Executive Fellows

Chief Paul M. Walters

Paul M. Walters served as Chief of Police in Santa Ana, California, from 1988 to 2013, making him the longest-serving chief in a major city in modern U.S. history. When Walters was first appointed chief, the department had 359 officers serving 293,000 people. Budget cuts reduced that to 320 officers by the time he retired – but the force now protects 335,000 residents – and a total population of 500,000 during the working day. At the same time, the crime rate has dropped to the lowest level in almost 40 years and gang violence fell by more than 40 percent a year in 2011 and 2012.

Walters is currently a Senior Associate with the Center for Public Safety Management, International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in Washington, DC. The Center is dedicated to improving local government performance (effectiveness and efficiency) through the identification, promotion, and application of leading practices.
Under Walters’ leadership, the Santa Ana Police Department was recognized since 1997 as a National Demonstration Site and Training Center for Community Policing and Problem Solving. He trained and assisted numerous police executives and public officials from throughout the country on how to implement innovative Community Policing strategies. During his tenure, Santa Ana built a new police administration building and jail designed to support Community Policing Strategies.

Chief Walters was recognized by President Bill Clinton for Community Policing innovations, leadership and accomplishments in lowering crime. He was also recognized several times by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, California Attorney General, the Governor of California, and both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In 2009, Walters received the Department of Defense’s highest award, the Employer Freedom Award, and he was personally recognized by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for exceptional leadership, support and personal devotion to supporting the National Guard and Reserve.

He was also recognized as a national innovator and leader in policing, received the Director’s Award from Director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, for exceptional public service and leadership. He was only the second person in the history of the FBI to receive this award who was not an FBI employee.

He was asked by the Mayor and city council to serve as the interim City Manager/CEO in June 2011, while continuing to serve as the Chief of Police. In 2011-2012, he led the city from impending bankruptcy at a $30 million deficit to solvency with $20 million in reserves.

Walters received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Science from California State University, Fullerton and graduated with Bachelor of Science and JD Law degree from the American College of Law. He completed a two-year graduate program in executive leadership and development from POST California Command College.

Chief Walters is a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving as a NCO and Combat Crew member of 571st Strategic Missile Wing, Titan II ICBM, David-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona. He was also stationed at Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan with the 498th Tactical Missile Squadron.

He has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, most recently by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) board for outstanding leadership as the Executive Board Chairman, and the Orange County Regional Narcotics Suppression Program for service as bard chairman and for leading its development into a nationally recognized program.

Chief Walters (Ret.) can be reached directly at pwalters@policefoundation.org

Chief Marco Vasquez

Marco Vasquez was appointed Chief of Police for the Town of Erie in Colorado in 2013, and has served for 43 years in Colorado law enforcement.

Rising through the ranks at the Denver Police Department (DPD), Chief Vasquez retired as the Deputy Chief of Administration in 2008 after 36 years with the department. Chief Vasquez gained extensive experience throughout his career in internal affairs investigations, drug enforcement and patrol operations. As Deputy Chief of Administration, he was responsible for the annual budget of more than $175 million.

Vasquez was named Chief of Sheridan (CO) Police Department in 2008, serving until 2010. The next year, he became the first Chief of Investigations for the newly-created Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division for the Colorado Department of Revenue and served in this capacity until 2013.

Throughout his career, Chief Vasquez has been a strong advocate of community policing and has implemented the community policing philosophy in the agencies where he has worked. As one of the leading authorities on legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Chief Vasquez serves as the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Marijuana Issues Committee chair. In that capacity, he has participated in a number of rule-making working groups and panels, such as the Amendment 64 Implementation Law Enforcement Issues Committee, the Use of Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax Revenues Interim Study Committee, and the Department of Revenue Marijuana Edibles and Potency Working groups. Chief Vasquez has assisted the CACP in developing the “CACP Marijuana Position Paper” and the Police Foundation in developing Colorado’s Legalization of Marijuana and the Impact on Public Safety-A Practical Guide for Law Enforcement.

Chief Vasquez received a master’s degree in Management from Regis University and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Colorado Chiefs of Police Association (CACP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Chief Vasquez has also graduated from PERF’s Senior Management Institute in Policing (SMIP) and the IACP Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) course.

Chief Vasquez can be reached directly at mvasquez@policefoundation.org

Chief James W. Tolbert (Ret.)

Chief James W. Tolbert joined the Flint Police Department on October 14, 2013 and retired in February 2016. Most recently before serving Flint, he retired as the Deputy Chief of the Detroit Police Department after 27 years of service. Before joining the Detroit Police Department, Chief Tolbert served in the United States Marine Corps. Following active duty, he retired from the reserves in 2000 as a Gunnery Sergeant.

During his tenure at the Detroit Police Department, Chief Tolbert showed his dedication to the citizens of Detroit by performing his duties with zeal and determination. Throughout his career, he served the Detroit Police Department in the areas of Patrol, Narcotics & Undercover, The Organized Crime Unit, Special Operations, Homicide and the Major Crimes Task Force.

In 1998, while executing a Narcotics Search Warrant; Chief Tolbert engaged in a gun battle with an armed narcotics dealer. Chief Tolbert was wounded in the ensuing gun battle. After his recuperation Chief Tolbert returned to the Detroit Police Department with unshaken resolve to serve.

As Chief of Police, Tolbert has the responsibility over sworn and civilian employees of the Flint Police Department and the 911 center. He constantly assesses and rethinks how to serve the citizens of the City of Flint in an efficient and cost effective way. Chief Tolbert strives to introduce the most current technology to the Flint Police Department.

Chief Tolbert holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Wayne State University; he received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree, in Organizational Management from St. Mary’s College. Chief Tolbert also obtained an Associate of Arts degree from Wayne County Community College. Additionally Chief Tolbert is a Graduate of: Eastern Michigan University School of Staff and Command, The Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (FBINA) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) and the Michigan State University, Police Command Officer Development Program.

Chief Tolbert has commanded many major incidents that required pressure decision making from multiple criminal issues to major events having national and international ties. Chief Tolbert has the aptitude to manage numerous projects and will enhanced law enforcement efforts in the most positive light. Chief Tolbert will use his accumulated knowledge, his experience and his determination to lead the Flint Police Department and serve the City of Flint.

Chief J. Scott Thomson

John Scott Thomson was sworn in as chief of the Camden County Police Department on May 1, 2013. Prior to that, he had served as chief of the former Camden Police Department since 2008. Chief Thomson began his law enforcement career in 1992. He holds an M.A. in education from Seton Hall University and a B.A. in sociology from Rutgers University.

During his career, Chief Thomson ascended through the ranks of the Camden Police Department. In 2011, he received the Gary P. Hayes Memorial Award from the Police Executive Research Forum for innovation and leadership in policing. He has served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Special Committee on Discovery in Criminal and Quasi-Criminal Matters, the New Jersey Attorney General’s committees for Officer Involved Shooting Responses, Conducted Energy Devices and Body Worn Cameras. In 2017, he received the H. Norman Schwarzkopf Award for Policing Excellence from the New Jersey Public Safety Accreditation Coalition.

Chief Thomson provided testimony for the President’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing on using community policing to reduce crime. He has served as the Chairman of the Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Chief Thomson sits on the Board of Advisors for the New York University School of Law’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, The American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law – Police Investigations, the United States Attorney General Global Advisory Committee on Law Enforcement Use-of-Force Investigations Task Team, and the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. He is the Co-Chair of The Policing Project at New York University Law School, an Executive Fellow for the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Harvard University Law Enforcement Summit Executive Leadership Group.

Chief Thomson is the elected President of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C.

Chief Walter B. Tibbet (Ret.)

Walt Tibbet retired as chief of the Fairfield Police Department in March 2015 after more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. He began his career in 1972 with the Alameda Police Department. In 1980, he joined the San Jose Police Department where he served for 26 years advancing through the ranks to Captain. In July, 2006, he returned to the Alameda Police Department as its Chief of Police. During his four years as Chief, he restructured the Department, increased efficiencies in departmental operations, and improved training opportunities for members of the Department. He also enhanced the Department’s presence in the community through various outreach efforts. He was named chief in Fairfield in 2010.

While a member of the San Jose Police Department, he completed a wide range of assignments in each of the department’s four Bureaus. He served as the Commander of various units within the Department including the Special Operations Division’s Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Gang Investigations Unit, Community Services Division, and the Bureau of Technical Services where he was charged with the implementation of emerging technologies throughout the Department. He worked extensively in developing community and business collaborations, and served as the Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. Chief Tibbet was awarded the San Jose Police Department’s Medal of Valor, a Hazardous Duty Award, and two City Council Commendations. He was also a recipient of the National Exchange Club’s Blue and Gold Wounded in Service Award.

Chief Tibbet is a past Chairman of the Solano County Law Enforcement Administrators Association, a Board Member for the California Police Chiefs Association and Fight Crime – Invest in Kids organizations, and an Advisory Board Member for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s Public Safety Academy.

He holds a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Hayward with an emphasis of study including Organizational Development, Cross-Cultural Consultation, and Substance Abuse prevention and treatment. He has a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Management from St. Mary’s College of Moraga, California. Chief Tibbet is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Chief Scott Silverii (Ret.), PhD

Dr. Scott Silverii was appointed chief of police of the Thibodaux (LA) Police Department in January 2011, after serving twenty-one years with the nationally accredited Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he began his law enforcement career in 1990. He retired after four and a half years as Chief of Police on August 28, 2015.

During his tenure with Lafourche Parish, Chief Silverii served in a variety of investigative and supervisory assignments, including twelve years undercover and sixteen years in SWAT. He was promoted to commander, and eventually supervised every criminal division within the agency to include investigations, support services, and patrol divisions.

Chief Silverii serves as a subject matter expert in data-driven approaches to crime and traffic safety for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which awarded him its Public Safety Service Award. He serves on IACP’s prestigious Research Advisory Committee and NIJ’s Crime Indicators Working Group for improving the UCR data collection process.

Committed to education, Chief Silverii has completed over 2,500 hours of advanced professional continuing education courses. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Nicholls State University, and an MPA and PhD from the University of New Orleans.

Chief Silverii can be reached directly at ssilverii@policefoundation.org

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