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INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY ASSOCIATION
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Leadership Biographies

Alphabetical Order: Officers and Board Members


Heather R. Cotter

Heather R. Cotter is the Executive Director, CEO and Founder of the IPSA. In this capacity, Cotter is responsible for managing all business operations and implementing the association’s strategic vision. Cotter works closely with the IPSA’s Board of Directors to ensure that every initiative the IPSA pursues, and every action taken is in alignment with its mission, vision and values. In 2014, Cotter formed the IPSA as a 501(c)3, non-profit public safety membership association because she recognized the need to establish a professional public safety organization that offers networking, policy development and training opportunities between EMS, fire, law enforcement, 911 telecommunicators and allied emergency responders. It is the IPSA’s vision for a stronger, more integrated public safety community capable of an effective joint response to all public safety incidents.

Cotter is a Captain in the United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command. She is also pursuing her Master's in International Affairs & Leadership at Arizona State University. Her research interests include conflict, transnational terrorism, humanitarian aid response and migration. She holds a Master's in Criminology from Arizona State University and a Bachelor's in Criminology from Indiana University. Cotter is also studying French, German, Mandarin and Tagalog.


Sarah Guenette

Sarah Guenette is the Secretary of the IPSA. She has spent over 16 years working in the public safety sector as a 9-1-1 call taker, dispatcher and manager. She last held the position of Learning and Development Manager responsible for training programs for 9-1-1 officers and bylaw enforcement officers for the City of Calgary. Part of her portfolio was to oversee the health and safety strategy for the business unit, with an emphasis on psychological health and safety. This included managing the implementation and sustainment of a peer support team and ongoing wellness education for all staff.

Sarah is an Active level member of IPSA and has been a member since 2017. She has been on the mental health committee, participated in the IPSA's mental health symposium in 2019, contributed to the IPSA's public safety reading list, hosted a webinar and has been a regular contributor to the public safety column. She is also a Member of the IPSA's Mental Health Section. Sarah believes in the importance of sharing resources with first responders and their family members, especially in the area of psychological health and wellness.


Robert C. Marland

Marland joined the Richmond (Virginia) Police Department in September of 1976 and retired on March 1, 2022, as a Detective Lieutenant after serving 45 ½ years. He started his career in 1972 as a cadet with the Franklin Co. Sherriff’s Department and then worked with the Grove City Ohio PD and the University of Dayton Campus Security.

Marland served as an Internal to the City Manager’s Office. And has been assigned to the Administrative Services, Special Projects Officer to the Chief of Police as the Officer-in-Charge of the Special Communication Projects Unit, where he implement the Department’s 800MHz Radio System and Coordinator of the Geographical Information System. His assignments included, the Training and Development Unit, Planning and Research Division, Professional Standards/Audits and Inspections Unit. Marland served most of his career as a Precinct/Sector Commander and Commander of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Motorcycle Unit, Crash Team Reconstruction Unit, Mobile Command Center, Crowd Management Team, Aviation, Mounted, and K-9 Units. When not in these units, he was an Acting/Captain in the Watch Commander Office.


Wren Nealy, Jr. 

Wren Nealy is a Paramedic and former Chief Executive Officer for Cypress Creek EMS, a non-profit EMS provider. He is a former Texas Peace Officer and SWAT Commander. He has 33 years of experience in EMS and 24 years in law enforcement. Wren has twelve years of leadership experience in non-profit, public safety, and international association boards. He is a founding member of the International Public Safety Association. He was appointed Vice-Chair of the Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, representing the IPSA. He is a Director at Large with the International Association of EMS Chiefs and past President of the International Police Mountain Bike Association.

He has developed several specialized public safety training programs focusing on Integrated Response. 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 Indiana law enforcement officers trained in tactical combat casualty care to intervene and perform lifesaving medical care during hostile incidents, ultimately testifying before the Indiana House of Representatives on behalf of this bill. He is a Nationally Certified Instructor with IADLEST and a past recipient of the NTOA TEMS Award for his significant contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support community.

David O'Neal

O’Neal has been with the Akron Fire Department for over 30 years. Currently, he is a District Chief and oversees the Special Operations Division, which is responsible for all hazardous material, building collapse, confined space, high angle, trench and water rescue response for the City of Akron and the surrounding region. He is also in charge of the Fire Maintenance Division, which includes vehicle maintenance and purchasing, station maintenance and fire hydrant maintenance. He has been a ranking officer on the department for over 24 years, holding numerous positions.


Timothy M. Riecker

Timothy M. Riecker is a Certified Emergency and Disaster Professional (CEDP) with a progressive career in public safety and emergency management spanning over 26 years, including time as a local responder, chief officer, senior staff for the New York State Office of Emergency Management, and public safety consultant. He is a founder, partner, and principal consultant for Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC and is recognized nationally as a specialist in incident management and NIMS; emergency operations center management; instructional design and delivery; and exercise design, conduct, and evaluation.

Tim has a depth of experience in major incident management, including direct involvement in the management of 21 Federally declared disasters. He has served in State and local Emergency Operations Centers and as a Type II Planning Section Chief. His responses have included 9/11, United flight 587, Colgan Air flight 3407, Hurricane Sandy, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tim has had a range of opportunities in his career, including presenting to a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and instructing and presenting at numerous public safety academies around the nation. He is a member of the NFPA 1600/1660 technical committee and program manager of an academic emergency management program.

Tim regularly blogs about various emergency management topics under the moniker of The Contrarian Emergency Manager. He has been an improv performer and is host and producer of several pop culture podcasts. Tim and his family reside in central New York.


Katherine Severson

Katherine Severson is a 25-year serving police officer and Sergeant in the Calgary Police Service (Alberta, Canada), with many years of varied operational, instructional and supervisory experience. For the last 12 years, she has led the Emergency Management Unit within the Major Events & Emergency Management Section.

In her current role she manages the Police Tactical Operations Center, plans her agency’s response to complex incidents/disasters and major events, and coordinates integrated response with the fire department, EMS, 911 Dispatch and other City partners. She is also a member of the All-Hazards Incident Management Team in Canada Taskforce 2’s (CANTF2) National Disaster Response Team, and has served in leadership roles during provincial and national disasters like floods and wildfires over the last 12 years. Katherine is a passionate instructor of incident management (ICS), incident command and rescue taskforce response for various emergency service agencies.

She holds a Bachelors of Kinesiology, numerous certifications in emergency management/disaster risk reduction, adult learning, incident management and Business Continuity. After serving on the Rescue Taskforce Committee with IPSA from 2019, Katherine proudly joined the Board of Directors in 2021 where she is thrilled to support the advancement of interagency cooperation and learning. She is a two-time winner of the Chief’s Lifesaving Award, recipient of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police Outstanding Achievement Award, and was appointed to the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (M.O.M.) in 2022.


Lorenzo Tiraboschi

Lorenzo Tiraboschi is a critical care nurse working at St George’s hospital in London with a background of five years in two different ED in London.

His passion for public safety started when he was in the Italian Army and realizing that his comrades were not properly trained in first aid he approached the local ambulance service to receive training. Left the army he volunteered on the emergency ambulances of the Italian Red Cross, worked as instructor of first aid and trauma care for the oil and gas industry before starting nursing at the university. While at the university he volunteered in the local firefighting base.

He emigrated to UK hoping one day to come back to Italy to work as ambulance nurse.

He is passionate of tactical medicine and he served in the TEMS Committee of IPSA. This passion brought him to train as tactical medic in US and in bringing back to Italy this expertise teaching TCCC and Stop The Bleed.

He is passionate about interoperability in the public safety sector and in empower operators and bystanders through teaching of emergency medicine.


Karen Ziegler

Karen Ziegler has more than three decades of experience in criminal justice program administration; budget and finance; and full life cycle grant management. She retired in 2016 as the Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the State Administering Agency (SAA) for U.S. Department of Justice and state criminal justice grants. She was responsible for the acquisition; sub award; management; and reporting of over $50 million in federal, state, and non-profit grants including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant. 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 most recently contracted with the Office of Grants and Federal Resources within the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA) to serve as the Public Safety Program Manager and was responsible for the State 9-1-1 Program, the Arizona Public Safety Broadband Network (FirstNet) Program and State Rural Broadband Initiative. Ms. Ziegler has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University and is also a Certified Grant Writer.

Currently, Ms. Ziegler is providing financial and grant writing consulting services to public safety agencies across the country and is working with local rural communities on broadband planning and implementation efforts to bring affordable and reliable broadband to rural Arizona.

Alphabetical Order: Advisory Committee

Wayne Bailey has been volunteering and public safety since 1975. In 1995 he went to work for the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) after 18 years in the banking world. During his time at OSFM, he served as a Deputy Director over training, certification, accreditation and ISO Inspections for the entire state.

In 2016, Wayne starting flying uncrewed aircraft vehicles and in 2018, he was credentialed as a FAA Part 107 Pilot. After retirement from OSFM in 2019, Wayne went to work for Blue Ridge Mountain Drones as their Chief Pilot. Wayne stays busy teaching the FAA part 107 rules to mostly public safety and educators. Currently he is working on his AUVSI Top I certification, NIST Train the Trainer, Certified Flight Instructor.

Dr. Scott Blandford is a retired (30 yr.) police officer who has held a variety of operational and administrative positions, including emergency response, criminal investigation, training, human resources, and research & planning where he was responsible for policy and procedure development, major planning and overseeing the development a competency-based performance management, career development, and promotional system for his organization. In addition, he has been an instructor and administrator for several college and university programs focused on policing & public safety for over 30 years. He is currently the coordinator of all undergraduate and graduate policing/public safety program for Wilfrid Laurier University, in addition to sitting on several internal and external committees.

As a life-long learner, Scott has completed a Fanshawe College Management Studies certificate, a Dalhousie University Certificate in Police Leadership; is a graduate of the Bachelor of Professional Arts (Criminal Justice major) program at Athabasca University; and has completed a Diploma in Public Administration and Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Western Ontario. Scott completed his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Columbia Southern University, with his dissertation, entitled Hired with Competence: An Examination of Police Hiring Standards in Canada, focusing on the nexus between performance management and competency-based hiring practices in Canadian police services. His research focus is on organizational development in public safety organizations, and competency-based recruiting and development of police officers, and he has presented nationally and internationally on these topics.

Christina Caffrey’s inspiration for a career in emergency management and public safety came when she was living in Thailand during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and supported with the recovery efforts. She has lived around the world and worked in non-profit, private (oil and gas, financial and insurance companies) and municipal government. Her work with municipal government largely includes supporting essential services like water, 9-1-1 and peace officers, as well as liaising with, and delivering, reports to elected officials. In her current role with The City of Calgary (Alberta, Canada), she leads a team a responsible for strategic risk, business continuity, emergency management, issues management and information management that supports the Operational Services department of over 7000 people. Also, since 2019 she has been an instructor for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) emergency management program.

Through her work, as well as volunteering with Canada Task Force 2’s Incident Management Team, Christina has been deployed to various provincial and national disasters like wildfires and floods since 2011. She has her BA in International Development, Masters in Disaster & Emergency Management, and designations as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), and certificates in Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Communications. To further highlight her passion and desire to collaborate she has partnered with other professionals to publish in Municipal World and Canadian Security magazines.

Terrence P. Dwyer is a professor of legal studies at Western Connecticut State University and an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Connecticut and New York. He is the author of Legal Issue in Homeland Security (2014), and since 2008 he has been the Police Liability & Litigation columnist for PoliceOne.com. Dwyer retired from the New York State Police in 2007 after a 22-year career, 17½ of which were as an Investigator in the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). His last assignment was with the Violent Crimes Investigative Team (Major Crimes Unit). He was a U.S. Naval Reservist from 1993 until honorably discharged in 2001.

Dwyer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Pace University School of Law, and a post-graduate certificate in labor studies from Cornell University.

Joseph Eaton is the Admin Assistant Chief for Lawrenceburg Fire Department in Tennessee. He has 24 + Years in local city government and has worked his way through the ranks starting as a firefighter to his current position. He holds an A.A.S. in Fire Science, a B.S. in Fire Science, a Masters in Business Administration, and he has earned the Chief Fire Officer Designation through the Center of Public Safety Excellence.

He also serves as a County Commissioner for Lawrence County. He is currently serving his third term in this position. He has served on several committees including Safety and the Budget Committee. He has earned the Certified Public Administrator Designation through the Center of Technical Assistance Service at the University of Tennessee.

Shane Fitzpatrick has worked within the public safety community for over 25 years with experience in mountain rescue, avalanche forecasting, emergency medical services and tactical medicine in BC and Alberta. He has spent the last 18 years working as an Advanced Care Paramedic in Alberta. He was a member of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) Team for 9 years, working as a tactical medic imbedded within the Calgary Police Tactical Unit and worked as an Interim/Assistant Supervisor of Clinical Operations with Calgary Metro EMS. Shane is currently working as an Emergency Management Officer with AHS Emergency/Disaster Management.

Shane has been instrumental in the development of the Alberta Health Services EMS Active Shooter/Hostile Event response protocol and was rewarded with a Certificate of Exemplary Recognition in Innovation and Leadership from Alberta Health Services. He collaborated with the International Public Safety Association (IPSA) as Chair of the TEMS Committee to produce several publications on tactical medicine and he was a guest speaker at several International Tactical Medical Conferences. In 2018 Shane founded Crisis Point Trauma Care Inc. Shane is dedicated and passionate about training the first responder community and the general public in Stop the Bleed techniques and empowering them to become the immediate responder prior to the arrival of medical professionals.

Shane enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. He is an outdoors enthusiast and loves to ski, climb and mountain bike in the Rocky Mountains. As a volunteer medic at summer camp, he was appropriately referred to as ‘Nine Lives’.

Shinar Haynes is a member of the IPSA's Mental Health Section, she is the NENA Coordinator for the North Region of Texas, and an APCO Group Leader. Her public safety career that began in 2003 with the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC). In 2015, Shinar moved to New Orleans to lead the newly consolidated Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD) and was appointed as the agency’s first Director of Operations. Most recently she served as the Executive Director for Tarrant County 9-1-1.

She is the CEO of Responder Services Consulting working with public safety and emergency management agencies. Shinar is among the elite group of Certification Public Safety Executives (CPE) and Registered Public Safety Leaders (RPL). She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She is an active member of IPSA, APCO, NENA, IAED, IAEM, SHRM, and PERF.

David L. Holl is the Director of Public Safety for Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. In that role he oversees the police department, emergency medical services, is liaison to two Township volunteer fire companies, and serves as the municipal Emergency Management Coordinator. Prior to his appointment at Lower Allen, Director Holl served as the Deputy Director for Operations for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and previously as Deputy Director for Administration at PEMA. In those roles he oversaw the state Emergency Operations Center, the Bureau of Recovery and Mitigation, and the State 911 Office, among others. He also served as the Governor's Authorized Representative for several federally declared disasters in Pennsylvania. Prior to his appointment at PEMA, Director Holl served as Lieutenant/Assistant Chief of Police with the Township of Derry Police Department in Hershey. In that capacity he was Commander of the Administrative and Technical Services Division, which included supervision of radio and technical services, communications, criminal investigation, forensics, community services, accreditation, and records management. Director Holl has previously served as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Township of Derry, a community that hosts well over 5.5 million visitors each year for various entertainment and business venues. Director Holl currently serves as Chairman of the South-Central Task Force Criminal Justice Subcommittee and was recently appointed to the State's 911 Advisory Board by Governor Wolf as the representative from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. His public safety background has spanned over 40 years beginning in the community volunteer fire service and emergency medical services. Director Holl also served as an Emergency Medical Technician and worked as an EMT-Paramedic in central Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA, a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven, West Haven, CT, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University. He also serves as an adjunct professor for Penn State University’s World campus. Director Holl is a 2003 Graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, holds numerous certifications in the public safety field, and has been the recipient of several professional awards.

Ruel Kapunan is the founder of Pilipinas911 and HTEC Co. Ltd— Philippine-based companies engaged in the business of providing nationwide 24/7 emergency services, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) training and disaster response to corporate and government clients. Ruel is also a US-certified Emergency Telecommunicator Instructor, providing emergency dispatch certification to local government units. He also teaches tactical medicine to various units of the Philippine National Police and the military.

Since volunteerism is an integral part of his mission, Ruel and his personnel have deployed to different parts of the country to help in the search and rescue and retrieval operations. In 2017, he volunteered with the DILG to head the Management of the Dead during the Marawi Siege, which saw him going to main battle area in numerous occasions to carry out the tasks assigned to him. In April 2020, he volunteered with the national government’s Covid-19 pandemic response as a member of the Task Group Resource Management and Logistics. He helped formulate the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be used by the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities operated by the police and military. In February 2022, Ruel became a member of the Eastern Police District (EPD) DMFB Battalion Advisory Council. He also became a volunteer member of his home city’s Rescue Task Force (RTF).

Charles H. Kean is a retired police sergeant from the Springfield (IL) Police Department. During his 21-year career he served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Field Training Sergeant, and Traffic Services Sergeant. Kean was the tactical paramedic for the department's Emergency Response Team (SWAT) and in that capacity he established the TEMS program for the team and served as the primary medical educator for the SPD. Kean helped establish Sangamon County's Narcan response program and served as the SPD's Narcan administrator and educator. The Narcan policy and procedure Kean wrote for the SPD was adopted by all law enforcement agencies in Sangamon County. As the Traffic Services Sergeant Kean was responsible for over 100 planned large events annually including several high profile events of national significance. Kean's Master's closure project/thesis became the basis for the Springfield Police and Fire Department's Rescue Task Force program.

Kean currently works as the paramedic for the Illinois State Capitol complex. He serves as the master instructor for medical programs at the Macon County (IL) Law Enforcement Training Academy and as an EMS instructor at Lincoln Land Community College. Kean holds a Master's in Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness from the University of Illinois Springfield and a Bachelor's in Organizational Management from Benedictine University at Springfield. His research interests include active threat/mass casualty incidents, Rescue Task Force and integrated response and police providing initial emergency medical care.

Charles E. “Chuck” MacLean, M.B.A., J.D., and Ph.D., serves as tenured Professor and Director of Professional Peace Officer Education and Chair of the Human Subjects Review Board at Metro State University in Minnesota, and teaches Constitutional Law at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His teaching focuses include criminal justice ethics, constitutional criminal procedure, sexual violence, and criminal court systems. Chuck previously taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Ethics, Trial Advocacy, and other courses at ABA-accredited law schools in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Indiana, and taught Police Report Writing for years at the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is author or co-author of multiple books and dozens of scholarly articles on criminal law, law enforcement ethics, and criminal justice.

Prior to teaching full-time, Chuck served for twenty years as a state felony prosecutor specializing on handling murders, child sexual assaults, gang crimes, and other violent crimes. He served for fourteen of those twenty years as the elected prosecutor for his jurisdiction. During that time, Chuck taught POST-qualified courses to licensed peace officers and taught substantive criminal law, evidence, and constitutional law to future peace officers. Chuck regularly serves in multiple volunteer roles, including with the Minnesota State Board of Continuing Legal Education, the Executive Board of the Law and Public Policy Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and as Peer Reviewer or Editor for the Youth Voice Journal, the IPSA Journal, Sage Open, the Multicultural Learning and Teaching Journal, the Journal of Criminal Justice & Law, and multiple publishers, including Routledge/Taylor & Francis, Rowman Publishing, and Kendall-Hunt Publishers. He presents regularly at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the American Society for Criminology, the Law & Society Association, and the Urban Affairs Association, among others.

Anna McRay is currently the Assistant Director of Emergency Management for New Hanover County, North Carolina where she has served since March 2019. She served as the Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management with the Henrico County (VA) Division of Fire from 2007 - 2019 and with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management from 2005 – 2007 focusing on emergency shelter management and volunteer coordination. Anna has been certified as a pre-hospital care provider since 1988 and is currently certified as a Paramedic.

Anna has her Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Services Management (2004) and her Master’s Degree in Disaster Sciences (2009) from the University of Richmond, and is completing her Doctorate of Public Policy Administration with a focus in Emergency Management at Walden University. She has completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy (2019) and has completed the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (2021). She was a charter member of the Central Virginia All-Hazards Incident Management Team (CVAHIMT) and supports North Carolina Emergency Management IMT efforts as a credentialed Type 3 Liaison Officer, Type 3 Planning Section Chief, and Type 3 Public Information Officer.

Bobbie Merica is an award-winning innovator, international speaker, author, and leader in the development of immersive sensory training. Bridging her background in simulation modeling to scientific art, she has developed a training program and certification process for moulage standardization and scenario refinement specific to medical and trauma industries, including first-responders, MCI, CBRNE, military, wilderness, and sports medicine. As the CEO and Founder of Moulage Concepts Inc, she has authored several books, including the international publication "Medical Moulage- How to make your Simulations Come Alive" and "If I have to Grow, It's Good to Know" a community artists coloring book series focused on growth, resilience, and reframing through educational concepts and training: (CAPE) Communities Align for Prioritizing Education.

Mrs. Merica began her career as a Simulation Technologist before accepting a Simulation Consultant/Coordinator position specializing in simulation program development, implementation, and SimCenter design. Upon discovering the absence of Moulage specific to a clinical/hospital setting, she designed and implemented the first of a series of three-dimensional, interactive clinical wounds, training kits, and "all hazard" courses that she teaches around the country; enabling others to "Bridge the Gap" in simulation. With an extensive knowledge of moulage wound development and scenario staging, Bobbie's mission was to identify areas for growth and risk mitigation through a unique combination of simulation development tools and moulage realism. Utilizing both simulator and standardized patients, she works with multi-industry agencies to enhance performance proficiency, adaptive training customization, and hazard identification - CORE techniques she developed and teaches in her "Art & Science of Training Realism" workshops. Additionally, Mrs. Merica’s custom work has been published in over 300 industry scenario-training articles, curated for display (Hands of Catastrophic Change: 9/11 memorial), Innovation Award Winner (2015): Multi-Agency MCI Response Training Kits and Innovative Award Winner (2018): Pediatric hemorrhagic trainers, Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program and TECC Certified.

Sarah O’Brien is the Public Safety Telecommunications Supervisor for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Communications Center. She has been in the Public Safety field since 2010. This field has fundamentally changed her as a person, everything she currently has in her life, she owes to this field. She has worked all positions throughout the dispatching field from being a dispatcher for a private ambulance dispatcher in 2010 to becoming a cross trained Fire Department and Police Department Dispatcher in 2013. Then she started dispatching for the Sheriff’s office in 2019 and now she is one of them Communications Supervisors and the Tactical Communications Team leader for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

While the dispatch field is her passion and my carrier outside of work, she is a wife and a mom. She has been married for 9 years and is blessed with four boys ranging from 8 years old to 11 months old. Her family is actively invested in the community and working to raise their boys up to love and respect Law Enforcement and Public Safety. When she is not working, she homeschools her boys and build their farm.

Ryan Perlongo is the Regional Advisor for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Law Enforcement Strategic Guidance Unit (SGU). This unit provides hands-on strategic counsel to New York State law enforcement agencies focusing on evidence-based policing practices, community trust building, and reform and reinvention collaboratives. Perlongo’s role includes the design of portfolio-specific learning opportunities tailored to local legislation and priorities, fostering peer learning partnerships across agencies, and building the technical capacity of local stakeholders to implement, measure, and sustain strategies.

In addition to his work with the SGU, Perlongo continues to serve as Master Police Instructor for the DCJS, focusing on Problem-Oriented Policing strategies. Perlongo’s 15-year career in sworn service was rooted in developing and administering comprehensive officer training programs at the City and State Universities of New York, retiring as Assistant Chief of Police. Perlongo holds a Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership from the University of San Diego and was recently accepted as a doctoral candidate at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education and Human Development.

Benjamin Phillips is an Emergency Manager for the City of Durham, North Carolina’s Water Management where he is responsible for emergency planning and operations for all water-related emergencies. He is responsible for planning and facilitating exercises that include collaborating with multiple partners including law enforcement, fire, public health, and institutes of higher education. Phillips is also an Incident Command and First Aid CPD instructor. He previously worked as a County Emergency Manager in Montana, as an Emergency Management Assistant for the City of Goodyear, Arizona, and has also worked in law enforcement as a Border Patrol Agent in Southern Arizona. Phillips has a B.S. in Public Safety and Emergency Management and an M.S. In Leadership, Disaster Management, and Fire Leadership. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management at the University of Portsmouth.

Phillips is a Lifetime Active Member of the International Public Safety Association and has actively participated in many of our events and programs including serving on our Special Advisory Committee to the Executive Director in 2021.

Riki Rarick has led an impressive career as a Military, Law Enforcement Officer and Terrorism expert in his 40+ years working in the U.S. Military, Homeland Security, and Defense Contracting industries. In 2003, he was recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Defense (Honorable Donald Rumsfeld) for his contributions to the area of Terrorism/Counterterrorism, and served as a personal advisor to his staff in the field. Mr. Rarick has also been featured in several well-known industry publications and radio/tv programs, including; Marine Corps Times, Armed Forces Radio & TV, the Shawn Hannity Show, the Carl DeMaio News Radio 600 KOGO in San Diego, CA, the Victoria Taft Show, and the History/Discovery Channels “Surviving the Cut” program .

Prior to his current role at Apex Park and Recreation District, Rik worked as a Emergency Health & Safety Director at Amazon and Stadler Rail, helping Emergency Management teams/divisions with Environmental, Safety, and Security issues. Before joining the Amazon team, he was Founder/President of both Security and Tactical Solutions and Triton Advisory Group companies from 2009-2018. Additionally Rik had a long and highly successful career in U.S. Military Special Operations/Missions and Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) with the United States Marine Corps, local law enforcement, and working as a lead instructor for Counter Terrorism and High Risk Operations Training Programs (HROTP) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA. Mr. Rarick is one of the top Anti-Counterterrorism experts in the country, and has played a part over 30 yrs. in taking down many terrorist operations and international drug cartels around the globe working with such foreign agencies/countries as: United Kingdom, Joran, Canada, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Columbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Panama.

Stanley “Stan” Reid is responsible for developing, building and expanding the Emergency Management Systems account for Akima LLC. He has been in private sector business development and project capture of Federal and State government programs for the majority of his career. Prior to this specialty, he worked in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. He has also worked as a Corporate Lobbyist, and as a Legislative Director for the U.S. Congress. Stan graduated with Honors from the University of California (SB).

Scott Sare currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Johnson County MED-ACT in the greater Kansas City Region overseeing daily operations of the county-wide EMS system. MED-ACT operates up to 25 units daily covering 450 square miles, a population of 650,000 residents, and 56,000 total EMS responses per year. Scott serves as a member of the regional MCI policy group, the department’s policy development group covering hostile event response and recovery, and the County Operations Chiefs Association.

Before joining Johnson County MED-ACT, he spent 18 years in the fire/EMS service in Colorado with the last nearly 15 years at the Aurora Fire Rescue Department. Scott retired while serving as the Deputy Chief of Operations where he oversaw mission readiness, success, and safety of daily operations of more than 360 personnel, 15 stations, and over 50,000 fire and ALS responses per year. Prior to his assignment as the Operations Chief, he was the Deputy Chief of Preparedness overseeing training, health & safety, and emergency management. He also served as the Department’s Training Chief and Co-director of the Rocky Mountain Fire Academy. Scott was the department’s project manager for the design and build of the joint police and fire/EMS public safety training center in Aurora. He developed the policy for Multi-Casualty response for the Fire Department and consulted on the High-Risk Extraction Protocol for active shooter response. Scott was assigned as the department’s representative to review the after-action report recommendations for the 2012 theater shooting and served as a liaison to the police department on collaborative trainings, exercises, and operations.

Scott holds a Master of Business Administration from Grand Canyon University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado, and a Certificate in Public Safety Leadership from the University of Denver.

David Schuld is a deputy director of preparedness with Hagerty Consulting, an emergency management and homeland security consulting firm supporting clients in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. As lead for all security, intelligence, and threat management projects for the firm, Schuld leads teams of planners, trainers, and exercise designers in creating tools and activities that support public safety agencies and their partner stakeholders strengthen capabilities used against active threats, acts of terrorism, acts of violence, and other major crimes. Schuld also created and manages the Hunter Seeker Program, Hagerty’s innovative intelligence and information sharing exercises. Prior to working with Hagerty, Schuld served as political advisor to the Head of the British Army Staff in the United States and was Crisis Management Advisor for the British Government in North America.

Schuld holds a Masters in European Politics and Policies from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), graduated from Air Command and Staff College (USAF), and is currently completing a Masters of Science in Covert Investigation and Specialist Intelligence with Liverpool John Moores University (UK).

Dr. Christopher J. Schultz is a scholar practitioner with a diverse background in public service. His experiences include higher education, local government administration, emergency management, and the volunteer fire service. His area of expertise is in leadership and management, organization and administration, and budgeting. Currently, Chris is an Assistant Dean in the Heavin School of Arts, Sciences, and Technology at Thomas Edison State University, and previously served as Assistant Dean and Director, Continuing Studies in the John S. Watson School of Public Service at Thomas Edison.

Chris holds a Doctor of Public Administration from West Chester University (PA), a Master of Science in Public Safety Management from St. Joseph’s University (PA), a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University at Camden (NJ), and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Stockton State College (NJ). Chris is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for the Field of Public Affairs and Administration and the Order of the Sword and Shield Academic and Professional Honor Society dedicated exclusively to homeland security, intelligence, emergency management, cyber and information security, and all protective security disciplines.

Shannon Seibel is a Behavioral Health Counselor, MS, with Sanford Health and Atlas Counseling, and is a former public safety employee. As a Counselor, Shannon currently works with a diverse group of clients in outpatient psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, mobile crisis team, and provides mental health psychoeducation. She has been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). Prior to mental health, she worked for 17 years, in civilian roles with the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and in direct collaboration with the federal, state, local, and tribal agencies comprised within these entities.

Shannon is currently a PsyD in Clinical Psychology doctoral student at Capella University, holds an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University, and BS in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, Leadership Certificate, and AAS in Law Enforcement from Rasmussen College. Shannon’s professional passion and motivation revolves around public safety wellness and support. She resides in Northern Minnesota and maintains local and regional connections with first responder agencies, crisis response, community-based services, and criminal justice, legal, health care, and education systems.

Steve Soyka was elected to his position as Sheriff at the Stearns County Sheriff's Office (St. Cloud MN) in November of 2018, taking on the role in January 2019. During his 31+ year career in Law Enforcement, starting in 1991, he has worked at 2 Sheriff's Offices performing several roles within those agencies. He has worked patrol, patrol supervisor, undercover narcotics, bike patrol, field training officer, investigator and medical examiner investigator. He was a SWAT team operator, team leader and commander of a 2 county SWAT team. He also commanded a 17-person multi-agency Violent Offender Task Force for several years and has volunteered numerous years for his agencies Youth Law Enforcement Explorer Program teaching future generations about the public safety profession.

Sheriff Soyka advocates for teamwork within his agency and further pushes a heavy community engagement objective that was lacking within the office before his taking over. When not working, he volunteers his time with his local LIONS club and other causes that benefit the community he lives in. He can be found golfing or boating during Minnesota summers and enjoys working on and driving his collector cars, including a 1967 Ford Sheriff car. Sheriff Soyka looks forward to working with IPSA in promoting the public safety profession and in how we work collaboratively to accomplish goals when needed.

Scott Stoller serves as a chief of police for a small municipality in the upstate of South Carolina. Scott has over thirty years of experience in law enforcement serving in many capacities including uniformed patrol, investigations, traffic, community patrol, training, dignitary protection, canine, EOD, and SWAT.

In addition, Scott is a nationally certified paramedic and a paramedic instructor. He has served as a tactical paramedic, as well as served as a county EMS director. Scott, additionally, is a volunteer firefighter/paramedic in his home community having served in that capacity for over 35 years. Scott also serves as a paramedic with the medical teams for the local, state, and national (USA) Special Olympics. He served on IPSA's RTF committee.

Charles L. Werner (Chief Ret.) has served 47 years in public safety. Charles started his career as a firefighter with the Charlottesville VA Fire Dept. as a 37 years, serving the last ten years as fire chief. Charles also served two years as a reserve deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriffs Office. Following retirement, Chief Werner served for 2 years as senior advisor and deputy state coordinator for the Virginia Dept of Emergency Management. Chief Werner has served in numerous local, state and national leadership roles on various public safety topics.  He presently serves as Director/Founder of DRONERESPONDERS and is an FAA Certificated Remote Pilot. More recently, Charles joined the Virginia Department of Aviation as an aviation technologies advisor. 

Chief Werner serves on numerous Unmanned Systems Advisory Boards and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine, a contributor to Urgent Communications, Domestic Preparedness Magazine, Crisis Response Journal, Police1 and other publications with over 300 nationally published articles.

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