National Guard and is trained as a combat medic and healthcare NCO with the Medical Detachment – Alabama based in Birmingham. Bishop’s military service includes multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Captain Bishop is a fine example of the men and women who serve in the Department of Corrections," Governor Ivey said. "Captain Bishop is a hero for both our country and our state, and I am honored to have played a role in honoring him for his efforts."