-1 year of service in the Wellness Bureau as an Internal Wellness Center Sergeant.
Sergeant Albers served in the Army from July 22, 1986 until August 31, 2006. After retiring from the Army as a Master Sergeant, Sergeant Albers entered the police academy in December of 2006. Sergeant Albers worked an inner city precinct for more than 11 years before getting promoted to Sergeant. After getting promoted Sergeant Albers went back to the same unit to lead the same men and women he had worked with.
Sergeant Albers assisted in training the entire Columbus Division of Police in:
-Civil Disorder training
-Personal Protective equipment (PPE)
-Decontamination team during Covid-19
-Served as a Field Training Officer for 9 years
-Is a member of the Division Honor Guard for 14 years and is currently serving as the Honor Guard Drill Instructor
Sergeant Albers is a member of the CPD Peer Assistance Team (PAT) since 2012 and trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), which now includes over 100 members.
Jennifer Alicea Lieutenant, Internal Wellness Center
Columbus Division of Police
Lieutenant Alicea has 15 years in law enforcement and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, 2007, and a Master of Business Administration from The Ohio University, 2017. Her time with the Columbus Division of Police includes:
Patrol, 14 years
Field Training Officer
Peer Assistance Team
Columbus Police Honor Guard, 10 years
Crisis Intervention Team, 14 years
Lieutenant Alicea has been a member of the CPD Peer Assistance Team (PAT) since 2014 and currently holds a position on the Core Team, overseeing 129 team members. She also currently serves as the Division’s Chaplain Coordinator which includes 16 civilian Chaplains.
Dr. Vereen Barton, MAFP, MPhil
Assistant Division Chief, Director of Investigations , OAO and Recruiting
Dr. Vereen Barton, MAFP, MPhil Assistant Division Chief, Director of Investigations , OAO and Recruiting
Maryland-National Capital Park Police
Assistant Chief Dr. Vereen Barton received her Doctorate in Forensic Psychology in February 2023 and is the first female Park Police Officer to earn her Doctorate. She is an animal lover and a proud dog mom of two Pomeranians, Beenie and Gunnar. She has committed her life to serving others through education and mentorship. Her contribution to positive social change is her research on the Lived Experiences of Civilian Review Board Members. Dr. Barton knew she was called to serve and has passionately done so for over 25 years. Her path has been guided by visionaries like Aurora Lola Baldwin, the first sworn female full-time police officer in the United States in 1908; Isabella Goodwin, the first female detective in 1912 and Penny Harrington first female to lead major police department in1985 co-founder of the National Center for Women and Policing inspired her. Dr. Barton is a true trailblazer for women in law enforcement and leadership. Dr. Barton is a proud Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated member and lives the Motto Greater Service, Greater progress daily.
Officer Bentley is currently assigned to the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center as a Class Officer. He is in charge of recruits new to the profession. He develops and maintains progressive trainings and coordinates the appropriate instructors for the required material. He also ensures the recruits have met the minimum requirements needed to become certified Peace Officers. Ofc. Bentley is an Adjunct Professor at Pima Community College in order to assist the recruits in receiving college credit for the material they learn during the academy as well as furthering their education after graduating.
To further assist recruits and officers, Officer Bentley is a General Instructor, Firearms Instructor, an Active Killer response Instructor, an armorer and a Red Dot Instructor. He has completed the Critical Incident Management course, Crisis Intervention Training as well as an Integrating Communications, Assessments and Tactics Instructor. He is also a guide for Struggle Well program implemented by the Tucson Police Department through Boulder Crest Foundation.
Prior to being assigned as an Academy Class Officer, Officer Bentley was a Senior Operator with the Tucson Police Department SWAT team for 12 years. He was part of the TAC Squad that is a patrol-based SWAT squad for 3 years. Prior to being on the TAC squad, he was a K9 handler for 10 years. He was one of two handlers dually assigned to SWAT and K9 and assisted in developing integrating K9 in SWAT operations. Officer Bentley was in patrol in Operations Division West before becoming a K9 handler. He was an FTO during his patrol assignment and trained newly graduated officers.
Jennifer A. Beskid
Executive Director, Correctional Training Commission
Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Jennifer A. Beskid Executive Director, Correctional Training Commission
Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Dr. Jennifer A. Beskid has worked in public safety and criminal justice for over 30 years. Beginning her career as a substance abuse counselor, she has worked as a substance abuse assessor, substance use program treatment specialist, and shift commander for a juvenile detention facility. Dr. Beskid altered her career path when she became involved in the community-focused Hot Spots program that provided training and technical assistance to law enforcement officers and adult and juvenile probation agents providing supervision to formerly incarcerated individuals returning to high-risk communities. This career change resulted in Dr. Beskid assuming the role of Director, Research and Development for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ Police and Correctional Training Commissions. During her tenure with the Commissions, she held positions in policy, grants, and legislative affairs.
Currently, Dr. Beskid is the Executive Director of the Correctional Training Commission. Earning her Doctor of Education in 2021, Dr. Beskid has provided training and education programs in the fields of curriculum research and development, government and legislative affairs, grant administration, strategic planning, criminal justice, leadership, and community collaboration. In addition, she is a researcher focused on criminal justice and education systems including minority experiences in the academic setting, recruitment and retention of law enforcement professionals, positive and negative affect of correctional officers, building community relations between law enforcement and citizens, and the impact of learning on affect. In addition to her doctorate, she possesses a Master of Community Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts – Psychology.
Mike Boward Sergeant - Police Personnel and Training Unit
Fort Collins Police Department
Mike Boward has over 28 years of law enforcement experience, including over 24 years at his current agency in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is a Sergeant assigned to the Fort Collins Police Personnel and Training Unit. Previously he served as a Patrol Sergeant and a Training Officer in the Personnel and Training Unit where he coordinated recruiting, police officer hiring and background investigations. Boward served as a Criminal Investigations Detective for over six years prior and was a Field Training Officer. Boward has taught numerous courses locally and around the nation, including Recruiting and Hiring Strategies, Robbery Investigations, Auto Theft, and Criminal Interdiction. He is a Lead Skills instructor in police driving and is the Fort Collins Police Academy supervisor. Boward earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Andrews University.
Diana Duffy Assistant Chief of Patrol Services Bureau
Tucson Police Department
Assistant Chief Duffy currently oversees the Patrol Services Division. Prior to being promoted to Assistant Chief in 2022 she served as the Training Division Commander for the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Center where she led efforts to re-thinking training concepts and providing innovative training to new recruits. In addition, she focused on developing tailored reintegration sessions and extensive use of force training and articulation for all department members based on best practices, lessons learned, and community expectations.
As a Captain at the Tucson Police Department, Assistant Chief Duffy over saw Operations Division West Patrol Division, Traffic and the Training Division. As a lieutenant, she served as the Office of Professional Standards Commander, Violent Crimes Commander, Communications Division Commander, and the Downtown and Eastside Patrol Division Commander. As a sergeant, detective, and officer she served as the Public Information Sergeant as well as a Midtown and Downtown Division Sergeant. As a detective she was a Neighborhood Crimes Detective in Operations Division West. Lastly, as an officer she worked in Operations Division West as a patrol officer. She also worked as the Community Resource Officer and was part of the Community Response Team that worked on criminal activity and quality of life concerns that generated in the neighborhoods.
Alaina was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing in 2001.
In 2014, Alaina obtained a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Executive Management with a concentration in Terrorism. She is in the final stages of getting a second Master’s Degree in Social Work to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Prince George’s Community College since 2015, teaching in the Public Safety and Law Department.
Alaina has a vast background in law enforcement that includes 19 years of experience. She began her career with the Baltimore City Police Department. After three years of service, she transitioned to the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office, where she served for 16 years. She served on the Honor Guard, was a Hostage/Crisis Negotiator, and was an active peer support team member. Alaina spent the last years of her career at the Sheriff’s Office as the Police Academy Liaison, teaching Police Officer Trainees. She is a certified EVOC, Defensive Tactics, Mental Health First Aid, Active Shooter, and Taser Instructor. She is currently a Police Officer with the Maryland National Capitol Park Police.
Alaina has a deep passion for helping people. She is dedicated to creating awareness about how mental health impacts officer resiliency on and off the job.
Mr. Marvin Haiman serves as the Chief of Staff for the Metropolitan Police Department. In this capacity, Mr. Haiman oversees daily operations of the Executive Office of the Chief of Police and is responsible for broad agency management and implementing strategic agency objectives. Mr. Haiman is responsible for several organizational units to include the Office of Communications, Office of General Counsel, and the Professional Development Bureau. Mr. Haiman served as the Executive Director of the Professional Development Bureau between 2017 – 2021, leading the Recruiting Division, Metropolitan Police Academy Division, Human Resource Management Division, Disciplinary Review Division, Testing and Assessment Division, Equal Employment Opportunity Division, Office of Communications, and the Strategic Engagement Office (Volunteer Services).
Prior to being named Executive Director, between 2015-2017, Mr. Haiman served in a variety of capacities, including developing the agency’s Office of Volunteer Coordination, serving as Chief of Staff for the Technical Services Division tasked with a broad range of IT operations, and Chief of Staff for the Strategic Services Bureau supporting and leading the administration of police recruitment, training, policy, and volunteer service matters for the Department.
Prior to returning to the Metropolitan Police Department, Mr. Haiman served as Director for the Homeland Security Advisory Council for the United States Department of Homeland Security, establishing several key task forces for the Secretary. Prior to his Federal service, Mr. Haiman served as the Deputy Director of the Recruiting Division and Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington DC among various other positions. As Deputy Director of Recruiting, Mr. Haiman was responsible for restructuring the sworn hiring process, decreasing the amount of time it took to process candidates while increasing the quality of those officers hired.
Haiman graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a Master’s Degree in Management through the Police Executive Leadership Program and has his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Iowa and received designation as a Certified Public Management Program through George Washington University, as well as certification in Strategic Project Management. Mr. Haiman is also a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leadership Program. Mr. Haiman received recognition by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2020 as a 40 under 40 recipient and the prestigious Gary P. Hayes Award by the Police Executive Research Forum. Mr. Haiman also graduated from the Metropolitan Police Academy and served as a reserve police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department. Mr. Haiman resides with his family in Washington, DC.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Contract Therapist with North Las Vegas Police Department
Contract Therapist with North Las Vegas Police Department
Mandie Kelel has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Nevada since 2005, where she works with individuals, couples and families in private practice. During her time as a therapist, she has held many different positions. Mandie has been contracted with the North Las Vegas Police Department since 2010 (working with officers, dispatchers, support staff and family members), where she uses her training in CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) with officer-involved shootings. During her time working with the North Las Vegas Police Department, she has spent countless hours working with individuals and couples on finding a better work / life balance, more job satisfaction, and creating and maintaining healthy relationships in and out of work.
Another of Ms. Kelel’s passions lies in women and leadership roles, which is what led her to become a certified facilitator of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly™ curriculum in 2018 and Dare to Lead™ Curriculum in 2020. Mandie has helped teams and individuals find their voices through “rumbling with vulnerability” and "living into our values,” which has led many in finding their path to becoming stronger and more daring leaders. Most recently, Mandie Kelel was the Keynote Speaker at the 2022 Women in Health Care Leadership Conference, presenting on Reducing Burnout by Living into Your Values.
William Land, Ph.D
Associate Professor in the College for Health, Community, and Policy- Department of Kinesiology "
Detective Michelle McAllister has over 17 years of law enforcement experience. She received a college degree in Criminal Justice. Detective McAllister began her law enforcement career as a patrol officer for five years, then became a Detective in the Criminal Investigations Division serving the in the Property Crimes, and Special Victims Unit. During this time, she was a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for 4 ½ years. Detective McAllister later went to the Special Investigations Bureau and served on the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force for five years. Currently Detective McAllister is a background investigator for the Personnel Bureau. Detective McAllister is a three-time recipient of the Valor Awards, two-time recipient of the Prince William County Executive award, and numerous agency recognitions for her investigative work. Detective McAllister also has received Congressional recognition, meritorious action, and Public Service awards from the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Virginia for her federal undercover and prosecutorial work. Detective McAllister is a mother of four and actively involved in the Women’s Mentorship Program with her Department.
Dan Miller says he doesn’t see his life experiences as being his story. He prefers to call it his history. “We are all a product of our own personal histories,” says Dan. “The first step in really understanding a person or a subject is to understand the truth behind that history.”
Dan’s history began in Chicago, Illinois, and for as long as he can remember, he wanted to be in the military. Throughout his military career with the U.S. Marine Corps, Dan served in many roles and deployed numerous times, including Desert Storm and twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. When he retired in May 2015, he had given 30 years of service to his country – 5 years on active duty and 25 years as a reservist. He also worked as a police officer for 24 years and retired from the force in June 2015.
Dan will be the first to tell you that he loved serving in the Marines and fighting for his country, but the years took their toll.
“When you see the destruction, the lives lost, the sacrifices, and the suffering, it changes you. But when it was happening, I didn’t have time to process it. So I buried it, I had to. There was always the next mission, the constant danger of the next ambush, rocket attack or improvised explosive device (IED). However no matter how hard I tried I could not keep it buried forever.”
After his retirement, doctors diagnosed Dan with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The urge to quit, which he hadn’t fought since high school, once more entered Dan’s mind and he contemplated ending his life. Amazingly, a brochure for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) interrupted his suicide attempt.
“It was on the seat beside me and on the cover was a picture of a warrior who had lost his legs; yet, he was still working out in a gym. If he could do that, how could I give up? I wasn’t going to deny my problems anymore. I called WWP, and fast forward to today – they’ve helped me keep my family together and continue to make my history.”
Dan’s message to his fellow warriors is a message of hope: “I will pick you up and put you on my shoulder. We will move forward together. If I begin to falter, another veteran will come along and help us both. Together we will reach our place of love and safety. Because we are and always will be family.”
Mandy Nice has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing physical fitness and wellness programs that measurably improve the strength and resilience of tactical athletes and civilians. Her science-based, results-focused approach has consistently produced positive results that have earned national-level awards for measurably improving employee health, fitness, and quality-of-life. Mandy is a Physical Fitness Subject Matter Expert for leading organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). She actively serves as a guest speaker at state, national and international law enforcement conferences to help share scalable best practices for sustainable success. Mandy also serves as the Tactical Program Manager of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and, as the CEO of The Nice Life, LLC, provides professional consulting services for agencies across the U.S. and beyond. Mandy is wholeheartedly dedicated to ensuring members of law enforcement and fire/rescue are fully equipped with the essential research, training, tools, and resources needed to establish results-focused, sustainable tactical fitness and health programs. Her greatest motivator is helping noble tactical professionals optimize their physical job readiness and quality of life while mitigating injury risk so that they can fully enjoy strong, rewarding careers and long, healthy retirements.
Our CEO and Founder, Mirian "Bev" Perez passion for breaking the stigma and ending the suicide epidemic stems from both personal and professional experience as a police officer. Having endured the worst day of her life she has has now created a space for First Responders to feel heard and supported, serving as a vessel for those who continue to suffer in silence both active and retired.
SHIELDUS was created by Bev in 2019 after she struggled to find help herself. She began to notice a gap in services and decided to do something about it. Bev had a vision to create a space to began healing from the hardships of working on the front lines. That's when SHIELDUS was born. The goal is have on-going retreats were First Responders will be provided with tools to began healing and dealing with trauma, grief, financial stress, relationship issues and more. Bev takes pride in offering holistic practices for participants to take with them and began applying in real time to be the best version of themselves on and off the job, not just for self but for their families as well.
Bev is certified as a Mind-Body Skills Practitioner through the Center for Mind Body Medicine, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist through the state of Florida, and has taken the following trainings: Psychological First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavioral Training.
Officer Polta has 27 years in law enforcement including:
11th Precinct “B” Company Community Resource Officer – 14 years
Community Response Team Officer Zone 2 and Zone 5 – 7 years
Investigative Unit - Robbery Detective – 5 years
Wellness Bureau - Internal Wellness Center Officer – 1 year
Officer Polta was invited as an inaugural member of the CPD Peer Assistance Team (PAT) in 2012 and trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and has been a part of the Core Team interviewing several new PAT members which now includes over 100 members. Officer Polta was also part of the committee to bring on 10 Chaplains of various faiths to the Columbus Division of Police in 2014, and currently serves as the CPD Chaplain Liaison that now includes 16 Chaplains.
Officer Polta has been married to his wife LeeAnne for 25 years, and has 3 sons. Officer Polta has served as a deacon in his church since 2012, and has mentored and coached youth in the Columbus, Ohio area. Officer Polta earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami (Ohio) University prior to his law enforcement career. Officer Polta enjoys playing hockey, fishing, weightlifting, golf, travel, cooking, and home improvement projects.
Deputy Chief Prieto began her career in public safety with the Tucson Police Department in 1999 and has worked in various areas throughout the agency. She has held assignments in Patrol Services, the Community Response Team, Street Narcotics Unit, Internal Affairs, and the Central Investigations Division. She spent several years as a detective before her promotion to sergeant and subsequent ranks. She was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2022 after serving as the Southside Patrol Division Commander and appointed to Deputy Chief in 2023. Deputy Chief Prieto currently oversees the Executive Office Bureau, which consists of the Office of Professional Standards, the Public Information Office, and the Wellness Division.
Frank Ray is a former police officer, Texas chart-topper, and bilingual recording artist opening doors for a modern Latino Country movement. Growing up both enriched in his Mexican culture, three miles from the border in New Mexico and surrounded by Country music in Texas, Frank was immersed in the best of both worlds and has been harmonizing the two since. Described as “easygoing contemporary Country with pop-soul hooks and a dash of Southwestern spice” (Rolling Stone) Frank’s music is a blend-drawing influences from ’90s Texas Country, Latin, R&B and Pop. As an entertainer, Frank delivers engaging, high-energy performances that have a little something for everyone. It’s with this cross-cultural appeal and his panorama of influences that the Los Angeles Times proclaims Ray “is looking to stretch Country music’s cultural boundaries.”
In the three short years since embarking on his musical journey full-time, he has racked up two No. 1 singles and three Top ten singles on Texas Country Radio, become a staff songwriter, landed Frank Rogers as his producer, signed a record deal with BBR Music Group/Stoney Creek Records and much more. In addition to being named an “Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone, Ray has appeared on USA Network’s Real Country, been profiled in the Los Angeles Times and on NBC’s TODAY. He has also toured the nation and shared stages in support of artists like Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Kip Moore, LANCO, Old Dominion, Hunter Hayes, and more. Following his just released EP “Getcha Some” and just in time for the holiday craze, the versatile entertainer is now cranking up the holiday spirit with his latest song, “Feliz Navidad,” available now.
Clay Swensen is the Lieutenant with the Sandy Police Department, in Sandy, UT. He is the commander over the Motor Unit, Crime Suppression Unit, and School Resource Unit. Clay has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Broadview University and is currently enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program at Grand Canyon University.
In 2005, Clay began his career with Sandy City as a patrol officer. In 2006 he was chosen for the Crime Suppression Unit. Clay was selected as a K9 Handler in 2009 and served with his partner “Hook” until he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2016. During his time as an officer, Clay served as an FTO and in several capacities as an instructor.
As a sergeant, Clay held multiple roles including patrol sergeant, investigations sergeant, public information officer, and administrative sergeant. While assigned to the administrative sergeant position, Clay recognized the need to streamline the hiring process. He implemented a new recruiting and hiring platform, a new background investigation program, and onboarding system, which were completely paperless. These advancements helped the department recruit and hire with greater efficiency, getting the department back to full staffing levels. The improved proficiency allowed the department to quickly hire and retain lateral applicants at a rate never achieved previously.
Clay is the recipient of numerous awards including the Medal of Valor, Medal of Merit, Supervisor of the Year, Unit Citation, and Community Service Award. He is passionate about mental health and officer welfare, and helped establish the Sandy PD Peer Support Team. He is an active member of the Utah Critical Incident Stress Management Team.
Clay is married to his wife of twenty years, has two daughters, and numerous pets. He and his family love travel, snow sports, the outdoors, and riding motorcycles.
Dan Willis Captain (Retired), International Instructor
Captain Dan Willis (ret) served for 30 years with the La Mesa Police (CA) as a crimes of violence - sexual assault - child molest - homicide detective, SWAT Commander, Wellness Unit coordinator and Peer Support team leader. He's a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He has trained over 10,000 peace officers in 40 states and Canada on trauma recovery, resilience, and wellness; and is the author of the emotional survival and wellness guidebook "Bulletproof Spirit," which is required reading at the FBI National Academy.
12 years in law enforcement, prior Savannah Chatham Metro PD (6 years with 3.5 years as narcotics detective), 6 years AZ DPS (3 years Phoenix graves, 2 years Drill instructor at State Trooper Academy, promoted in September of 2020 directly into the Recruiting Unit.) Arizona POST certified Physical Test Instructor, ISSA certified personal trainer and OCB (organization of competitive bodybuilding) figure competitor.