Rebecca Benson

Rebecca is a Senior Project Associate with the National Police Foundation providing analysis of local-level law enforcement policies, procedures, and practices. As part of the programs team, Rebecca is involved in the review and analysis of mass violence and mass demonstration critical incidents. She has supported the development and publication of technical reports of incident reviews as well as interactive e-reports specifically for field use. Rebecca has provided technical assistance to agencies on policy and practice as part of collaborative reform projects and agency requested reviews. Using her field experience, Rebecca also advises agencies on data collection and analysis, program development and management, as well as interagency and community collaboration and engagement.

Prior to joining the National Police Foundation, she served as a Crime and Intelligence Analyst with the Los Angeles Police Department, Olympic Division. She provided analytical support to the development of the new division by creating new area boundaries, mapping and documenting community resources, activities and special locations, and analyzing personnel resources and shift schedules. Additionally, Rebecca liaised with the community groups and organizations to support a smooth transition from the previous division. At the new division, Rebecca was responsible for daily crime analysis including mapping and statistical reports, led weekly crime control meetings with Command staff, and developed strategies for crime prevention and deterrence with Command, Detective, and Senior Lead Officers. She coordinated unified responses to community issues with neighboring divisions and bureaus, other local law enforcement agencies, and local community groups. Rebecca also managed divisional CompStat reports and presentations and participated in research, development and testing of systems and processes with the CompStat Division. She received numerous commendations and was awarded Civilian of the Year in 2009.

Prior to her work in Los Angeles and following her graduate work at Northeastern University, Rebecca served the Boston Police Department in a few capacities. As Program Manager in Community and Youth projects in the Office of the Police Commissioner, she managed a successful youth partnership between law enforcement, community partners and the business sector. Concurrently, she was detailed to the Youth Violence Strike Force to assist in the development of the Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI) that brought together public safety, community service providers, and faith-based partners. She was heavily involved in the creation of a critical database that facilitated information sharing among project partners. She consulted on policy and organizational development with state and federal LE partners to replicate the program across and beyond the state.

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


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Julia Kessler

Julia Kessler 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.


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Brett Cowell

Brett Cowell is a Senior Project Associate at the National Police Foundation. Brett provides comprehensive project management for a portfolio of officer safety-related projects at the Foundation, including the LEO Near Miss officer safety initiative, the first-ever near miss reporting system for law enforcement, and the National Law Enforcement Roadway Safety Program (NLERSP), a program funded by BJA under their National Officer Safety Initiatives (NOSI) designed to reduce the number of officers seriously injured and killed on the nation’s roadways.

Brett’s recent work with the National Police Foundation includes research on officer safety training, police use of force, police foot patrol, public safety use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), and crime gun intelligence centers (CGICs), 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 received a master’s degree in Criminology, Law and Society from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in Finance, with a minor in Leadership Studies, from Virginia Tech. In his spare time, he is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad in Northern Virginia.


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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. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute and the Law Enforcement in Counter Terrorism program. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police and the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection Program.

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Ben Gorban

Ben Gorban is a Senior Project Associate 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.


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Richard Haake

Rick Haake joined the Police Foundation in October 2018 as a Regional Manager for the Mexico team. In his Regional Manager role, Mr. Haake works on grant projects awarded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) with the purpose of increasing the professionalism of Mexican criminal justice agencies through CALEA Accreditation. Mr. Haake previously worked on the Police Foundation project team from August 2016 until October 2016 as a contracted Technical Advisor.

From 1981 to 2008, Mr. Haake worked as a Police Officer for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District in Illinois. Mr. Haake progressed through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Deputy Chief and Acting Chief during his career. Responsibilities included all facets of law enforcement work including administration, patrol, communications and training. He led the agency to its initial CALEA accreditation in 2001 and subsequent reaccreditations in 2004. In 2001, he was recruited by CALEA to become an Assessor and subsequently in 2004 became a Team Leader. Mr. Haake has been assigned to over 45 CALEA on-sites and has conducted over 100 mock assessments in the Midwest U.S. and Mexico. Fifteen of the CALEA assessments have been in Mexico.

Mr. Haake worked at three law enforcement agencies in Illinois as Accreditation Manager after retiring. He led the Hinsdale Police Department to three successful CALEA awards and the Fox Valley Park District Police Department to three successful CALEA awards. Mr. Haake also worked part-time at the McHenry County Conservation District’s Law Enforcement Department as a consultant: re-writing their general orders in preparation to someday initiate the CALEA process.

Mr. Haake obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois In Parks and Recreation and subsequently attended DePaul University where he received a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Mr. Haake also attended the Northwestern University’s School of Police, Staff and Command.


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Joyce Iwashita

Joyce Iwashita is a Project Associate with the National Police Foundation, supporting day-to-day management of selected projects across various research projects and programs. A Harry S. Truman Scholar, Ms. Iwashita received her B.A. in Economics from Lewis & Clark College and received her M.A. in Security Studies with a concentration in Technology and Security from Georgetown University.


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Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson is a Project Associate at the National Police Foundation, supporting the VALOR officer safety project. Prior to joining the National Police Foundation, Christine served as the Strategic Analysis Specialist for the DC Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) from 2016 to 2020. In this role, she was responsible for facilitating data sharing agreements, as well as establishing partner agencies’ access to the CJCC’s information sharing database, JUSTIS. Additionally, in her time at the CJCC, Christine produced the agency’s first four annual Information Sharing Forums. These conferences convened local and nationally recognized figures in the field of information sharing. She also took on project management duties with respect to the agency’s two grant-funded initiatives through BJS’s NCHIP (National Criminal History Improvement Program), which implemented information sharing infrastructure between the District of Columbia and the FBI. Finally, Christine guided the agency’s effort to organize and update the JUSTIS System Security and Privacy Plan, to remain in compliance with federal information security standards.

Previously, she was a Special Investigator with Keypoint Government Solutions, and served at a national nonprofit for 3 years, the aim of which was to provide executive leadership training to Latina women across the country. Christine graduated from the Catholic University of America in 2011 with a bachelor’s in Spanish for International Services, and a minor in Latin American Studies. In 2014, Christine received her master’s in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Behavioral Analysis from the University of Cincinnati.


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Garrett Johnson

Garrett Johnson joined the Police Foundation in 2017 as a Project Coordinator. A University Scholar from George Mason University, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs, with minors in Criminology and Spanish. Garrett previously interned with the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA). There, he prepared case summaries and bilingual legal documents to share between the United States and South America regarding criminal cases and extradition agreements.


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Alonso Mendez

Alonso Ulises Mendez joined the Police Foundation in August 2019 as a Regional Manager. In his role Mr. Mendez works on grant projects awarded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) with the purpose of increasing the professionalism of Mexican criminal justice agencies.

Mr. Mendez’s experience in law enforcement dates back to 1996 where he worked for the State of Baja California, Mexico in the Attorney General’s Office holding different positions such as State Special Prosecutor for homicides, kidnapping and organized crime, director of crime investigations, deputy Attorney General and Interim Attorney General.  He also served as Police Chief almost 15 years in two agencies in the City of Mexicali Department of Public Safety and in State of Sonora, Mexico, Public safety State Police. He led these agencies though the CALEA accreditation process three times. He was a member of the Advisory Board to the Executive Director of CALEA, and is chairman  of  the Mexican Commission delegate to conduct reviews of Mexican agencies aspiring to receive CALEA accreditation.

Mr. Mendez holds a law degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, specializing in criminal law. He is a certified Crisis Negotiator by the FBI and California POST and is also certified by the FBI in Kidnapping Investigation and intelligence trends for gangs and organized crime. He holds several other recognitions from DEA and US Customs and Border Protection. He is a member of the Executive Law Enforcement Advisory Board for DARE and graduated from the FBI National Academy Session 240. He is certified in Police Command from the National Commission of Safety (Mexico).

Mr. Mendez is fluent in Spanish and English.


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