Rebecca Benson

Rebecca comes to the Police Foundation with a several years experience from police departments on each coast. She most recently served as a Crime and Intelligence Analyst with the Los Angeles Police Department, Olympic Division. The Olympic Division was one of a few new divisions that had been created in recent decades within the LAPD. Prior to the new facility opening its doors, Rebecca served on the Olympic transition team. Her team was responsible for preparing and providing analytical support to assist in the creation of new area boundaries, mapping and documenting community resources, activities and special locations as well as analyzing personnel resources and shift schedules. Following the official opening of the division, she was responsible for daily crime analysis and mapping of the division. Rebecca also led weekly crime control meetings with the Command staff and organized strategies around prevention and deterrence with Command, Detective, and Senior Lead Officers. She was also greatly engaged in preparation of monthly CompStat reports and presentations. She received numerous commendations and was awarded Civilian of the Year for 2009.

Ms. Benson began her Law Enforcement career and spent many years with the Boston Police Department. Within the Office of the Police Commissioner, she served as a Program Manager on several community and youth projects. She was detailed to the Youth Violence Strike Force to assist in the development of the Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI) as well as the other similar and expanded programs based on the success of the BRI. She was heavily involved in the creation of a critical database that allowed for intelligence sharing among project law enforcement partners. These initiatives also involved partnering with local community organizations, schools and businesses.

In addition to her current Police Foundation role, Rebecca is mother to a very active five year old. This valuable position has further developed her skills in daily preparation and planning, creative resource administration, evaluation, negotiation techniques, and crisis management.


Julia Billings

Julia Billings comes to the Police Foundation from the Middle East Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where she served as a Program Analyst and Gender Specialist for the Middle East, working on a wide range of issues in the Middle East region. In this capacity, she provided technical expertise and policy analysis for international development programming in the areas of gender equality, countering violent extremism, civil society strengthening, and youth integration. She led the democratic growth team to design and establish a five-year strategic development approach as part of USAID’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) with the Government of Tunisia. She also managed projects addressing countering gender based violence.

Julia received her M.S. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelors Degree in International Studies from Kenyon College in 2011. Her research has explored the effect of drug policy on crime in the United States and she is interested in criminal justice reform both in the United States and internationally.


Brett Cowell

Brett Cowell is a Project Associate at the Police Foundation. He received a Master’s Degree in Criminology, Law and Society from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, with a minor in Leadership Studies, from Virginia Tech. Brett’s areas of focus include police use of force, officer safety and wellness, and law enforcement technology, and he is particularly passionate about working alongside practitioners to operationalize evidence-based practices.

Brett’s recent work with the Police Foundation includes research on officer safety training, police use of force, police foot patrol, public safety use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), crime gun intelligence centers (CGICs), and body-worn cameras, as well as work on the critical incident review of the public safety response to the February 20, 2016, mass shooting incident in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Brett has also been heavily involved with the development and management of the Police Foundation’s LEO Near Miss officer safety initiative, the first-ever near-miss reporting system for law enforcement.

In Brett’s spare time, he is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad in Northern Virginia.


Dean M. Esserman, J.D.

Dean M. Esserman is the immediate past Chief of the New Haven (CT) Police Department. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Police in Providence, Rhode Island; Stamford, Connecticut; and the New York State MTA-Metro North Police Department. From 1987-1991, he served as the general counsel to Chief William Bratton of the New York City Transit Police. He started his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York, and as a special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

He is a graduate of Dartmouth College (B.A.) and New York University School of Law (J.D.). He has held university appointments at the Yale Law School, Yale University, Yale Child Study Center, University of New Haven, and Roger Williams University. He is the past Chair of the IACP’s Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Committee.


Craig B. Fraser, Ph.D.

Dr. Craig B. Fraser joined the Police Foundation in 2015 with over fifteen years of experience conducting law enforcement management studies. Dr. Fraser previously served as the Director of Management Services for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), from 1994 to July 2015.

Dr. Fraser has managed studies of over 250 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad for police agencies in Texas, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New York, Minnesota, Florida, Oklahoma, Nevada, and, Utah.

Dr. Fraser also has subject matter expertise in police technology, training, and resource allocation. Dr. Fraser has also authored training guides on police resource allocation, staffing and deployment, taught extensively on the topic, and conducted 50 specialized staffing and deployment studies.

Dr. Fraser also held a joint position of Director of Training, Richmond Police Department and Director of the Criminology/Criminal Justice Program, Virginia Union University. Dr. Fraser received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Political Science from Purdue University.


Ben Gorban

Ben Gorban is a Policy Analyst at the Police Foundation where he works on projects including Collaborative Reform and Critical Incident Reviews. His areas of interest are community oriented policing in the 21st Century, law enforcement policy, and operationalizing evidence-based promising practices and policies.

Before his work with the Police Foundation, Ben served as a Project Coordinator for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In this capacity he oversaw the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police, provided training and technical assistance, developed resources for law enforcement executives, and published articles in Police Chief Magazine. He worked on national-scope projects on topics including social media, countering violent extremism, cyber crime, and traffic safety funded by federal agencies including Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, and Department of Homeland Security.

Ben received his M.S. in Justice, Law and Society from American University in 2011, and received his Bachelors Degree in both Philosophy and Justice, Law and Society from American University in 2009.


Joyce Iwashita

Joyce Iwashita joined the Police Foundation as a Project Assistant in 2016. She supports projects such as Collaborative Reform and Critical Incident Reviews. A Harry S. Truman Scholar, Joyce has interned at the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Criminal Justice Association, and has done work for the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship. Joyce received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she did research on U.S. sentencing laws.


Erica Richardson

Erica Richardson joined the Police Foundation as a Communications Specialist in 2018. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in Public Relations, as well as a minor in Spanish and concentration in Criminal Law and Justice, from the University of Maryland in College Park. While attending UMD, she interned with the Prince George’s County Police Department in its Media Relations Division and the University of Maryland Office of Community Engagement. She was a teaching assistant for both a News Writing & Reporting class and a Criminal Law and Procedure class, where she had the opportunity to work directly with a United States federal prosecutor. Erica is passionate about public relations, social media marketing, law enforcement, and fitness!


Sarah Solano

Sarah Solano joined the Police Foundation as a Project Assistant in 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Law and Society with a minor in Spanish from George Mason University. While attending George Mason, she did research on the use of DNA evidence in criminal trials and on body-worn cameras in policing. Sarah has interned with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fairfax County Cold Case Squad, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.


Frank Straub, Ph.D.

A 30-year veteran of law enforcement, currently serves as the Director of Strategic Studies for the Police Foundation, where he works on Critical Incident Reviews including the San Bernardino terrorist attack–and the resulting report Bringing Calm to Chaos–and the Orlando Pulse shooting (in progress). Dr. Straub last served as the Chief of the Spokane, Washington, Police Department, where he received national recognition for the major reforms, community policing programs he implemented and significant crime reductions achieved during his tenure. In Spokane, Dr. Straub mandated that all members of the department receive 40-hours of crisis intervention training, and he created a team of officers who received over 100 hours of specialized mental health training. As Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis, Dr. Straub collaborated with Eskanazi Medical Center’s Prescription for Hope Program, assigning a team of police officers to the program, which focused on reducing youth violence and retaliation through hospital-based interventions. During his tenure, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department reduced homicides to the lowest level in 20 years. Dr. Straub has also served as the Public Safety Commissioner for the City of White Plains, New York where his department reduced serious crime by 40%. He established the first police-community mental health response team in Westchester County to proactively assist persons challenged by mental illness, homelessness and domestic violence. Dr. Straub previously served as the Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York City Police Department; and as a federal agent. He holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, an M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a B.A. in Psychology from St. John’s University. He co-authored a book on performance-based police management and published several articles regarding community policing, police reform, and jail management.


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