Drugs, Death, Destruction and the US Border

Monday, February 6  |  8:00am to 9:00am

This presentation is not for the faint of heart. It focuses on Mexican Drug Cartels and the major role they play in the US illegal drug trade and the alarming increase in human trafficking and victimization and the impact it has on both sides of the border. See and hear first-hand accounts of the cartels’ ruthless nature and how their idolatry of the Patron Saints of the Mexican Drug Underworld (Santa Muerte, Jesus Malverde, San Ramon, etc.) helps shape and influence their organizations and those around them. Understanding the depth and breadth of these cartels and their extreme violence and victimization will help explain why it is paramount for law enforcement to understand their role so we can better equip ourselves to deal with the devastating effects it is having on our communities. Please note this presentation includes extremely graphic material.

PRESENTER: Sheriff Kieran Donahue, Canyon County (ID) Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Donahue is serving his third term as Sheriff of Canyon County, Idaho. He is serving as the 2nd Vice President of the NSA.

He has served for many years, on numerous committees for the National Sheriffs’Association (NSA) including Government Affairs, Border Security, Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services, as well as Youth Programs and Juvenile Justice.

In March 2022, Governor Little Appointed Sheriff Donahue to Operation Esto Perpetua, to meaningfully reduce the flow of fentanyl and methamphetamine into the State of Idaho.

Sheriff Donahue serves as a Governor appointed position on the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission (ICJC).

Sheriff Donahue is a Past President of the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association (ISA) and is a current member of the ISA Board of Directors. He also currently holds the seat of Chairman of the ISA Legislative Committee and serves on the Idaho Association of Counties Legislative Committee and ISA Jail Standards Committee.

He is a member of the Western States Sheriff’s Association (WSSA) and serves on the Western States Policy Committee.

Sheriff Donahue is the Founder and Chairman of the Man Up Crusade, a National and International, non-profit, public awareness campaign on the issue of domestic violence.

Sheriff Donahue is a past Chairman and current member of the Executive Board for the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), funded by the DOJ Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Sheriff Donahue holds a Top Secret Clearance with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

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Department of Justice (DOJ) Jails and Justice Support Center

Monday, February 6  |  8:00am to 9:00am

To respond to challenges being faced by the nation’s jails, DOJ is creating an on ramp to federal supports including technical assistance, assessments, and other resources. CNA, along with National Sheriffs’ Association, American Jail Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, and National Association of Counties, will coordinate the Center. This workshop will provide an overview of the project plans and seek feedback from participants on how the Center can best meet the field’s needs. 

PRESENTERS: Ruby Qazilbash, Deputy Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance; Stephen Amos, Chief, National Institute of Corrections; Chip Coldren, Director, Center for Justice Research and Innovation (CNA); and Carrie Hill, Executive Director, Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association, and NSA Chief Jail Advisor

Ruby Qazilbash is the Deputy Director for Policy at the Bureau of Justice Assistance within DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs. As Deputy Director, Ruby leads a team of criminal justice experts in developing and implementing programs that meet the challenges facing today’s criminal justice systems, leaders, and practitioners. BJA’s Policy team interprets legislation and congressional intent for over $1.4 billion dollars of discretionary funding appropriated to BJA annually to support and strengthen state, local and tribal criminal justice systems.

For the past twelve years at BJA Ruby has directed policy and programs to support the criminal justice field to develop community-based alternatives for people with substance use and mental health disorders, and to improve programming, conditions of confinement, and sexual safety in the nation’s jails and prisons. Under her leadership, Ruby and her team implemented the Prison Rape Elimination Act and the Second Chance Act. She helped fund, launch, and sustain the Stepping Up Initiative to reduce the prevalence of people with serious mental illness in the nation’s jails and Justice Counts, a nationwide initiative to develop and build consensus around a set of key criminal justice metrics that drive budget and policy decisions. Ruby has also overseen the Justice Reinvestment Initiative which uses data to identify and address drivers of crime and state corrections costs, shifting state resources to more effective uses of criminal justice dollars to produce more public safety for the same cost.

Ruby has been with DOJ for 19 years, with previous experience at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Arlington County, Virginia; and the New York City Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice.

Stephen Amos is the Chief of the Jails Division at the National Institute of Corrections within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Stephen has directed frontline training, technical assistance, information dissemination, program planning, and policy development for the past six years in support of the nation’s jails and detention facilities at the federal, state, local and tribal levels. In addition to a broad array of agency-specific mission-critical services provided to the field by his team of expert Correctional Program Specialists, the following are some of the select broader impacting initiatives achieved to include: DOJ Jails Technical Assistance and Training Working Group; Jail Collaborative Reform Initiative; Jail-Based Medication-Assisted Treatment: Promising Practices, Guidelines, and Resources for the Field (publication); Texas Mental Health Officer Training Initiative; Justice-Involved Veteran’s Initiative;  National Sheriff’s Institute Expansion Initiative: National Institute of Corrections and American Jail Association Curriculum Collaboration Initiative: Strategic Inmate Management Initiative: Restrictive Housing Initiative, and the Massachusetts Special Commission on Correctional Funding Staffing Analysis Initiative.

Stephen has been with the DOJ for 12 years, with previous executive experience as the Deputy Director of the Corrections Program Office within the Office of Justice Programs.

James R. “Chip” Coldren, Jr., Ph.D. serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Justice Research and Innovation at CNA, in the Institute for Public Research.  He has over 35 years of experience in justice system improvement, technical assistance, and research and evaluation. He is the Project Director or Senior Advisor for several national technical assistance and training projects, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance Body Worn Camera Technical Assistance program, National Public Safety Partnership, Project Safe Neighborhoods, Detection and Mitigation of COVID-19 in Confinement Facilities, Crime Analyst in Residence, and the Jails and Justice Support Center.  He is the Principal Investigator for a randomized experiment to evaluate the impact of body worn cameras in the Loudoun County, VA Adult Detention Center. He also directed the Center’s work regarding the development of SAFER-C™, a disease spread simulation model for corrections facilities.

Prior to his work at CNA, Dr. Coldren served as an academic administrator and as the Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Leadership Doctorate and Criminal Justice MA programs at Governors State University in Illinois. He served for over four years as the President of the Illinois John Howard Association for Prison Reform, a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring and improving the conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers. Dr. Coldren served in several capacities at the University of Illinois at Chicago – as Director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice, and also as Director of the Institute for Public Safety Partnerships, a community policing training institute.  Prior to joining UIC, Dr. Coldren served as Deputy Director with the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, a longitudinal community research project of the Harvard University School of Public Health.  Dr. Coldren served for seven years as Director of Research for the Justice Research and Statistics Association in Washington, DC, where he directed the Association’s work regarding prison and jail population forecasting.  Dr. Coldren also served as the Director of Research at Patuxent Institution, a maximum security prison in the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (the topic of his first book).

Dr. Coldren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Rutgers University, and a Masters and Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago.  He attained his “Masters” certificate in Leadership from Rapport Leadership International and is a 2005 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.

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How to Build a Resilient Law Enforcement Organization

Monday, February 6  |  9:15am to 10:15am

This presentation will guide attendees to understand the neurobiological effects of trauma and how law enforcement cultures can unwittingly discourage employees from seeking help. This presentation is based on the COPS Office 11 Case Studies report which highlights the best practices of police agencies who have developed admirable mental health programs. Finally numerous effective resources will be reviewed, most of which the typical attendee is likely unfamiliar with.


PRESENTER: J. Mitchell Cunningham, Chief Law Enforcement Advisor, National Sheriffs’ Association

Deputy Chief Mitch Cunningham (ret.) has been a police officer for 36 years, most recently as Deputy Chief for the Wilmington North Carolina Police Department. Prior to that he was a police officer for the Montgomery County Department of Police, in Maryland. In Montgomery County Maryland he started a number of crime fighting initiatives including the first Career Criminal Unit, the first Auto Theft Team and the award winning pawn data sharing system called RPDSS (now RAPID) that is used across the country. He also started the regional data sharing system called NCR LInX in the National Capitol Region which connects hundreds of police agencies, leading to countless arrests and also supporting anti-terrorism efforts in the awake of 9-11.

As Deputy Chief for Support Services at WPD, he started a number of efforts to address and drive down gang violence plaguing the city. He also started the agency’s first Peer Support team, a police college scholarship fundraiser Send a Cop to College to assist with the professionalization of its future leaders and worked to outfit WPD officers with naloxone, the only second jurisdiction in North Carolina to do so. He also began the LEAD program, a pre-arrest diversion program which was also the second site in North Carolina.

He currently works as a law enforcement training coordinator for Cape Fear Community College as well as teaching for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Louisiana State University. Additionally he is a consultant with the National Sheriffs Association and International Association of Chiefs of Police.

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Snapchat: Law Enforcement Operations 101

Monday, February 6  |  9:15am to 10:15am

Snapchat is one of the most popular communication tools for young people. During this session, Rahul Gupta, our Head of Law Enforcement Outreach will explain the fundamentals of the Snapchat application, explain how law enforcement can most effectively request data and communicate with Snap Law Enforcement Operations and will also demonstrate how to use LESS, our exclusive law enforcement portal.

PRESENTER: Naomi Pike, Senior Manager for Law Enforcement Outreach, Snap, Inc.

Naomi Pike is a Senior Manager for Snapchat’s Law Enforcement Operations team, based in their Los Angeles headquarters. She brought her experience with law enforcement response teams in the tech industry to help expand Snapchat’s team over eight years ago, focused on scaling operations alongside Snapchat’s growing presence. Naomi’s team focuses on assisting law enforcement with ongoing investigations while balancing data privacy issues and changing legal landscapes.


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Veterans Justice Programs – Services for Veterans Involved in the Criminal Justice System

Monday, February 6  |  10:30am to 11:30am

This seminar focuses on future collaborations in law enforcement by describing how the work of Veterans Justice Outreach specialists, from the Department of Veterans Affairs, can support prevention, early intervention and service linkage through partnership with law enforcement agencies at the front end of the criminal justice system. VA services for justice-involved Veterans are provided through two dedicated national programs, Health Care for Reentry Veterans and Veterans Justice Outreach.

PRESENTER: Katharine (Katie) Stewart, Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) National Coordinator, Veterans Health Administration Homeless Programs

As the National Coordinator, Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO), U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Katie Stewart contributes to the development of national policy, provides guidance to the field on operational matters, and represents the VJO program with internal and external audiences. 

Prior to her role as VJO National Coordinator, Katie served as a Health System Specialist in the Office of the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Operations where she worked closely with senior VHA leaders on healthcare administration.

Prior to Katie’s work in VA Central Office, she spent nine years in the field serving as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC.  She began her VA career in 2009 as a local Suicide Prevention Case Manager, then Suicide Prevention Coordinator.  In 2011, she joined the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program where she served as the Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist, building, and growing the local program until 2018.  Throughout Katie’s tenure serving as a Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist, she was instrumental in the development of Buncombe County’s (Asheville) Veterans Treatment Court. 

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9-8-8 and Mental Health Crisis Response: Opportunities and Challenges

Monday, February 6  |  1:00pm to 2:00pm

988 is the national emergency hotline for community-based mental health crisis response, including mobile crisis teams, that targets particular groups at risk of mental health crisis (notably young people, rural residents, and LGBTQ+ individuals). Assembling this 9-1-1 system for mental health crisis, particularly in rural areas, offers opportunities and challenges for sheriffs and other law enforcement. This presentation reviews what 988 means for law enforcement and what the first 6-8 months of the program may reveal about how effectively and expeditiously its goals may be met.

PRESENTER: Jon Ross, PhD, Director of Research & Evaluation, TASC’s Center for Health & Justice

As director of research and evaluation for TASC and its Center for Health and Justice (CHJ), Jon Ross leads internal and external projects that collectively advance knowledge regarding evidence-based practice.

This work spans internal evaluation efforts to support TASC’s direct services planning, implementation, determination of effectiveness, and performance improvement, as well as external collaborations with research institutions and a wide variety of partners to conduct and disseminate research at the intersection of health and justice through CHJ.

Since joining TASC in June 2020, Jon worked in the CHJ COSSAP Law Enforcement Deflection and First Responder Diversion National Training and Technical Assistance Center as its technical writer. In his new role, he leads CHJ’s research and evaluation portfolio including its federal work with NIDA/JCOIN and NIJ/RAND.

Jon has a long career in communications and public policy/public affairs, with a wide range of positions and assignments across healthcare, government, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and professional service organizations. He has served on many boards, including a chapter of Mental Health America, focusing on advocacy and branding. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program at Adler University (Chicago, IL), handling courses in ethics, political economy, health policy, public health, and related areas. He also has taught in the Master of Public Health program at The Chicago School and the Master of Health Care Leadership program at Union Institute & University in Cincinnati.

Jon earned his BA in political science from the University of Florida, his MA in legislative affairs from George Washington University, and his PhD in public policy from Union Institute & University.

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Hiring Law Enforcement in a Post-COVID, Post-Floyd Reality

Monday, February 6  |  1:00pm to 2:00pm

In the past 3 years, the pandemic and the response to the killing of George Floyd have had a pronounced effect on hiring law enforcement officers. Since 2020, law enforcement has been subject to unprecedented vilification and been met with calls to defund their departments. Many departments froze hiring due to political pressure, pandemic lockdown requirements, and/or budgetary constraints. At the same time, retirements of incumbent officers accelerated. Hiring across the public and private sectors has faced the challenge of labor shortages caused by the direct and indirect effects of the COVID pandemic. In this climate, law enforcement hiring authorities are challenged with intense hiring needs to rebuild their ranks and address steep increases in rates of violent crime.

Differences in the law enforcement applicant pool will be compared pre- and post-pandemic. Data from background history, IQ measures, and psychological test data will be presented. Case studies will be presented to illustrate hiring challenges. Specific challenges related to hiring from a lower quality applicant pool and potential procedural changes to alleviate these problems will be discussed.

PRESENTER: Cerise Vablais, MBA, PhD, ABPP, Psychologist, Public Safety Psychological Services; and Ryan Roberts, JD, PhD, Psychologist, JRA, Inc.

Dr. Cerise Vablais is the Managing Member of Public Safety Psychological Services, the largest provider of public safety assessments in the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to her doctorate, Cerise has an MBA and worked as a software industry executive prior to becoming a clinical psychologist. She has extensive experience in forensic assessment and worked for several years in both correctional facilities and inpatient psychiatric hospitals. In addition to her work at PSPS, she is also a member of the North South Metro SWAT CNT team. Dr. Vablais has developed a nationally recognized expertise on the topic of legalized marijuana and its impact on the public safety hiring process. Dr. Vablais is the current Vice Chair of the Executive Board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police – Police Psychological Services Section, and is Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Ryan Roberts is a licensed attorney and psychologist that specializes in the area of police and public safety psychology. He has conducted thousands of evaluations of public safety applicants and dozens of trainings for other psychologists in the area of public safety psychology. Dr. Roberts is the co-author of the police and public safety reports for the California Psychological Inventory and the Personality Assessment Inventory. He has co-authored several articles related to the field of public safety psychology. Dr. Roberts is a member of the Board of the Council of Organizations in Police Psychology (COPP), an organization tasked with promoting and protecting the interests of the PPSP specialty.

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The Impact of Body-Worn Cameras in the Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office Adult Detention Center

Monday, February 6  |  2:15pm to 3:15pm

Over the past ten years, interest in the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in law enforcement agencies has grown substantially. Although research on the effects of BWCs on police agencies has increased, little research has been conducted on the effects of BWCs in correctional settings, especially within jail facilities. This presentation will focus on the implementation of a randomized experiment to test the effectiveness of BWCs in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center (VA). We highlight deputy perspectives over time, both before, during and after BWC deployment. We focus specifically on the effects of BWC technology on deputy behavior and safety, prevalence of serious incidents, and inmate violence and misconduct. We also review the difference in footage quality between the stationary cameras and the BWCs. The presentation will also feature the following speakers: Carrie Hill, Dr. James “Chip” Coldren, Jr., and command staff from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

PRESENTERS: Dr. Brittany C. Cunningham, Assistant Director, Center for Justice Research and Innovation, CNA; Dr. Bryce Peterson, Research Scientist, Center for Justice Research and Innovation, CNA; Dr. Daniel Lawrence, Research Scientist, Center for Justice Research and Innovation, CNA; and Carrie Hill, Executive Director, Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association, Chief Jail Advisor, National Sheriffs’ Association

Brittany C. Cunningham, Ph.D., is the Assistant Director of CNA Center for Justice Research and Innovation. She is an expert in scientific research and analysis and has more than a decade of experience designing, implementing, and managing rigorous research studies and evaluations at the local-, state- and national- level. She serves as  a Principal Investigator  for the National Institute of Justice- funded randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the impact of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, which is one of the first RCTs of BWCs in a correctional setting. Currently, Dr. Cunningham serves as the Project Director for the Using Analytics to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness study, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and lead BJA’s TTA overseeing  a project that provides TTA BWC implementation  to over 420 agencies across the country. Dr. Cunningham has led and supported grants and projects from several federal agencies including the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Bryce Peterson, Ph.D., is an expert in corrections, policing, and criminal justice technologies. He serves as a research scientist in CNA’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation. Peterson’s recent research has focused on video surveillance, body-worn cameras, correctional safety and contraband, and children and families of justice-involved parents. His work includes rigorous evaluations, policy analyses, and technical assistance projects. Prior to joining CNA, Dr. Peterson was a principal research associate with the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, where he developed and led a portfolio of work sponsored by several federal and local government agencies and private foundations. He received both a Ph.D. and an M.A. in criminal justice from John Jay College/The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a B.S. in criminal justice from California State University, Long Beach.

Daniel Lawrence, PhD, is a Research Scientist at CNA Corporation’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation. He has been on numerous criminal justice-related projects since 2008 in multiple roles, such as principal investigator, project manager, statistician, analyst, and data collector. His research interests are primarily in the law enforcement field, specifically on police technology (body-worn cameras, gunshot detection technology, public surveillance systems, machine learning/AI, and more), police legitimacy and procedural justice, police screening and hiring practices, and community policing. Dr. Lawrence’s objective is to produce high-quality empirical research using innovative approaches that are grounded in criminological theory. Dr. Lawrence has led and supported grants and projects from several federal agencies including the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ), as well as projects with foundation funding from Arnold Ventures and the MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Lawrence is experienced in using rigorous evidence-based approaches, and quantitative and qualitative analysis to assess law enforcement agency operations and organizational reform.


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The New Prohibition: How Current Legislation is Fueling the New Era of Organized Crime and Unintended Consequences on Policing and Community Relations 

Monday, February 6  |  2:15pm to 3:15pm

This panel presentation will provide attendees with a unique perspective on the proposed Federal actions to create a nationwide tobacco ban, resulting in a new prohibition. Panel members will share their Subject Matter Expertise on impact to law enforcement on the border and across the US, and how it will be forced to respond to a lack of federal enforcement. Additionally, light will be shed on the impact to police/community relations with minority communities as a result of proposed and enacted legislation.

PRESENTERS: Sheriff Mark Dannels, Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Anthony Miranda, New York City (NY) Sheriff’s Office; SAC Charlie Giblin (ret.); Chris Hill, Chairman, National Police Athletic Activities League, Inc.; and Chief (ret.) Joseph Lestrange

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