Bernard Melekian, DPPD

Bernard Melekian is the Assistant County Executive Officer Over Public Safety in Santa Barbara, California. Prior to that he was appointed as Undersheriff for Santa Barbara County in January 2015. He has 36 years of local law enforcement experience, including serving as the Police Chief for the city of Pasadena for 13 years. He also served with the Santa Monica Police Department for 23 years where he was awarded the Medal of Valor in 1978 and the Medal of Courage in 1980. He was selected as the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) by Attorney General Eric Holder, serving from 2009-2013. He oversaw the development of the concept of Collaborative Reform, a widely acclaimed alternative to the traditional consent decree. This work was first utilized in collaboration with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2012. He is a nationally recognized expert in police practices, with specific experience in achieving collaborative change in the culture of law enforcement organizations. His doctoral work on Values-Based Discipline in Law Enforcement Organizations received the Sol Price Award as the outstanding doctoral project of 2012 in the School of Policy, Planning and Development by the University of Southern California. Dr. Melekian served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1970. As a member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve, he was called to active duty in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and served in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Melekian served a second tour of active duty in 2003 when he served for eight months in the Pacific area. He retired from the Coast Guard Reserves in 2009, after 26 years of service.

Board Member: 2013-2017
Chairman: 2017-Present

Mark S. Mellman

Mark Mellman is one of the nation’s leading public opinion researchers and communication strategists. He is CEO of The Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the nation’s most important public interest groups. Mellman, who counts among his clients Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Whip Steny Hoyer, has helped guide the campaigns of eighteen U.S. Senators, nine Governors, over two-dozen Members of Congress, and numerous state and local officials. As a consultant to the Democratic Leadership, Mellman plays a central role in developing strategies on a variety of issues. Mellman has worked with a wide range of political and corporate clients in countries around the globe, including Great Britain, Israel, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and the Republic of Georgia. The U.S. Departments of Justice, State and Labor have all turned to The Mellman Group for critical studies, as has the World Bank. In addition, Mellman works with some of the nation’s most important public interest organizations ranging from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the AFL-CIO, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Environmental Trust, and the League of Women Voters. His corporate clients include Intuit (the makers of Quicken), Coca Cola, and United Airlines. Mellman received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduate degrees from Yale, where he taught in the Political Science department.

Board Member: 2013-Present

Dan Merkle

Dan is a lifelong learner motivated by helping to find solutions to the complex challenges facing public safety today.  He is the founding CEO and Chairman of Lexipol, a leading policy and training systems provider.  The Company was built on the premise that wide spread professional collaboration and a continuous improvement discipline would elevate all participants’ knowledge and safety.  Under Dan’s leadership, the Company developed one of the first Software as a Service (SaaS) technology platforms to reach thousands of public safety agencies effectively.  The Company was sold in 2014 to a private equity company allowing Dan to retire.  Or so he thought.

In 2016, Dan was asked to lead a group to deploy the Veritone Artificial Intelligence platform on a secure gov-cloud environment serving governmental agencies.  The technology creates a common operating platform for multiple cognitive engines to create actionable intelligence from unstructured private and public data such as audio and video media.  This allows efficient review of what is becoming an avalanche of data coming into agencies.  He served as President of Veritone Public Safety until the Company successfully concluded an IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

He has been a regular presenter on emerging topics and technology to IACP, DOJ COPS, FBINAA, State Chiefs and Sheriffs Associations, and JPA risk sharing consortiums. He has served on numerous Boards of Directors including a role as Vice Chairman at REI.

Dan is an Eagle Scout, received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Chapman University, was granted a certificate from Harvard Graduate School of Business in Corporate Governance, and earned a 100 ton USCG Master License with sail endorsement.  Dan and his wife live on the Puget Sound with two very happy Labradors.

Board Member: 2020-Present

Susan Rahr

Sue Rahr began her 33-year career with the King County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1979 and for 25 years worked her way up through the ranks until she was elected Sheriff in 2005. She served as Sheriff for seven years, retiring in 2012. She was responsible for over 1,000 employees, a $150 million budget, and contract police services to 12 cities and transit policing for the Seattle/Puget Sound region. She led KCSO through successful CALEA National Accreditation in 2010, and was awarded “2010 Elected Official of the Year” by the Municipal League. In April of 2012, she was appointed Executive Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. She is responsible for training all city and county law enforcement and corrections officers in the state, as well as many other criminal justice professionals.

She served as a member of the “Executive Session on Policing” at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2011 – 2014; served on the “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” in 2015; served as Vice President of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), is an Executive Fellow for the Police Foundation; and an advisor to the Law Enforcement Forecasting Group for the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

She has served on many non-profit community and professional boards and held the following offices:

  • President – Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs
  • Commissioner – Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • Executive Board – National Sheriffs Association

She graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Criminal Justice from Washington State University and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute and the FBI National Executive Institute.  She co-authored an academic paper about work being done at the WA State Criminal Justice Training Commission that was published in 2015 by the Harvard Kennedy School and the National Institute of Justice.

Board Member: 2019-Present

Laurie O. Robinson

Laurie O. Robinson joined George Mason University in 2012 as the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society after more than three decades of involvement in national criminal justice policy. Reflecting that ongoing engagement, she was named by then-President Obama in 2014 to co-chair the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, charged with developing recommendations on ways to build greater trust between law enforcement and citizens in the wake of the Ferguson incident. In 2014-16, she served on the Congressionally created Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, charged with addressing crowding in the federal prison system, and she currently sits on the New York City Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform (the “Rikers Commission”).

Robinson twice served as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General heading the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, DOJ’s research, statistics and criminal justice assistance agency. Her three years of service in the Obama Administration, coupled with seven years in the Clinton Administration, make her the longest serving head of that agency in its 50-year history. Robinson’s more recent tenure heading the $2.5 billion agency was marked by a focus on science: She set up a Science Advisory Board for OJP and created a national “what works” clearinghouse for the criminal justice field (www.crimesolutions.gov).

Between her stints in government, Robinson was the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science Program in Penn’s Department of Criminology and served as a Distinguished Senior Scholar in the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology. During her first tenure at DOJ in the 1990s, she led the federal government’s engagement with states and localities on community-based crime control. Her agency’s annual budget grew from $800 million in 1993 to over $4 billion in 2000 and she oversaw the largest increase in federal spending on crime-related research in the nation’s history. She also spearheaded major federal initiatives on violence against women, drug treatment courts, and law enforcement technology.

Earlier in her career, Robinson spent 14 years as director of the American Bar Association’s Section of Criminal Justice in Washington. At the ABA she founded its Center on Juvenile Justice and spearheaded initiatives on sentencing, federal criminal code reform, and indigent defense.

Robinson has served on a number of national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice, the Constitution Project, and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA). She sits on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice and co-chaired the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police for many years. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Sheldon Krantz, a lawyer and law professor.

Board Member: 2019-Present

Ronal W. Serpas, Ph.D.

Ronal W. Serpas, Ph.D., is a full time faculty member and Professor of Practice, Criminology and Justice, Loyola University New Orleans, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses since August of 2014. Dr. Serpas recently retired from a 34-year career in American law enforcement. From 2001 – 2014 he served as the Police Superintendent in New Orleans, LA, Police Chief in Nashville, TN and Chief of the Washington State Patrol.

Dr. Serpas was a successful change agent implementing organizational wide transformation, advancing Community Policing and implementing Justice and Legitimacy principles in the delivery of police service. In each department significant decreases in crime and increases in citizen satisfaction were achieved and sustained. Dr. Serpas was a leader for more than twenty years in creating innovative changes in recruitment/retention, deployment, criminal investigations, disciplinary investigations and actions, use of force policies and the investigations of use of force.

While Superintendent of Police in New Orleans, Dr. Serpas worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice – Civil Rights Team, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI to investigate several Federal Criminal Civil Rights cases and other criminal and significant administrative violations of police officers before and after Hurricane Katrina. This work also included the negotiation of the New Oreland Police Department Consent Decree and early implementation of its requirements.

Dr. Serpas is an expert in managing the police response to major events, planned and unplanned. As the Superintendent of Police in New Orleans he oversaw police responses to the 2012 BCS National Championship Football Game, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NFL Super Bowl XLVII, the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four, and, the 2014 NBA All Star game. Dr. Serpas was the Chief Operating Officer of the NOPD and oversaw the police response to Super Bowl XXXL. New Orleans hosts annually the eleven-day Mardi Gras season, Jazz Festival, French Quarter Festival, Essence Festival, and the NCAA Sugar Bowl Classic.

In October 2017 Dr. Serpas was designated by the membership as the 5th Honorary President in the 125-year history of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Dr. Serpas is a Past Vice President of the IACP, former Chair of the IACP Community Policing Committee, founding Co-Chair of the IACP Research Advisory Committee and a Past Parliamentarian. Dr. Serpas is the founding Chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration (a collaborative of the Brennan Center and the NYU-School of Law), serves as an Executive Fellow to the Police Foundation, a National Advisory Board Member to Cure Violence and served as a National Advisory Board Member to the National Police Research Platform.

Dr. Serpas has published several articles on topics such as police accountability systems, police disciplinary systems, firearm violence in America, challenges in crime following natural disasters, implementing Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy and evidenced based Use of Force policy development. Dr. Serpas’ expert commentary on crime rates, policing and criminal justice reform has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, The Hill, NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, Governing Magazine and MSNBC among other outlets.

Board Member: 2019-Present