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Board of Directors & Officers

IPSA Board Chair

Scott Edson, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) retired chief, became executive director of Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS). Edson replaced John Radeleff, who had served as interim executive director.

Edson’s involvement with LA-RICS dates back to 2008, when he was assigned as the unit commander for LASD’s Communications and Fleet Management Bureau. He continued his involvement through the years by serving on the technology and operations committees.

Edson has more than 39 years of law enforcement experience with the sheriff’s department. He served as chief of LASD's Special Operations Division. Prior assignments included communications, technology, law enforcement information sharing, emergency management, investigations, patrol and custody.

He is a very active member of the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major County Sheriffs' Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, and several others.  Additionally, he is the current chair of the FBI CJIS Information Sharing Subcommittee, a position he has held for nearly three years. Chief Edson is married with a son who is a deputy sheriff and a daughter-in-law who is a dispatcher.  In his free time he likes to travel with family, enjoy his ham radio, fly airplanes and play golf.

IPSA Secretary/Board Member

Jennifer Stewart is a 15-year veteran with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Communications Division.

She was a Telecommunicator for five years before being promoted to Communications Supervisor. During her time as a Communications Supervisor she has obtained her APCO Public Safety Telecommunicator 1 Instructor Certification, APCO Communications Training Officer Certification, APCO Communications Training Officer Instructor Certification, North Carolina General Instructor Certification and North Carolina RADO/TERT Certification.

Since she joined the IPSA, Stewart has been actively involved through her participation on multiple committees. She also serves on the APCO Agency Training Committee and SDC ADA Operational Writing Group. This past year she served on the Awards Committee and Membership Task Force. Last year, Stewart received her APCO-Registered Public Safety Leader Certification and graduated in Denver, Colorado in August 2017.

Stewart is actively involved in community relations with the CMPD and developed an educational program to inform the public of the inner workings of the 9-1-1 center and how it can be best utilized by the public. She also works with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system and attends community meetings and events within the county to answer questions related to 9-1-1.

IPSA Board Member

Captain Quirarte is a 26 year veteran with the Ventura County (CA) Fire Department. 

For the last several years, Quirarte has been serving on the Inter-agency Active Shooter Task Force as the project lead. He has developed response procedures for all county agencies in response to an active shooter event - including changing the medical care procedures provided in a direct and indirect threat environment. Ventura County has implemented a Rescue Task Force response model. Agencies involved: all County Fire and Law enforcement agencies, County EMSA, County OES, County Public Health, county private ambulance services, county hospitals, FIRESCOPE.Quirarte has coordinated instruction of over 2,200 law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS, and 911 telecommunications personnel.

Officer: IPSA Executive Director & Founder

Ms. Heather R. Cotter is the Executive Director and Founder of IPSA. In 2014, Ms. Cotter formed the IPSA as a 501(c)3, non-profit public safety membership association in the State of Arizona because she recognized the need to establish a professional public safety organization that offers networking and training opportunities between EMS, fire, law enforcement, telecommunicators and allied emergency responders. 

Ms. Cotter regularly interacts with the entire public safety community.

IPSA Board Member

Wren Nealy Jr. is a certified Paramedic and Licensed Peace Officer in the State of Texas. He is the Director of Special Operations for Cypress Creek EMS and serves the Waller County Sheriff’s Office as a Lieutenant and former Asst SWAT Commander where he co-developed the departments first SWAT Team and first Bike Team.

He has 23 years of experience as a 911 paramedic and 20 years in law enforcement. He has 17 years of experience in SWAT operations. Wren is the President of the International Police Mountain Bike Association and a Board Member of the International Public Safety Association where he serves on the Membership, TEMS, and Rescue Task Force Committees.  

He is the Vice Chair of the Emergency Services Sector – Coordinating Council for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is an instructor certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (POST), IPMBA, AXON Intl., SAFARILAND Inc., and National Association of EMT’s PHTLS/TCCC. Wren is the Commander of the CCEMS Tactical Medic and Bike Medic Teams. CCEMS provides tactical, operational medical support to various local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. He serves as the program director for the CCEMS Tactical Operational Medical Support training program, training tactical medics from across the country and abroad. He has developed several specialized training programs for public safety. He is an accomplished author and public speaker on EMS Special Operations and Emergency Preparedness, presenting at state and national conferences. In 2013 he consulted with Indiana State Representative Wendy McNamara in the revision of HB1111 to allow law enforcement officers trained in tactical combat casualty care to intervene and perform lifesaving medical care during hostile incidents and ultimately testified before the Indiana House of Representatives on behalf of this bill. He serves on the National Tactical Officers Association TEMS Council as a Section Chair, and in 2015, he received the 2015 NTOA TEMS Award for his significant contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support community. 

IPSA Board Member

James Dundas has over forty-three (43) years of experience in the emergency response discipline, as both a practitioner and as a consultant.  His experience spans multiple facets of emergency response: from Fire Services, EMS, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and corporate and institutional security. 

As a practitioner, he served twenty-seven (27) years with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in suburban Washington, DC. He was among the first firefighters in Fairfax County to achieve ALS certification and went on to teach Paramedicine at the Fairfax County Fire Academy and George Washington University, School of Medicine. Following promotion to Captain, he assumed the role of Fire Dispatch Manager when Fairfax went from seven digit emergency calling to 9-1-1 and manual dispatching to Computer Aided Dispatch.   He went back to EMS for a while as a Paramedic Supervisor and then on the Fire Academy again where he managed all fire training programs. Promoted to Battalion Chief in 1991, he served out his career in two battalions, the last being the most heavily populated area of the County. 

IPSA Board Vice-Chair

Chris DeChant is an Assistant Chief for the Glendale (AZ) Fire Department, where he has served for twenty-two years. He functioned as an Operations Captain, Special Operations Captain, Division Chief of Special Operations, Division Chief of Training, and Emergency Medical Services Deputy Chief prior to being appointed as Assistant Chief in 2008. 

He has managed various sections of the fire department including budget, personnel, planning, logistics and operations. Chris holds a Bachelor Degree of Science, Public Safety Administration, and a Master Degree of Education, Educational Leadership. He was awarded his Chief Fire Officer Designation in 2007 by the Center for Public Safety Excellence and his Executive Fire Officer by the National Fire Academy in 2013.

IPSA Board Member

Commander Chris Butler is 33-year law enforcement veteran. He is currently the Inspector of the Major Event and Emergency Management Section of the Calgary Police Service in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; an agency of over 2200 sworn officers policing approximately 1.2 million people. Chris’ areas of responsibility include the effective and efficient coordination, planning, training and preparedness of all major events impacting, or with the potential to impact, public safety in the City of Calgary.

Chris is also responsible for the Incident Command program which focuses on making outstanding, risk-effective incident decision makers at all levels of the service, from constable to senior officer. The IC program utilizes near-miss analysis; incident debriefing and after-action reviews to ensure that lessons learned are properly captured and broadly communicated across the organization.

Chris has collaborated with Fire and EMS for the past year as a member of the Steering Committee to develop and implement an Incident Command Interoperability and Rescue Task Force program.

Chris serves on the IPSA Rescue Task Force Committee for the whose mandate is to develop a best-practices interoperability framework for police, fire and ems response to criminally-caused mass casualty incidents.

IPSA Board Member

Todd Kerfoot currently serves as the Special Operations and Safety Manager and Tactical EMS (TEMS) Team Commander with Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) in Reno, Nevada. 

As the TEMS Team Commander for REMSA, Todd leads a group of 8 specially trained tactical paramedics that support Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and Sparks Police Department SWAT Teams, as well as several federal agencies, including FBI, DEA, and US Marshall Service. 

Todd is an instructor certified by Nevada POST and has developed numerous TEMS courses including: Active Assailant for Law, Fire, and EMS, Airport Response to Active Shooter Incidents,Tactical Operational Medical Support, and Law Enforcement Casualty Care.   Todd has participated in several committees including the Washoe County Regional Active Assailant Task Force, where he contributed to the development of the “Regional Active Assailant Response” protocols.

He was recently awarded the Veteran’s of Foreign War (VFW): National Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic Public Servant Award.  After recognizing a need for police to be prepared to deal with victims during active assailant emergencies and other trauma related incidents, Todd developed a training program that has been certified and is being taught today. Todd has also received numerous commendations including the REMSA Award for Meritorious Service for actions taken in the response to Renown Regional Medical Center (2013) and Sparks Middle School (2013) Active Shooter incidents.

IPSA Board Member

John Thompson is the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA).

His public safety career started in 1968 as a volunteer firefighter. He worked as a paid federal firefighter and emergency communications operator before enlisting in the United States Army. While in the Army, he served as a military police officer, canine handler and military intelligence officer before being honorably discharged in 1982. John continued to work in law enforcement after his military service, and in 1989 was appointed Chief of Police for the City of Mount Rainier, MD. In 1998 John was appointed Assistant Sheriff for Prince Georges County, Maryland where he worked until 2002.

Over the years, John has expanded his expertise and his reputation as a law enforcement and NGO professional. He serves on a variety of state and national boards including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Criminal Justice Information Advisory Policy Board, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Training Advisory Board and the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board.

IPSA Board Member

Brad Havrilla is a 27 year veteran for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.  Prior to his current assignment in the Training and Safety Division he spent 12 years as a Firefighter/Paramedic assigned to the Special Operations Team.  Brad’s work related passion was Technical Rescue instruction and Vehicle Extrication Competition.  Havrilla served as Vice Chairman of the TERC Committee and the World Rescue Organization and Judged Competitions nationally and internationally.  He also serves in several roles with the Florida Highway Patrol; and is currently coordinating Fire Rescue’s Active Shooter Response program.  This coordinated response between Law Enforcement and Fire Rescue has tightened the gap between these two agencies and is strengthening the bond of Public Safety in South Florida.   

IPSA Board Member

Dennis Weiner has been a law enforcement professional for the past 33 years. In 1996, after 14 years with the New York City Police Department rising to the rank of Sergeant, he became Chief of Police for the Village of Centre Island, NY.  He retired from that position in 2008 to become the Chief of Police for the Town of Juno Beach, FL. Since March 2011, until September 2014, he had been the Chief of Police for the City of Coral Gables, FL.  His extensive civilian education includes earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Masters of Public Administration Degree from Harvard University, a Juris Doctor from St John’s University and a Masters of Laws degree in Tax Law from New York University.  

Officer: IPSA Treasurer

Karen Ziegler has over 30 years of experience in criminal justice program administration; budget and finance; and full life cycle grant management. Retired in 2016 as Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the State Administering Agency (SAA) for US Department of Justice and state criminal justice grants, Ms. Ziegler was responsible for the acquisition; sub award; management; and reporting of over $50 million in federal, state and non-profit grants. In addition to financial management, Ms. Ziegler managed the Arizona Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program – a federal gun and gang violence prevention program, where she was responsible for the state’s strategic approach to reducing gun and gang violence in Arizona. Ms. Ziegler has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University and is also a Certified Grant Writer.

Currently, Ms. Ziegler is providing consulting services to the State of Arizona Department of Administration as the program manager for the Arizona Public Safety Broadband Network (AZ FirstNet) and as a Funding Consultant for Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology.

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