The 2019 NGCRC 22nd International Gang Specialist

Training Conference (August 5-7, 2019):

A Look at the Presenters

Last Updated: July 26, 2019


James A. Anderson, M.S.

            James A. Anderson is a Deputy State Fire Marshal in Minnesota and a State Fire Inspector. He is a fire science instructor with the Fire and Emergency Education Department at Saint Cloud Technical College. He has participated as an evaluator in numerous state level fire service certification board examinations throughout the State of Minnesota. James has presented and taught at several Minnesota state fire school conferences. James is a second generation firefighter and has been an active member in the fire service since 1993 as both civilian and military (8 years active duty Air Force Firefighter). Along with years of firefighting experience he has obtained both his M.S. and B.A. in Criminal Justice from Saint Cloud State University and an A.A.S. in Fire Science from the Community College of the Air Force, all of which have an emphasis on forensic fire science and arson investigation. James was awarded the Arnold Sibet Award for Outstanding service to the Crystal Fire Department and was awarded the Air Force’s Outstanding Unit Award with Valor while serving as a firefighter during his first deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. Recently James was awarded the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for the year 2012 for Superior Research.


Dr. Sally-Ann Ashton

            Sally-Ann Ashton is a postgraduate researcher in the International Centre for Investigative Psychology at University of Huddersfield and a Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behavior at Edge Hill University. In 2017 she was a recipient of a Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for superior accomplishments in gang research. Sally-Ann has over 10 years of experience of running training workshops in English prisons. The presentation is co-authored with Dr. Maria Ioannou, a Chartered Forensic Psychologist and Read in Investigative Psychology and Course Director for the Msc in Investigative Psychology at the University of Huddersfield. Maria has been involved in the assessment of intervention programmes for reducing/preventing a range of different forms of criminality.


Det. Sandy Avelar 

            Detective Sandy Avelar has served for over 20 years with the Vancouver Police Department, including tours in Vice and the Organized Crime Section Gang Crime Unit. She has extensive operational experience and serves as a Tactical Advisor for her agency. Sandy has devoted the majority of her career to youth and gang work and sits on the board of directors for the Boys Club Network. She is in graduate school, focusing on girls and gangs. Sandy is the co-founder of “Her Time”, an anti-gang initiative for females.

Jim Bailey

            Corporal Jim Bailey has been with the Battle Creek Police Department for over 13 years, and has been assigned to the Battle Creek Police Department Gang Suppression Unit for over 6 years. Corporal Bailey has been directly involved in many of the same gang investigations as Detective Sutherland, and has assisted as one of the lead investigators with Detective Sutherland, on many of the same violence crime investigations. Corporal Bailey has also been involved in cell phone investigations, writing and executing search warrants, surveillance techniques, undercover drug buys, and managing confidential informants. Corporal Bailey has been recognized in Michigan State District Court and Circuit Court as an expert in drug trafficking and drug investigations, identifying armed subjects, and cell phone site analyses. Corporal Bailey is currently a K-9 handler for the Battle Creek Police Department and is a member of the department’s Emergency Response Team. He is a Defensive Tactics Instructor and a Patrol Training Officer for the Battle Creek Police Department. He has also received Instructor certification for Active Shooter Response for Civilians, through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.

Dr. Andy Bain

            Andy Bain is Director of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Mount Union, Ohio, USA. He holds a Ph.D. in Offender Behavior, a Msc. Criminal Justice and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Andy has authored, and edited numerous books, chapters, and articles, on the outlaw motorcycle gangs; law enforcement and technology; and, professional risk working with mental health, social care, and criminal justice, publishing with a number of leading international academic and professional journals. His professional background includes four years with the National Probation Service (England & Wales) and six years running a successful Criminal Justice Consultancy Group, providing guidance and advice to law enforcement agencies and correctional bodies. This, in turn led to the publication of a number of local and national policing and corrections reports.

Dr. Michelle Baker

            Dr. Michelle Baker, has extensive experience in directing programs geared towards reducing recidivism. Dr. Baker has conducted research to assist public schools reintegrate adolescent African American males post incarceration. She is the Executive Director of VETTS (Veterans Empowering Teens Through Support), Inc. A mentoring organization that matches honorably discharged veterans with identified gang associated youth. The VETTS program provides a supportive one-on-one relationship to the youth within their community 24 hours/7 days a week. She is also an Educational Advisor for Naugatuck Valley Community College, preparing high school students for post-secondary education.

Christina Barboza

            Christina Barboza is a Juvenile Counselor at the Washington County Juvenile Department in Hillsboro, Oregon. Christina studied Spanish, Psychology and Social Work at Pacific University, earning degrees in2008. Christina has worked with gang affected youth for 14 years and has been supervising youth who have been sexually exploited for 8 years. Christina is a member of the Oregon anti-human Trafficking Task Force and has previously chaired the Washington County Subcommittee on CSEC. Christina also serves on the OATH leadership team (Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans). Christina is currently serving as the Board President for Love INC, an NGO that provides resources and community support for the North Marion County area in Oregon. Christina has been recognized by local and state leaders for her efforts in raising awareness in the area of human trafficking.

Robert M. Brzenchek

            Robert M. Brzenchek is currently an Associate Member of the SPECTRUM Group located in Alexandria, VA. His areas of expertise include: threat assessments, emergency management, security and risk audit and compliance, law enforcement training, federal, state, and local homeland security, and gangs. Mr. Brzencheck supports clients as a risk mitigation and compliance expert, with substantial expertise spanning homeland security, emergency planning and emergency management. Prior to joining The SPECTRUM Group, he sserved as a Project Manager for ESI Security. He supported teams enabling client ISO, ANSI, and NIST security standard conformance, including ISO 27001/NIST 800-171 and ISO 28000/NIST 800–161. Previously, he served as a Program Manager for Honeywell, conducting physical and cyber vulnerability threat assessments. He also serves as a subject matter expert for the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He additionally serves as the Chair of the Financial Crime Investigation and Criminal Justice Department of Keiser University.

William A. Campbell 

            William A. Campbell is the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice Training Academy Branch Manager. With 25 years of working with at-risk/adjudicated teens in numerous settings ranging from acute care psychiatric, private residential treatment and group home & juvenile justice detentions. Originally, a Chicago native, William attended Western Illinois University where he received his Bachelors in Communications. After leaving W.I.U in 1985, served in the US Army and a tour of duty in Kuwait for Desert Storm as a member of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division and was honorably discharged in February 1993. In March of 1993 William began his career working with at-risk/adjudicated adolescents in an acute care psychiatric hospital. In 1998 he began working with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. William later joined the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice’s Training Branch in 2007 where he has specialized in gangs / security threat groups. He has assisted and taught new employees during academy training. In early 2009, certified as an expert in Gang Specialist. In 2010, he received the DJJ Professional Development Employee of the Year award. In 2010, he became a Trainer for Trainers at the National Gang Crime Research Center. William currently resides in Elisabethtown, Kentucky and is a member of the Juvenile Justice Alternative to Detention Initiative Committee.

Dominick Cicala

            Dominick Cicala is the Souther regional community outreach coordinator. Mr. Cicala is a 20 year veteran of the unit and is primarily responsible for all southern region community outreach. Mr. Cicala has presented gang awareness/Phoenix curriculum trainings throughout the New Jersey area. Mr. Cicala has worked closely with Cumberland County over the past five years with the implementation of the Phoenix curriculum in the Cumberland County elementary and middle schools.

Jonny Coughlin

            Los Angeles police officer Jonny Coughlin was born and raised in Boston and moved to Los Angeles to join the LAPD in 1995. After five years of combating gang violence, he founded Operation Progress to help those who were unable to break away from the cycle of inner city poverty. Since 2000, he has nurtured and grown the Operation Progress program from an initial $2,000 scholarship program to a $1 million operating budget. Officer Coughlin has been a patrol, gang and Community Safety Partnership Program Officer in the Watts area for the past 22 years. Officer Coughlin is married with three children. 

Aaron Cunningham

            Aaron Cunningham is a 18 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, currently assigned to the CPIC Fusion Center. Aaron is a highly decorated officer with extensive gang experience and past assignments to PSN Task Force, Area Gun Team, Intelligence Officer, and Tactical Team member. Aaron is also an internationalist having dedicated himself to organizing large National level Counterterrorism and C4ISR training events in North Asia. He is currently involved in training projects for the El Salvador Policia National Civil (PNC). 

Rev. Rodney E. Dailey

            Rev. Rodney E. Dailey is the architect of two successful gang prevention, intervention, mediation programs in the city of Boston, MA which operated for 20 years independent of the police department, and was later identified as part of the miracle when there were no murders for two years in Boston – 24 months in a row. Rodney is a published author (Gang Peace to Street Peace, The Untold Story of Research and Applied Proven Methods of Grass Roots Organizations). He believes faith-based initiatives must be applied strategically to the social problem of gang violence, especially when law enforcement is involved. Rodney organized the first march for gang violence in Boston and helped organized the first national gang summit in Kansas City, receiving over 90 awards from local and national organizations and governments. The 43rd President of the United States awarded him and the Gang Peace Program the 1000th Point of Light Presidential Award. The program was later re-awarded by the 44th President of the United States, President Obama. He completed a fellowship at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and another at Northeastern University’s Law institute and is an Otto Snowden fellow. He earned a Bachelors in Human Service Management from the University of Massachusetts Boston and is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal church, the largest black organization in the world, and serves as a ministerial staff member of St. Paul AME in Cambridge, MA. Rev. Rodney is the architect of Prayer Changes Things Ministry that bless blocks weekly in communities of violence, believing God is in control encouraging those who know the power of prayer to pray for peace and longevity of life - for all people.

Kenneth Davis

            Kenneth Davis is a retired detective with the Yonkers Police Department. Upon his 32 years of completion, his assignments included basic patrol, tactical patrol force, public housing unit, narcotics (street and undercover operations), community affairs division (gangs, graffiti, and police instructor), school resource officer, gangs and narcotics unit, and detective division. Ken acquired a MS degree in Human Resource Management from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY (August 1996). In addition, he maintains numerous accredited hours in the fields of law enforcement development, street gangs research/investigations, graffiti research/investigations, online resources/open source intelligence, and police/community issues. Ken has served as the department’s liaison for YMCA Project SNUG (Cure Violence/Violence Interrupter/Cease Fire) and Westchester Department of Corrections’s Recidivism Reduction Team.

Dr. Gregg W. Etter Sr., Ed.D.

            Dr. Gregg W. Etter Sr., Ed.D. is a Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. He retired as a Lieutenant with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in Wichita, Kansas, after serving from 1977 to 2006. He is rated as a gang expert by th National Gang Crime Research Center. He has written extensively and presented classes on gangs, white supremacist groups and police management topics in the United States and Canada. Dr. Etter earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Wichita State University and his Doctorate Degree from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Etter is the author of numerous books, book chapters, edited and refereed articles. His latest book is: Gangs and Organized Crime which he authored with Dr. George W. Knox and Dr. Carter F. Smith.

Rachel Fiore, MA

            Rachel Fiore graduated from the Masters in Forensic Psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2019. Rachel completed an internship with the Illinois Youth Center working as a substance use counselor on their treatment wing, conducting individual and group therapy, as well as case management services. Rachel’s clinical focus is on substance use issues, gang involvement, and trauma-related issues. Rachel practices from a Psychodynamic approach with a focus of trauma-informed and person-centered practices. Additionally, Rachel has worked in tutoring service programs with at-risk and incarcerated youth. She expects to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in August.

Brother Jim Fogerty

            The chair of the 2019 NGCRC Christian Gang Specialist Reception is Brother Jim Fogerty assisted by George Knox (NGCRC staff). The format this year will be a luncheon format with guest speakers, door prizes, etc. Brother Jim Fogarty is a lay person with the organization called Brothers and Sisters of Love. Jim has a strong background in trying to prevent gang violence. He has a Masters in Divinity from Catholic Theological Union. His “work clothes” are unique to his gang violence prevention ministry. He also heads up the tour of Cabrini Green.

Anthony L. Franks

            Anthony Franks is the United States Attorney’s Office Reentry Coordinator for the Eastern District of Missouri. In addition to his work in prosecuting federal cases, Anthony also works in four reentry courts. There, he focuses on assisting ex-offenders who have prior gang affiliation, substance abuse or mental health challenges, reenter society from prison and become productive law-abiding citizens. Anthony also assists in coordinating the office’s outreach work with schools, non-profits, and other entities. Anthony is a graduate of the Howard University School of Business (1993) and the Howard University School of Law (1998).

Theresa Gartland

            Theresa Gartland is the Executive Director of Operation Progress, a native of the Washington, D.C. area, and graduate of Villanova University. She moved to Los Angeles to attend Marymount University where she received a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has a passion for working in communities. She has taught in grade school in south Los Angeles, worked at Verbum Dei High School, and was the program and curriculum director of a nonprofit in Watts. She served as executive director of Urban Compass before coming to Operation Progress. Theresa is a graduate of the Annenberg Foundation Executive Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+ Program, 2nd Saturdays with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Scholars. She was a finalist in Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Program 2016. She was also a 2017 Fellow with the GG Society.

Dr. D. Lee Gilbertson

            D. Lee Gilbertson is a tenured professor at a state university in Minnesota and has been teaching since August 2000. He has studied gangs, militias, and extremist groups since 1995. He actively consults in the US and the UK with attorneys, law enforcement investigators, and medical examiners in the areas of forensic victimology and postmortem assessment, as well as crime analysis and mapping. Lee has presented at numerous national and international conferences and has participated in all of the NGCRC Gang Colleges. He is a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award (2002, 2005, 2008) and the Curtis Robinson Leadership Award (2015). Lee is the Executive Editor for the Journal of Gang Research and is a member of the NGCRC Staff. His background includes a Ph.D. in sociology, MS in criminal justice, and 16 years of exemplary military service (infantry and signals intelligence).

Frederick Gray

            Frederick Gray has been an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for 11 years. He is a sought after speaker on the topic of gangs. He is currently completing his Masters degree in criminal justice.

Derek Gruen

            Derek Gruen is a licensed clinical social worker and the clinical supervisor for the mental health department at Gads Hill Center. He has a master of social work degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Derek spent the past eight years working with children and adolescents in Chicago Public Schools including several years of intensive work with gang members.

Kristopher B.E. Hansgen

            Kristopher B.E.Hansgen is a graduate student at Saint Cloud State University in the Master of Science criminal justice program. He is an NGCRC certified gang specialist (2012) and has previously assisted teaching the Spatio-Temporal Gang Analysis classes at the NGCRC “Gang College”. His background includes a B.A. degree from Saint Cloud State University, where he double-majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology and minored in Forensic Science. Kris wrote two final academic research papers. He is employed in the Public Safety Department at Saint Cloud State University as a Patrol Operations Officer and Dispatch Officer. Kris has studied crime analysis and crime mapping since 2010, and is a member of the International Association of Crime Analysts.

Nick Homann

            Trooper Nick Homann is a 12 year veteran with the Illinois State Police. Seven years were spent in a patrol function split between the Illinois Tollways and District 11 in southern Illinois. During the W.A.V.E. initiative, Trp. Homann worked with W.A.V.E. agents on multiple occasions giving him a glimpse into inner city crime and the areas impacted by gang violence. In 2014, Trp. Homann volunteered for a new initiative aimed at combating the violent crime and gangs (mostly hybrid) negatively impacting the greater East St.Louis area. Trp. Homann assisted in the development of the Metro East Police Assistance Team (MEPAT) which would operate in one of the most violent areas of the country. MEPAT officers understand the constantly changing environment of which gangs operate and utilized focused attention to understand, document and counteract gang activities.

Kevin Kreuser

            Kevin Kreuser, B.S., Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago; 17 years as a Probation Officer — Cook County, ILL. Juvenile Court.

Edwin Lee

            Edwin Lee is the director of New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services. Edwin Lee, Jr. Was appointed as Director of Juvenile Parole & Transitional Services in April 2013. In this position, he oversees the JJC’s juvenile parole efforts and community reentry services throughout the state. Director Lee has been an integral part in the development of aftercare planning for the gang involved residents of the JJC. Mr. Lee is a graduate of the College of New Jersey, majoring in Law and Justice with a minor in sociology.

Lucas Liddle

            Lucas Liddle has been a police officer with the Cedar Rapids Police Department since 2006. He is currently assigned to the Special Operations Division with a position in the Police Community Action Team as well as a ballistic shield operator with the Special Response Team. He has been active with the Police Community Action Team since its creation in 2016. He has studied gangs and intelligence analysis since 2009. Officer Liddle has earned 2 Gang Specialist certifications from the National Gang Crime Research Center.

Stine Lukowski

            Stine Lukowski holds a master of science in social work and is working in the municipality of Koege. Stine is working with crime prevention targeting gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs. The goal is to prevent recruiting, motivate existing members to leave the gang and structuring exit programs for those who choose to do so. Stine is working together with law enforcement officers and the prison and probation service to help individuals leave the criminal environment.

Sarah Lund

            Sarah Lund has been employed as a Crime Lab Technician with the Omaha, NE Police Department Crime Lab since 2010. Past experience includes working as a Correctional Officer with the State of Minnesota Department of Corrections, and part-time adjunct faculty at St. Cloud State University, in St. Cloud, MN, as th instructor of the Forensic Photography course. She is a graduate of the Criminal Justice Master of Science program at SCSU, where she also earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. As part of her undergraduate thesis research, Sarah interned with the Forensic Imaging Bureau of the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department, photographing autopsies, death scenes, and evidence, and authored a photography manual for law enforcement. This year marks her fifteenth attendance at the NGCRC training conference, the twelfth year presenting with the NGCRC, and the twelfth year serving as the official NGCRC conference photographer.

Kate Mahoney, MSW, LCSW

            Kate Mahoney is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health. Kate earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northwestern University. She completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She also has a certificate in Family Therapy with Families with Substance Use Disorders from the Family Institute. She is the Executive Director of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is active in the community, a frequent presenter at conferences and community forums and a strong advocate for mental health services. She has been a leader in delivering trauma-informed care to youth and young adults for over twenty years. She currently serves on the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council. She is a past president of the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment.

Allie Martin

            Allie Martin is a confidential community-based Advocate and Outreach Coordinator for the Oregon based NGO, Safety Compass. Safety Compass serves survivors located in Portland, and its surrounding counties. Allie studied Psychology and Spanish at Willamette University and currently holds the position of the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator, overseeing and coordinating efforts around creating and implementing best practice protocols for serving victims of Domestic Minor Human Sex Trafficking. Allie has extensive experience in direct service delivery and case coordination around victims and previously ran a program that did advocacy work while utilizing Equine Therapy, at Horses of Hope Oregon. Allie currently sits on the Washington County Child Abuse MDT, and Washington County Safe Schools Committee, and also serves as Co-chair of the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force. Allie is called to train local Law Enforcement and Social Service agencies on the topic of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and has provided outreach and training to other community groups such as credit unions and other non-profit agencies.

Jessica Martinez, MA

            Jessica Martinez, MA, is the Director of Gang Prevention Services at the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) in Los Angeles. She has worked at GAP for nearly 15 years, where she began as a My Gangfree Lie Advisor providing students with a classroom based gang prevention education. She directs GAP’s My Gangfree Life® program for the 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades in public and private schools, manages the Gangfree Life Advisors® who go out to schools, and oversees core curriculum development. She maintains close working relationships with principals (or designees) and teachers, and is responsible for seeing that advisors are in compliance with all qualifications for classroom admittance. She also monitors GAP’s teen and parent programs. Jessica is an original and current member of the Freedom Writers of Long Beach and assists in the active training of teachers who participate in the Freedom Writers Institute.

Thaddeus J. May, J.D.

            Thaddeus J. May is an AUSA currently assigned to the Violent Crimes Section (working on gang and drug-related cases) of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. He previously served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and a Deputy County Attorney at the Utah County Attorney’s Office. He earned his J.D. from the University of Utah and has extensive homicide and special victims prosecution experience.

Dr. Keiron McConnell

            Keiron holds a Doctorate Degree in Policing, Security and Community Safety from Metropolitan London University, a Masters of Science Degree in Policing and Public Order Studies from the University of Leicester, a Bachelor of General Studies Degree from the Open University of British Columbia, a Diploma in Police Leadership from Dalhousie University and a Certificate in Public Sector Leadership from Royal Roads University. This academic achievement come with 29 years of operational experience with the last 15 years exclusively in gang suppression with a variety of police gang units. Keiron has provided consulting services that included the Royal Saudi Arabian Police and the Peoples Republic of China Police. He has instructed at the JIBC-Police Academy for three years in Professional Patrol Tactics and continues as a guest lecturer. In addition, he is a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where he teaches Organized Crime. He is a regular guest instructor for the policing program at Simon Fraser University and is the author of the textbook “Legal and Regulatory Influences for Public Safety Communications”.

Felix Mickens

            Felix Mickens is the Deputy Executive Director of Operations for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission. Mr. Mickens is directly responsible for the daily operations within the secure care facilities within the JJC. He is also responsible for management of the JJC gang management unit. Mr. Mickens is a graduate of Rutgers University, majoring in Administration of Justice and minoring in sociology.

Allen Mitchell

            Allen Mitchell is the coordinator for the NJ JJC Gang Management Unit. He is responsible for the day to day coordination of the GMU. Mr. Michell is a 20 year veteran of the JJC. He holds a Administration of Justice from Rutgers with a minor in sociology. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Robert Mulvaney, M.A.

            Robert Mulvaney has an extensive background in the Criminal Justice field including positions as a correctional officer, prison counselor, parole officer and STG specialist. In addition he has taught numerous Criminal Justice courses as an adjunct faculty member. He has been a member/coordinator of various research and prevention organizations and has conducted Gang/STG related training at various levels of local, state and federal government. He has also written articles for professional correctional organizations as well as the Journal of Gang Research.

Todd D. Negola, Psy.D.

            Todd D. Negola is a clinical/forensic psychologist who has worked with the National Gang Crime Research Center for over 10 years. He also serves as the Vice President of the Pennsylvania Gang Investigator’s Association. He has been studying and researching gangs and criminal mindedness for almost 20 years. He has worked with and studied juvenile and adult criminal populations, in and out of prison, both at the state and federal levels. He conducts training and consults with federal, state and local law enforcement as well as public and private educational institutions, community programs and mental health personnel. He has published research in the Journal of Gang Research, Addiction and Research, The Journal and co-authored a chapter in the book, Treating the Juvenile Offender. He has multiple television appearances, participated in nationally syndicated and local radio programs and has consulted in gang documentaries. Lastly, he is a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for Superior Research and Exemplary Scholarship in the Psychology of Gangs and is a Reviewing Editor for the National Gang Crime Research Center’s Journal of Gang Research.

Steve Nelson, J.D., Ph.D.

            Steve Nelson is an Assistant United States Attorney and currently serves as the Anti-Gang Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. Steve has been prosecuting (at both the federal and state levels) adult and juvenile gang members in Utah for over 13 years. In 2008, Steve was named the Utah Gang Investigators Association Gang Prosecutor of the year; in 2012, Steve was awarded the 2012 Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Award for Superior Performance as a Litigative Team for his work on a gang-related federal RICO trial. Steve earned his J.D. (2002) and Ph.D. (2010) from the University of Utah. He also serves as an Associate Instructor of Political Science at the University of Utah, and has taught over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in his teaching career. 

Michael G. Nerheim

            Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim has extensive experience working in all criminal divisions of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. As a former assistant state’s attorney and now as the Lake County State’s Attorney, his experience includes areas of complex litigation, criminal defense and municipal law. Michael G. Nerheim demonstrates strong leadership and business experience, and is heavily involved in the Lake County community.


Detective William Noon 

            Detective Noon is a 21 year veteran of the Toledo Police Department. Detective Noon has been assigned to the Toledo Police Gang Unit for 15 years and a Task Force with the BATF for 8 years. Detective Noon has been recognized as an expert in numerous gang trials.

John O’Rourke

            John O’Rourke is the Chief of the Gangs, Firearms and Narcotics Bureau in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, and has extensive experience in prosecuting homicides and violent crimes relating to street gangs. He has worked in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for over 17 years. Prior to that he worked in the New York County District Attorney’s Office where he worked in the Trial Division handling a range of cases including homicides and Asian Gang Prosecutions. He is a graduate of Albany Law School and the State University of New York at Oneonta.

Det. Anisha Parhar

            Detective Anisha Parhar is in her ninth year with the Vancouver Police Department. Anisha is currently working within the Organized Crime Section Gang Crime Unit and is actively involved in anti-gang initiatives. Prior to policing, Anisha worked for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, within the Covert Intelligence Section. Within the covert intelligence position, Anisha was exposed to multi-million dollar organized crime files that reached national, cross border and international levels. She has since focused her career on Organized Crime and Intelligence. Anisha is the co-founder of “Her Time”, an anti-gang initiative for females.

Stacia N. Pottorff

            Stacia N. Pottorff, earned her Bachelors of Science degree with honors in Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. She is currently a graduate student working on her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. She is employed as an analyst at the Missouri State Highway Patrol. She was a recipient of several UCM Undergraduate Research Grants.

Jean L. Prisco

            Jean L. Prisco is the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Gangs, Firearms and Narcotics Bureau of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, who has extensive experience in prosecuting violent crimes relating to street gang. She has worked in the Westchester County District Attorney’s office for over 15 years. Prior to that, she worked as a litigation associate at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York City and is a graduate of St. John’s Law School and the University of Albany.

Roger L. Rice

            Proudly served in the United States Navy, currently a Training Administrator for the State of Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Worked at the Cheltenham Youth Facility as a Youth Supervisor up a Unit Manager of a living cottage for 13 years. Supervised the Prince George’s County Evening Reporting Center which utilizes the “Cook County” model which is a detention alternative for 7 years. Certified Instructor with the Maryland and Police Training Commission since 1996. Certified as an Instructor in Crisis Prevention and Management, Suicide Prevention and Education, Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse Neglect, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Verbal De-Escalation, First Aid/CPR/AED, Prison Rape Elimination Act, Gang (Youth) Awareness, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Safety & Security, Report Writing, Driver Improvement. Received Instructor of the Year for 2011.

Rosa Julia Garcia Rivera

            Rosa Julia Garcia Rivera is a licensed clinical professional therapist and the director of mental health at Gads Hill Center. Rosa earned her master’s degree from Northeastern University in counseling education, with a concentration in community counseling and child and adolescent therapy. With over 20 years of experience in the mental health field, her work includes gang task force consulting at the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office, crisis work with youth, directing clinical teams for residential homes in Chicago for homeless youth heavily involved in gangs, and 13 years as a clinical therapist in an outpatient behavioral health clinic with a focus on children and adolescent psychotherapy.

Sgt. Stephen Roche

            I am a 26 year veteran of the Worcester Police Department with a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Curry College. I have presented at the following: 2006 U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhood Seminar, Boston; 2006 Panelist U.S. Dept. Of Justice Gang Survey; 2011 Massachusetts Education Opportunity Association; 2013 U.S. Attorney’s Conference on Gang Violence, Marlboro, MA. 


John J. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

            Dr. Rodriguez’s interests in academia include but are not limited to gangs, transnationalism, immigration, police issues, and Latinos in the criminal justice system. However, I am most interested in gangs, security threat groups and extremist groups. I have been studying, researching, and writing on these groups and their activity for over almost two decades. I have published and presented much of this work in the U.S. and abroad. I have also consulted and testified as an expert witness in multiple cases, which include deportation of gang members, organized crime, and various homicide cases.


Christopher Ryan

            As the top gun and gang prosecutor in New York City from 2010 to 2018, Chris supervised an elite unit of experienced prosecutors, investigative analysts and police detectives responsible for the dismantling of sophisticated criminal enterprises, including gun traffickers, major narcotics organizations, and criminal street gangs. In 2010, he developed a new methodology designed to reduce over-incarceration and improve the safety and quality of life in and around public housing in NYC. Now adopted by the NYPD, the DA’s offices of NYC, and numerous police departments and prosecutor’s offices across the country, this program was designed to reduce gun violence by identifying, targeting and prosecuting the most significant criminal offenders, leading to dramatic reductions in homicides and non-fatal shootings. This methodology resulted in carefully targeted, large-scale, long-term, multi-defendant prosecutions under New York State’s conspiracy statutes against violence neighborhood-based street crews, which became the NYPD’s “Operation Crew Cut”. The program has been recognized by the last three New York City Police Commissioners as the key to the historic reduction in homicides and violent crime.

Eddie Savage

            Task Force Officer Eddie Savage is an 12 year member of the Waterloo Police Department. He graduated from the Cook County Police Academy in September 1992 and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 2007. He spent 3.5 years on the Violent Crimes Apprehension Team. He is currently assigned to the FBI Waterloo Safe Streets Task Force. He teaches at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy at Hawkeye Community College. He conducts gang talks to various community organizations throughout the city of Waterloo. He has earned two gang specialist certificates from the NGCRC and is the Vice President of the Iowa Chapter of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association.

Gregory E. Scarbro

            Mr. Scarbro has been with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for thirty-five years, serving in a program management capacity for a majority of that time. He currently serves as the Unit Chief for the FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), Biometric Services Section (BSS), Customer Support Unit. He is responsible for all customer service outreach associated with the various FBI BSS person-centric services. He formally served as the Unit Chief for the FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting Program and as Program Manager for the development of the FBI CJIS Division advisory policy process.

Tom Schneider

            Tom Schneider retired from the Cook County Illinois Juvenile Probation Department in January of 2013 after forty years on the street as a juvenile probation officer. He holds a BA degree from the University of Illinois Chicago in the Administration of Criminal Justice and a M.S. degree from Chicago State University in Correction and Criminal Justice. He is currently conducting Anger Management/Violence Prevention groups for juvenile probationers and is the Director of Project Lifeline, the Cook County Juvenile Court scholarship program.

Dr. Douglas Semark

            Douglas L. Semark, a nonprofit leader with four decades of experience, including 17 years as Executive Director of the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) in Los Angeles. Semi-retired, he now serves as Executive to the Board and Chief Learning Officer. He provides gang and violence prevention professional development for K-12 school counselors; serves in various advisory capacities; works with various agencies in the areas of violence reduction and community rebuilding, including Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and the UCLA/Rand Prevention Research Center. He is currently the Director of the Gangfree Life Academy®.

Grant E. Smith

            Mr. Grant Smith is a member of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) external training staff. Mr. Smith is a retired police officer with twenty-two years of law enforcement experience. For twelve of the twenty-two years, he was assigned to a multi-jurisdiction and multi-agency narcotics and violence crime task force as a task force agent and supervisor. Other law enforcement experience includes time in the Patrol Division, Investigations Division, and as a Special Response Team as a team leader. He also served as an investigator on the county’s Child Sexual Abuse Task Force. Additionally, he was a member of the department’s Counter Drug Reaction Team, and the department’s Police Honor Guard. Immediately upon retirement from the police department, Mr. Smith served as a member of a forensic team with the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell (CEXC) in Baghdad, Iraq.

            As an FBI training instructor, Mr. Smith conducts training for municipal, county, state and federal agencies. He is also part of the FBI’s New Agent Training Team in Quantico, VA and participates in CJIS internal training. In 2015, Mr. Smith was the recipient of the Frederic Thrasher Award for Superior Service in Law Enforcement Training. Mr. Smith is a United States Navy Veteran.

Eric Dean Spruth

            Eric Dean Spruth is a trained artist, graduating from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago with an undergraduate degree in fine art with a minor in psychology and philosophy, and a Master’s degree in art therapy. He has served as a professor at the Adler School of Professional Psychology Art Therapy program. An expressive art therapist with the Cook County Bureau of Health & Mental Health Services/Cermak Health at the Cook County Jail. A victim advocate at the Cook County’s Victim Witness Program. Spruth has a private practice in Chicago as well as the founder of Sacred Transformations. His efforts have been featured and recognized by many forms of media.

Terrance L. Stone

            Terrance graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a credential as a State Certified Gang Intervention Specialist. He serves on several committees which include the Sand Bernadino County Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory, the San Bernardino City Chief of Police African American Advisory Committee, Executive Board Member and Chair of the San Bernardino Countywide Gangs and Drugs Task Force, past board member of the African American Chamber of Commerce, and the San Bernardino NAACP chapter. He was selected by former Mayor of San Bernardino, Pat Morris, to join his office on the California Cities Gang Prevention Network. He is committed to steering young people away from gangs. While his main program office is in San Bernardino, his program has developed offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Phoenix, Arizona, along with Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado.

Sgt. Tom Strausborger

            Sergeant Tom Strausborger is assigned to the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Gang and Violent Crimes Unit and has been an officer for twenty years. Prior to his current assignment he has worked in Vice and Narcotics, the Investigative Support Division as well as patrol. He is also currently the Assistant Team Commander for the Emergency Services Team (SWAT) and the Sniper Team Leader. Sergeant Strausborger also works as an Adjunct Professor for Indiana Tech University and works as a Security Consultant for low-income/section 8 housing complexes.

Detective Tyler Sutherland

            Detective Tyler Sutherland has been a police officer for the Battle Creek Police Department for over 13 years. He is currently assigned to the Battle Creek Police Detective Bureau, and was previously assigned to the Gang Suppression Unit for over 6 years. As a member of the Gang Unit, Detective Sutherland was directly involved as the lead investigator in a number of gang, and violent crime, cases that resulted in courtroom trials and jury convictions. While participating in all aspects of gang investigations and court room prosecution, Detective Sutherland has been qualified as, and testified as, a gang expert in the U.S. District court and Michigan State Circuit and District Court, more than 15 times in the last five years. One of these gang cases, was the first criminal gang enhancement jury conviction in the State of Michigan since the state statute was created. He is also recognized in circuit and district court as an expert in Drug Trafficking and Drug Investigations. A Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Patrol Training Officer, he has also received Instructor certification for Active Shooter Response for Civilians, through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.


Dr. Philip J. Swift

            Dr. Philip J. Swift is a recognized gang expert and national lecturer. Dr. Swift served as the Director of Security and the Commander of the Gang/Intelligence Unit and the K-9 Unit for the Denver Sheriff’s Department in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Swift also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Denver Sheriff’s Department Training Academy where he teaches Contraband Interdiction and Active Shooter Response as well as a wide variety of other courses as needed. Dr. Swift is a published author and holds a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology. Dr. Swift is regularly sought out by law enforcement agencies, gang intervention/prevention groups, and community organizations to lecture about gang culture, police culture, gang intervention, jail culture, and jail based criminal activity/investigations. Dr. Swift is currently the City Marshall in Fort Worth, TX.

S/A Michael Swindle

            Special Agent (S/A) Michael Swindle is a 20 year veteran of the Illinois State Police (ISP). He Spent 12 years in a patrol function where he served in northern and southern Illinois. In 2009, S/A Swindle transferred to investigations where he was assigned to the Gang and Narcotics Gun Squad (G.A.N.G.S.) And began working Operation Working Against Violent Elements (W.A.V.E.), a multi-jurisdictional criminal investigations detail centered on reducing violent crime in the East Saint Louis Community for over two years. In 2012, S/A Swindle transferred to the ISP Homicide Investigations/Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) where he investigated homicides for close to two years. In 2014, S/A Swindle assisted with planning and organizing of the ISP Metro East Police Assistance Team (M.E.P.A.T.). This new initiative focused on proactive policing to combat violent crime, homicides, and open air drug sales in and around the Metro East area through consensual encounters, traffic stops, and reports from concerned citizens through the use of overt and covert police units. S/A Swindle instructs in a number of areas within the ISP to include Introduction to Street Gangs and police community related topics. Outside of the ISP, S/A/ Swindle is a National Police and Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Trainer/Evaluator where he trains and certifies working dog teams in a number of K9 disciplines. S/A Swindle has a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Greenville University (Greenville, IL) and an Associate in Applied Science in Radiologic Technology from Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) (Belleville, IL).

Juan C. Torres, MPA

            Juan C. Torres, MPA, is the Executive Director of the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP. Juan has been working in the non-profit sector for 20 years, 17 of those with GAP. Previously, Juan held multiple positions while at GAP: Classroom advisor, Case Manager, Associate Director of Community Clean Up, Director of Administration, and Deputy Director. He works in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, local non-profits, law enforcement, and corporations to address gang violence and prevention throughout Los Angeles County.

Dr. Kenya Tyson

            Kenya Tyson, JD is the Associate Dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She specializes in criminal law, restorative justice, crime prevention, and race and inequality, and has two decades of experience as an educator, administrator, and criminal justice practitioner. Kenya also served as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Project Safe Neighborhoods, the US Department of Justice’s anti-gang initiative and has consulted on several DOJ projects working with jurisdictions across the nation on crime prevention and procedural justice initiatives. In addition to teaching and consulting, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Garden State Bar Association and the Community Justice Advisory Board for Essex County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office. Kenya holds a JD from Delaware Law School, a MA in Criminal Justice from University of Cincinnati, and a BA in Political Science from Winston Salem State University.

Tarik Weekes

            Tarik Weekes is a published author and presently a Research Fellow in the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of the West Indies. Weekes’ primary area of interest is the study of state response to criminal gangs and gang-related homicide. He has been involved in violence prevention for the last 10 years and is one of the first researchers in Jamaica to apply spatial tools to the understanding of conflict group locations. He has worked in research projects that try to understand connections between youth and organized crime, community safety planning and violence prevention and is currently one of six lead researchers in the project Community Voices and Initiatives for Building Safer Places in Jamaica, Columbia, Honduras, Guatamala, El Salvador, and Mexico.


Veronica Williams

            As the Supervisor of the Gang Renouncement and Dissociation (G.R.A.D.) process at the O.B. Ellis Unit and Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas before retirement, Ms. Williams created this group process for her Master’s degree project for which she was honored wih an award by Springfield College in Springfield, Mass, not only for the content of the project but also for being the first person in Springfield College history (1885) to survey inmates. This process was later implemented by TDCJ as a follow-up procedure for tracking the success of the participants who graduated their gang renouncement programs and were put into general population. Ms. Williams was also instrumental in working with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ); in the start up of the Administrative Segregation Diversion Program for confirmed gang members of the prison environment wishing to renounce upon returning to prison.

Michelle A. Young

            Michelle Young has over 25 years of experience with gang prevention and intervention initiatives, and currently works as an independent consultant assisting communities with conducting local gang assessments. Previously, she was the program manager for gang and violence initiatives at the Durham County Department of Public Health, where she worked to implement the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model and Cure Violence. Ms. Young was a senior research associate with the National Gang Center for 14 years, providing training and technical assistance on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice on coordinated anti-gang strategies. She also planned and implemented the National Youth Gang Symposium and providing training on anti-gang strategies for the Project Safe Neighborhoods Anti-Gang Training Program. Prior to joining the National Gang Center, Ms. Young worked as community coordinator of the Salt Lake Area Gang Project, a multi-jurisdictional gang task force.


Stewart M. Young, JD

            Stewart M. Young is an Assistant United States Attorney and currently serves as Senior Litigation Counsel for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. He previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. He earned his J.D. from Stanford University, clerked for judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the District of Utah, and was a full-time faculty member at the University of Wyoming College of Law.