Melissa Fortunato is a retired FBI Special Agent. She retired in June 2022 with over 23 years as a federal law enforcement officer. During her career, Melissa was assigned to the New York City and Cleveland field offices.
Melissa was a certified FBI Crisis Negotiator and Undercover Agent. She spent her last 15 years as an FBI Crisis Negotiator; leading FBI Cleveland’s Crisis Negotiation Team for 10 of those years. In this capacity, she successfully resolved domestic and international kidnappings, barricaded subjects, and other crisis events. Melissa planned and executed formal crisis negotiation training for hundreds of law enforcement officers. Moreover, she worked as an assessor and coach for the FBI’s National Crisis Negotiation Course. In 2020, Melissa was selected by the FBI to instruct at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, Hungary, where she taught crisis negotiation strategies to international law enforcement officers. In addition to her FBI training, Melissa represented the FBI in 2019 as a student at the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) Hostage Negotiation Course in London, England.
As an FBI undercover agent, Melissa operated both domestically and internationally. Her undercover portfolio included transnational organized crime, public corruption, drug trafficking and counterintelligence matters. One of the cases in which she was directly involved as an undercover agent was briefed to the President of the United States and won the FBI Director’s Award.
Melissa is a Senior Associate with the Negotiations Collective. She is married with two daughters. Her husband is an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of FBI Cleveland, where he leads its National Security branch.