The 2023 NGCRC 26th International Gang Specialist

Training Conference (July 31 - August 2, 2023):

A Look at the Presenters


Last Updated: Nov. 28, 2022


Pricila Avila, B.S.

            Ms. Pricila Avila, B.S. is a graduate student in the Criminal Justice & Criminology program at the University of Central Missouri. She earned her Bachelor of Science - BS in Criminal Justice and Spanish from University of Central Missouri. She is currently working towards a M.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. Pricila is a member of UCM’s Lambda Alpha Epsilon competitive criminal justice team and Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society.

Corporal Jim Bailey

            Corporal Jim Bailey has been with the Battle Creek Police Department for over 13 years, and has been assigned to the Battle Creek Police Department Gang Suppression Unit for over 6 years. Corporal Bailey has been directly involved in many of the same gang investigations as Detective Sutherland, and has assisted as one of the lead investigators with Detective Sutherland, on many of the same violence crime investigations. Corporal Bailey has also been involved in cell phone investigations, writing and executing search warrants, surveillance techniques, undercover drug buys, and managing confidential informants. Corporal Bailey has been recognized in Michigan State District Court and Circuit Court as an expert in drug trafficking and drug investigations, identifying armed subjects, and cell phone site analyses. Corporal Bailey is currently a K-9 handler for the Battle Creek Police Department and is a member of the department’s Emergency Response Team. He is a Defensive Tactics Instructor and a Patrol Training Officer for the Battle Creek Police Department. He has also received Instructor certification for Active Shooter Response for Civilians, through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.


Chief Scott C. Booth

            Chief Scott C. Booth has been in law enforcement for over twenty-eight years and is currently the Chief of Police in Danville, Virginia. Chief Booth first joined the Richmond Police Department, where he served for 19 years, rising to the rank of major. In August of 2015, he joined the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Washington, DC, where he served as the Chief of Police. In February 2018, he became the chief in Danville, Virginia, where he has focused on community engagement and reducing violent crime, specifically gang crime in the community. Since his tenure started, Danville has reduced overall violent crime by 64 percent. Chief Booth has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in Human Resource Management and Leadership Studies and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a graduate of the 268th session of the FBI National Academy and the 48th session of the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police.


Michael Coghlan, JD 

            Michael Coghlan was a certified gang specialist accredited through the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Springfield Police Department. He served as a trainer for gang crime specialist certification. He is a recipient of the Thrasher Award and has provided training throughout the United States for the National Law Enforcement Institute. He coordinated the investigation and prosecution of 24 gang members in a series of conspiracies, solicitation, and offenses including drive-by shootings and gang-related murder.

Wendy K. Cornejo, JD

            Wendy K. Cornejo is currently an Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Tennessee. Mrs. Cornejo is assigned to the Organized/Violent Groups Unit. From 2004 to 2018, she served as an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago, IL where she prosecuted all violent felonies which included murder, sex charges, and armed robberies. Mrs. Cornejo earned her Juris Doctor in 2003 from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, IL. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1999 from Bradley University located in Peoria, IL. Mrs. Cornejo is a member of the Illinois State Bar.

Aaron Cunningham             

            Aaron Cunningham has (25) years of law enforcement experience and retired a 24-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department last assigned to CPIC Fusion Center, Bureau of Counter Terrorism & Special Operations. He is a highly decorated officer with extensive gang experience and past assignments to USATF PSN Task Force, Area Gun Team, Tactical Teams, District Intelligence Officer, and Patrol. His experience entailed joint activity with Federal, State, Local partner agencies, task force, and HIDTA/OCDEFT operations.

            Past performance also includes organization of large format platform-based training events to include the 1st and 2nd International Counter-Terrorism Conference (2012, 2013) for National-level components with intelligence, defense, and police agencies hosted by the Korean National Police Agency, South Korea. Aaron further led an officer survival project, Uso Tactico de la Fuerza y Supervivencia Policial, over (7) years for more than (950) members of El Salvador’s Policia Nacional Civil.

Robert T. David Sr.

            Robert T. David Sr., Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator. 2020 recipient of th Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for Excellence in Gang Intervention. M.A. in addiction and professional counseling. Creator of Project Imagine the Virginia Municipal League President award winner of most innovative program.

Kenneth Davis

            Kenneth Davis retired from the Yonkers Police Department in July of 2017. From 1985-1990 he was assigned to uniformed patrol (task force and public housing) and plainclothes (street-level and undercover narcotics). From 1990-2000 he worked street gangs, graffiti crimes and police academy. From 2000-2009 he was assigned to several middle/high schools as a school resource officer. In 2009 - 2017, as a detective, he continued investigating street gangs, narcotics (search warrants) and graffiti crimes. As the departments liaison, he assisted the YMCA’s Cure Violence/SNUG Program and the Westchester County Department of Corrections Re-entry Program. From 2017-present, he is a NYS private investigator and a graffiti/gang specialist presenting at various regional, national, and international conferences.

Dr. Gregg W. Etter Sr., Ed.D.

            Dr. Gregg W. Etter Sr., Ed.D., is a Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. He retired as a Lieutenant with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office after serving from 1977 to 2006. He is rated as a gang expert by the National Gang Crime Research Center. He has written extensively and presented classes on gangs, white supremacist groups and police management topics in the United States and Canada. Dr. Etter earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Wichita State University and his Doctorate degree from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Etter is the author of numerous books, book chapters, edited and refereed articles. His latest book is: Gangs and Organized Crime which he authored with Dr. George W. Knox and Dr. Carter F. Smith.


D. Lee Gilbertson, Ph.D.

            D. Lee Gilbertson is a tenured professor at a state university in Minnesota and has been teaching since August 2000. He has studied gangs, militias, and extremist groups since 1995. He actively consults in the US and the UK with attorneys, law enforcement investigators, and medical examiners in the areas of forensic victimology and postmortem assessment, as well as crime analysis and mapping. Lee has presented at numerous national and international conferences and has participated in all of the NGCRC Gang Colleges. He is a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award (2002, 2005, 2008) and the Curtis Robinson Leadership Award (2015). Lee is the Executive Editor for the Journal of Gang Research and is a member of the NGCRC Staff. His background includes a Ph.D. in sociology, MS in criminal justice, and 16 years of exemplary military service (infantry and signals intelligence).

Rachel Gossett, Ph.D.

            Rachel Gossett, PhD is an associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She has conducted research at several prisons in Ohio, explored perceptions of improper police behavior using a subset of the NCVS, and most recently worked as program evaluator for the Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force. She is engaged in various research projects, scholarly activities, and reviews textbooks and academic journal article submissions.


Myah I. Grimm

            Myah I. Grimm is an undergradute student pursuing a dual major in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Political Science at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2022. Upon graduation, she intends to further her studies and attend law school. Myah serves as the Vice President of Lindenwood University’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Myah’s research interest include social injustice, women’s rights, and the over representation of certain groups in the justice system.


Dr. Ternae T. Jordan, Sr.

            Dr. Ternae Jordan is a highly respected leader and inspirational speaker. He is one of the world’s leaders in spiritual enlightenment, community engagement, and leadership. He is a pastor, mentor, father, and a worldwide transformational and inspirational speaker. For more than 40 years, Dr. Jordan created and shaped community and national initiatives. He is known for his passion and enthusiastic style of delivery and his ability to connect and translate his skills and knowledge into transformational ideas. His passion for serving God and compassion for reaching people extends far and wide. In 1992, he created the award-winning Stop the Madness program. He has received numerous awards, recognitions, and honors including the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service recognizing him for outstanding public service. Indiana Governor Joseph E. Kernan awarded him the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the highest honor bestowed on a citizen in the State of Indiana. The word “Sagamore” was a leadership word used by American Indian tribes to describe a great person among the tribe to whom the existing chief would consult for wisdom and advice. Sagamore also means “respected chief” and first appeared in reference to Chingachgook in the classic book The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

Deputy Joe Kajy

            Deputy Joe Kajy has three years of law enforcement investigative experience with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan where he is assigned to the Gang Intelligence Unit. Prior to that, he has a combined eleven years of experience in network administration, management of information systems and open-source intelligence. Being a fresh technical face in law enforcement, he has been the recipient of three awards during his career. Specializing in open-source intelligence gathering and internet investigations, he strives to provide streamlined methods for gathering information in criminal investigations.

George W. Knox, Ph.D.

            George Knox earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. He has extensive field experience with gangs, including interviewing gang members, gang leaders, and gang victims. He has taught in the field of criminal justice and sociology. He serves as the Executive Director of the National Gang Crime Research Center. He was the author of the first full textbook on gangs (An Introduction to Gangs) and other books and monographs on gang topics. His research interests include how to deal with gang problems in probation/parole, juvenile corrections, adult corrections, and gang threat analysis — examining the gang as a unit of social organization.

Lawrence Lujan

            Lawrence Lujan has led a distinguished (33) year career with the El Paso Police Department (EPD) since 1990. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (Class 274), and a past Chief Judge, Pueblo at National American Indian Court Judges Association. Lawrence served as Gang Unit Lieutenant, Gang Unit field officer, and tactical team experience with EPD SWAT, Mountain Rescue, and Anti-Burglary. Lawrence has worked alongside the Policia National Civil with ITTA’s ongoing Officer Survival Project ‘Uso Tactica de la Fuerza y Sobrevivencia Policial’. 

Luis Flores-Montalvo

            Luis Flores-Montalvo is a decorated 29 year veteran of El Salvador’s Policia National Civil including ten years with the Grupo Maritimo Policial (GMP) where he conducted interagency work with DEA. Luis is an accomplished in-service training instructor with long term roles in specialized training. He is currently involved in an Officer Survival training project with El Salvador’s Policia Nacional Civil (PNC). He is also a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award from the NGCRC.


Todd D. Negola, Psy.D.

            Todd D. Negola is a clinical/forensic psychologist who has worked with the National Gang Crime Research Center for over 20 years. He also serves as the Acting President of the Pennsylvania Gang Investigator’s Association. He has been studying and researching gangs and criminal mindedness for over 25 years. He has worked with and studied juvenile and adult criminal populations, in and out of prison, both at the state and federal levels. He conducts training and consults with federal, state and local law enforcement as well as public and private educational institutions, community programs and mental health personnel. He has published research in the Journal of Gang Research, Addiction and Research, The Journal and co-authored a chapter in the book, Treating the Juvenile Offender. He has multiple television appearances, participated in nationally syndicated and local radio programs, teaches college courses and has consulted in gang documentaries. Lastly, he is a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for Superior Research and Exemplary Scholarship in the Psychology of Gangs and is a Reviewing Editor for the National Gang Crime Research Center’s Journal of Gang Research.

AUSA Steve Nelson

            Steve Nelson is an Assistant United States Attorney and currently serves as the Anti-Gang Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. He earned his J.D. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Utah and serves as an Associate Instructor of Political Science at the University of Utah, and has taught over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in his teaching career. 

P. Neal Oldham, JD

            P. Neal Oldham has been a prosecutor for 18 years. He spent his first five years in rural Tennessee as an Assistant District Attorney. He then moved to the Shelby County DA’s office which prosecutes cases arising out of Memphis, TN, staying for eight and one-half years spending most time in the Gang Unit prosecuting gang homicides. While in the Shelby County DA’s Gang Unit he and other ADA’s along with local and federal law enforcement reconstituted the Shelby County Multi-Agency Gang Unit “MGU”. In 2018 he moved to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee where he is assigned to the Organized/Violence Groups Unit. He earned his Juris Doctor in 2004 from the Cecil Humphrey School of Law in Memphis, TN. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Memphis in 1999. He was the 2008 Tennessee District Attorney General’s Conference President’s Award Winner which recognizes the state prosecutor of the year. He is a member of the Tennessee State Bar.

Deputy Joe Polan 

            Deputy Joe Polan has seventeen years of law enforcement investigative experience in two different states. He started his career in the State of Florida with the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department where he worked for 10 ½ years. Deputy Polan for the past six and a half years has been employed with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in the State of Michigan where he is assigned to the Gang Intelligence Unit. Deputy Polan has received over fifty agency and public commendations along with being the recipient of the Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year for outstanding work performance.

Detective Danny Polo

            Bachelor’s degree Psychology. Law enforcement for 30 years. Detective 2016-present, Broward County units in chronological order) Tactical Deployment, Crime Suppression, Organized Crime, Gang Investigations. Task Force Officer, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives. Advanced Gang Specialist with the Florida Gang Investigators Association, hundreds of hours of training in criminal gangs, organized crime, and money laundering. Presenter at the 2019 Attorney General’s FCPT program. Presenter at Broward College Institute of Public Safety, trained State Attorney’s Office prosecutors in Career Criminal and 10-20-life Units. Received the Florida Gang Investigators Association Investigator of the Year Award, and DEA Miami Field Division Task Force Officer Award for local impact. Testified in a Bloods gang member attempt murder trial as a Subject Matter Expert and got conviction for Gang Enhancement proving the crime was committed in furtherance of the gang. Selected as Subject Matter Expert on high profile rapper and bloods gang member Jarnell Demons “YNW MELLY” double homicide trial.


John J. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

            Dr. Rodriguez’s interests in academia include but are not limited to gangs, transnationalism, immigration, police issues, and Latinos in the criminal justice system. However, I am most interested in gangs, security threat groups and extremist groups. I have been studying, researching, and writing on these groups and their activity for over almost two decades. I have published and presented much of this work in the U.S. and abroad. I have also consulted and testified as an expert witness in multiple cases, which include deportation of gang members, organized crime, and various homicide cases.

Abril Romero 

            Abril Romero, BA (expected 2023) is an undergraduate student at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She is pursuing a major in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a minor in Sociology. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Alpha Chi National College of Honor Society and obtained the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Her future endeavors will pertain to the juvenile justice system, particularly the administration of child welfare services or youth care service.

Douglas L. Semark, Ph.D.

            Douglas L. Semark, a nonprofit leader with four decades of experience, including 17 years as Executive Director of the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) in Los Angeles. Semi-retired, he now serves as Executive to the Board and Chief Learning Officer. He provides gang and violence prevention professional development for K-12 school counselors; serves in various advisory capacities; works with various agencies in the areas of violence reduction and community rebuilding, including Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and the UCLA/Rand Prevention Research Center. He is currently the Director of the Gangfree Life Academy®.

Grant Shostak, Ed.D., JD

            Grant Shostak, EdD, JD is an associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Grant’s extensive experience defending persons accused of criminal offenses and as a law clerk to the late Judge Paul J. Simon at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, provides a unique viewpoint on criminal justice issues. His research interests are varied and reflect his interdisciplinary educational background.

Elvis Slaughter, MS

            Criminologist Elvis Slaughter served as a fire and police commissioner, and is a retired Cook County Sheriff’s Superintendent with more than thirty years’ experience in criminal justice, corrections, and law enforcement. Slaughter holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice and Corrections. He has authored several articles and ten books, which include Safer Jail and Prison Matters, Mentally Ill Inmates and Corrections, and Preschool to Prison. Elvis is a speaker, security consultant, and correctional auditor. He is also a member of the American Jail Association, American Correctional Association, Hammond Police Citizen Advisory Commission, National Sheriff’s Association, Illinois Sheriff’s Association, and former president of he Illinois Academy of Criminology. Elvis taught criminal justice at the college level.


Grant Smith

            Mr. Grant Smith is a member of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) external training staff. Mr. Smith is a retired police officer with twenty-two years of law enforcement experience. For twelve of the twenty-two years, he was assigned to a multi-jurisdiction and multi-agency narcotics and violence crime task force as a task force agent and supervisor. Other law enforcement experience includes time in the Patrol Division, Investigations Division, and as a Special Response Team as a team leader. He also served as an investigator on the county’s Child Sexual Abuse Task Force. Additionally, he was a member of the department’s Counter Drug Reaction Team, and the department’s Police Honor Guard. Immediately upon retirement from the police department, Mr. Smith served as a member of a forensic team with the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell (CEXC) in Baghdad, Iraq. As an FBI training instructor, Mr. Smith conducts training for municipal, county, state and federal agencies. He is also part of the FBI’s New Agent Training Team in Quantico, VA and participates in CJIS internal training. In 2015, Mr. Smith was the recipient of the Frederic Thrasher Award for Superior Service in Law Enforcement Training. Mr. Smith is a United States Navy Veteran.

Michael Tabarrok

            Michael Tabarrok is the Assistant Attorney General 3, Office of Attorney General Chris Barr, Prosecution Division, Gangs, Atlanta, Georgia. Having been a prosecutor for 24 years around the State of Georgia and Guam, (with a brief stint as a criminal defense attorney in the middle of his career for 3 years), he specializes in the prosecution of gangs, murders, and drugs, as well as asset forfeitures and special prosecutions. Using RICO, gang statutes, forfeitures, and Federal referrals, he brings novel approaches to attacking gang problems.

Detective Tyler Sutherland

            Detective Tyler Sutherland has been a police officer for the Battle Creek Police Department for over 13 years. He is currently assigned to the Battle Creek Police Detective Bureau, and was previously assigned to the Gang Suppression Unit for over 6 years. As a member of the Gang Unit, Detective Sutherland was directly involved as the lead investigator in a number of gang, and violent crime, cases that resulted in courtroom trials and jury convictions. While participating in all aspects of gang investigations and court room prosecution, Detective Sutherland has been qualified as, and testified as, a gang expert in the U.S. District court and Michigan State Circuit and District Court, more than 15 times in the last five years. One of these gang cases, was the first criminal gang enhancement jury conviction in the State of Michigan since the state statute was created. He is also recognized in circuit and district court as an expert in Drug Trafficking and Drug Investigations. A Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Patrol Training Officer, he has also received Instructor certification for Active Shooter Response for Civilians, through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.


Philip J. Swift, Ph.D.

            Mr. Swift, Ph.D. is a husband, father, and a 22-year law enforcement veteran. Since April of 2018, Mr. Swift has served as the Fort Worth City Marshal. Prior to becoming the City Marshal, Mr. Swift rose to the rank of Captain in the Denver Sheriff Department. During his law enforcement career he served as a City Marshal, Director of Security, Watch Commander, FTO Commander, Gang/Intelligence Unit Commander, K-9 Unit Commander, Internal Affairs Bureau Investigator, Conduct Review Office Sergeant, Emergency Response Unit member and Sergeant, Court Services Sergeant, and as Adjunct Training Academy Instructor. Mr. Swift holds a MS and Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology from Walden University and has also received dual MBA’s and a BS in Criminal Justice from American International University. Mr. Swift is a published author (Gangs, Outlaw Bikers, Organized Crime & Extremists; Looseleaf Law Publishing), a contributor to Inside Police Psychology:, and is frequently asked to speak locally and nationally on topics related to gang, criminal, inmate, and law enforcement culture, forensic psychology, and jail gang investigations.

Martha Wall-Whitfield, Ph.D.

            Dr. Martha Wall-Whitfield is an educator from Little Rock, Arkansas where she is currently the Principal at the state’s largest juvenile facility for incarcerated youth. During her time in Arkansas, she also has been the District Principal for Rite of Passage, overseeing all correctional education in the state. She taught for six years at the University level as an Assistant Professor for Averett University. She currently serves as an Adjunct for Arkansas State University, teaching in the school leadership program. Dr. Whitfield is a mom of five and a Mimi to three. She has been active in both her church as a Sunday School teacher and the community as a foster parent and foster parent trainer for the state.


Mackenzie Williams

            Ms. Mackenzie Williams is a graduate student in the accelerated master’s program in Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Central Missouri. Her undergraduate studies involved a dual major in criminal justice and sociology. Mackenzie is a member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon-Gamma Epsilon Delta (LAE-GED), Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), and is a criminal justice student ambassador. Ms. Williams is employed with the Department of Homeland Security with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a National Preparedness Directorates Action Office.

AUSA Stewart M. Young

            Stewart M. Young is an Assistant United States Attorney and currently serves as Senior Litigation Counsel for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. He previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. He earned his J.D. from Stanford University, clerked for judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the District of Utah, and was a full-time faculty member at the University of Wyoming College of Law.