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Special Advisory Committee

Committee Chair

Heather R. Cotter is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the International Public Safety Association.

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.

Cotter’s vision is to bring the public safety community together beyond any call for service. Creating an integrated public safety culture takes time, but the outcomes are indisputably worthwhile: first responder safety, community safety, unified training, improved response, research-driven policy.

Cotter interacts with the entire public safety community daily.

Committee Member

David Haye is a Superintendent at Saskatoon Police Service. He has over 40 years of policing experience, originally with the Canadian Armed Forces Military Police and then with the Saskatoon Police Service. Early in his career he helped to form the Saskatoon Police Service’s first Public Safety Unit (Crowd Control) and was with the Unit for 10 years as a Team Leader.

He has served in a number of different roles in his policing career from Patrol Operations, Organized Crime Investigations, Integrated Policing Units, and Criminal Investigations.Most recently leading the Service’s Communications Center, the various Emergency Response Teams, Critical Incident Commander Program, and work with the City of Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization.

He also sits on national committees with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police as well as provincial/local committees including joint police and fire management. Haye has a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University, British Columbia, Canada. He is a recipient of the Government of Canada Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, the Police Exemplary Service Medal, and the Saskatchewan Protective Services Medal.

Committee Member

April Sloan is a Paramedic Captain at San Francisco Fire Department. Over the last 20 years she has worked for volunteer, private and municipal agencies. Sloan is a community paramedic and senior captain within the CP Division. She is a tactical medic and TEMS coordinator. She is peer support specialist and a team leader for the Critical Incident Response Team. When not taking care of others you can find Sloan on her SUP, outside with her kids or with her head buried in good book.

Committee Member

Benjamin Phillips has been in emergency management for the last five years after discovering his passion for a more unified response to emergencies. He has served as an emergency management assistant and most recently as Director of Emergency Management for a large county in Montana. Prior to this, Phillips worked for various law enforcement agencies, including the US Customs and Border Protection as a Border Patrol Agent in Southern Arizona. He has ardently supported public safety through mental health outreach and training programs.

Phillips is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management with the University in Portsmouth, UK that will build a more complete worldview in disaster relief. Phillips currently has a Master of Science in Leadership with emphasis on Executive Fire Leadership and Disaster Management as well as a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management, both from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. He is also a Basic life support and First Aid/CPR instructor and is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management.

Committee Member

Gary Teeler began his law enforcement career with the State of Texas in 1996, and has filled various roles, including Law Enforcement Academy Cadet Class Coordinator, Division Inspector, and Chief of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He currently serves as the Public Safety Support Manager at the Lower Colorado River Authority. Teeler previously served as the President of the Midwest Association of Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers (AMFGLEO), along with serving on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Environmental Crimes Committee. He served on the International Public Safety Association’s (ISPA) Emerging Technology Committee, and as chair of the Civil Unrest Committee.

In 1994, Teeler graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Law Enforcement. In 2011, he received his Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management from Sam Houston State University. In 2014, Teeler graduated from the 256th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia. He graduated from the Emergency Management Institute’s Basic Emergency Manager Academy in 2018. In 2012, he earned the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential, and in 2013, he earned the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) credential. In 2018, Teeler earned the Texas Emergency Manager (TEM) credential and in 2019, the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) credential.

Committee Member

Ryan Perlongo has more than 15 years of experience in Public Safety operations, training, and curriculum development for both sworn and non-sworn higher education law enforcement agencies. He is currently the Assistant Chief of Police at the State University of New York: Dutchess Community College (SUNY). As Chief, he is responsible for sworn and non-sworn Police and Public Safety support staff in the areas of training/accreditation, officer professional development, emergency management, and environmental health and safety.

Prior to his appointment at SUNY, Perlongo was the Deputy Chief/ Director of Public Safety Operations and Training at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he modernized the operations, reporting, and training procedure. Perlongo also spent 10 years as a sworn officer, supervisor, and training manager for the City University of New York (CUNY), Manhattan Community College, where he developed the Field Training and Instructor Development programs.

During his tenure, Manhattan Community College was ranked the Safest Large Campus in the State of New York. He is also a New York State Master Instructor for the Division of Criminal Justice Services(DCJS), where he conducts procedural justice and implicit bias training to police agencies statewide. Perlongo is proud to have worked on the team tasked with reviewing, revising, and developing the Principled Policing course recently certified by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council.

Committee Member

Al Duncan started as a volunteer firefighter at the age of 16 and worked for a private ambulance until enlisting in the U.S. Army. Duncan served as a Combat Medical Specialist with the 2nd Infantry Division and completed his military career as a flight medic for the 377th Medical Company, the only Air Ambulance unit on the Korean Peninsula. He has over twenty-five years’ experience as a fire service professional and is currently employed by the Oakland (CA) Fire Department. During his employment, Duncan has functioned in a variety of capacities ranging from Firefighter to Fire Captain-Paramedic and served as a member of the technical rescue team, Emergency Medical quality assurance committee, paramedic field-training officer, Tactical EMS Training and Education Committee and Fire Investigator.

Duncan has been a Canine Search Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (CA-TF4) since 1999. He has instructed adult learners in multiple disciplines of the Fire Service and Emergency Medicine and had the distinct honor of teaching Basic and Advanced Combat Trauma Training to United States Military personnel and other operational combat medics. Above all, he was mom’s favorite!

Committee Member

David 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.

O’Neal earned his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program and a credentialed Chief Fire Officer (CFO). O’Neal sits on numerous professional and community boards and is currently working with his law enforcement counterparts in Akron developing a combined Public Safety Training Facility.

Committee Member

Nicholas Greco IV, M.S., B.C.E.T.S., C.A.T.S.M., F.A.A.E.T.S., is President and Founder of C3 Education and Research, Inc. Greco has held multiple positions over a 20-year career in clinical operations, project management, multidisciplinary training for civilians and law enforcement. He has authored over 325 book reviews, presented globally on over 400 professional presentations, workshops, and in-services, and authored or co-authored numerous articles and text supplements in psychiatry and psychology.

He is an approved CIT instructor with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, a CIT instructor for the Chicago Police Department, CIT Coordinator and Lead CIT Trainer for the Lake County Sheriff’s National CIT Program, a Subject Matter Expert for both Axon and Lexipol/Police One, and a Mental Health First Aid Instructor with Public Safety, Fire/EMS, and Higher Education designations. He is a member of ILEETA, an Associate Member Service Provider of IACP, and Committee Chair for the IPSA Mental Health and Wellness Committee.

Committee Member

Greg Benson has served 40 years in the public safety field from backstep firefighter to fire chief. Operations, administrative, and command level assignments in emergency service and emergency management agencies have been completed. Benson has extensive experience in street-level response and command in a wide range of emergency incidents. Responses include fires, mass casualty incidents, special operations, and disasters. He has been an advocate of integrating training and operations among multi-disciplinary public safety agencies to improve preparedness, response, and resiliency in the communities. He has collaboratively developed and conducted high-risk incident and disaster response training with a range of public/private entities. Benson has functioned in all EOC roles during incidents and large-scale events.

Educational achievements include earning a master’s degree in Public Administration, numerous executive-level emergency service certifications, and designation as a Chief Fire Officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Haye is an adjunct instructor at Chicago area universities and colleges in emergency service operations, emergency management, and homeland security functions. Competencies include conducting vulnerability and organizational assessments, program evaluation, benchmarking systems, and technology integration in operations. He has contributed to textbooks and other professional publications while contributing to research and best organizational practices on preparedness and response challenges. Benson remains committed to supporting community preparedness, response, and resiliency through training and education to increase capabilities and reduce vulnerabilities.

Committee Member

Kevin Sweet is a professional practitioner, executive, consultant and educator with extensive experience and education in the field of municipal management, public health, emergency management, public safety, and organizational leadership. In addition to practical experience, he has held Adjunct Faculty and Guest Lecturer positions in both undergraduate and graduate level management programs at various institutions throughout New England. His expertise is founded on several years of executive leadership experience within the public sector. Sweet serves full-time as the Chief Municipal Executive and Director of Emergency Management of a full-service, high-growth municipality in Massachusetts.

Sweet holds leadership positions as an active member with several professional state and national associations and holds the professional status of ICMA-Credentialed Manger. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration. He earned a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Financial Management from Norwich University, Master of Science in Emergency Management and Bachelor of Science in Marine Safety and Environmental Protection from Massachusetts Maritime Academy - The Commonwealth's Leadership University. In addition, he earned a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Leadership and Management from Suffolk University’s Moakley Center for Public Management and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health Preparedness: Bioterrorism and Disaster Management from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.

Committee Member

Paul Hoyle currently serves as Emergency Services Coordinator for Grayson County, Virginia, where he is responsible for coordinating the activities of the fire and EMS agencies for the county, planning and preparing for, and responding to, emergencies within the county as well as engaging with our communities to ensure they are prepared for whatever may come.

Prior to moving to Grayson County, Hoyle served as a planner for the Peninsulas EMS Council in Gloucester, Virginia for several years. He began his career experience in emergency services and emergency management in Portsmouth Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services in Portsmouth, Virginia until his retirement in 2010. Hoyle also serves on Virginia-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and Southwest Virginia Incident Management Team. He has responded to numerous incidents of national significance over the last 15 years, among them Hurricanes Sandy, Michael, Matthew, Irma, the 2019 Virginia Beach mass shooting and many others. Hoyle is a veteran of the United States Navy, retiring in 2000 with 21 years of honorable service. He currently lives near Independence, Virginia with his wife Ashley, daughter Sage and numerous wild beasts, stuffed and otherwise. And while the Covid-19 pandemic, flash floods and brush fires are expected, he thinks that the recent earthquake was a bit much.

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