Equitable Policing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the role of police has expanded to include the enforcement of public-health safety regulations in congruence with local, state, and federal law. With citizens of their jurisdictions eager to escape quarantine and return to normal life, this has been a challenge.

The tragedy and scope of COVID-19 has shown its face in astronomical death tolls and extreme personal sacrifice, with the weight of the pandemic falling hardest on minority communities – specifically on those of Black and Latino Americans. While members of these communities are becoming infected and dying of COVID-19 at higher rates than others, they are also finding themselves in more contact with local law enforcement because of social distancing and additional pandemic-related regulations.

This panel will discuss the challenges of enforcing coronavirus regulations, the impact it has had across different communities, and how that has affected initiatives focused on more equitable policing.


  • Ms. Ganesha Martin, President, G.M.M. Consulting

Keynote Speaker:

  • Ed Davis, Former Boston (MA) Police Department Commissioner


  • Judge Ernest F. Hart, Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, New York (NY) Police Department
  • Eric Adams, President, Brooklyn (NY) Borough
  • Wendy Calaway, Professor, University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Officer James Sobota, Houston (TX) Police Department
  • Chief Brad Wells, Wood River (IL) Police Department

Registration is free.

This event was made possible by Target.



Ganesha Martin, President, G.M.M. Consulting

Most recently the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Ganesha Martin has overseen collaborative criminal justice efforts that included the Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the judiciary and several community groups.

As Chief of the Department of Justice Compliance, Accountability & External Affairs Division, Martin collaborated with DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys during a patterns or practice investigation that ultimately led to a Consent Decree. Martin played an integral role on a negotiation team that introduced structural reforms to the Baltimore Police Department in crisis intervention, relationships with youth, interactions with persons suffering from mental illness, use of force, de-escalation, body-worn cameras, mobile data computer technology, hiring & recruitment, community engagement and officer wellness & early intervention.

Martin has been recognized in recent years by The Baltimore Sun in its Top 25 Women to Watch, The Daily Record in its Top 100 Women and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in its Top 40 Under 40 list.


Judge Ernest F. Hart, Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, New York (NY) Police Department

Judge Ernest F. Hart

Deputy Commissioner Ernest F. Hart joined the New York City Police Department in March of 2019 from the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term, having previously served as a New York City Criminal Judge. In addition, Commissioner Hart is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Queens Borough Community College. Before Commissioner Hart became a judge, he was Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer of the Columbia University Medical Center/Affiliation at Harlem Hospital where he was responsible for supervision of academic and clinical service operations and strategic planning. Commissioner Hart began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office and was chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. Commissioner Hart has served on several boards and commissions. He is also Chair of Martin De Porres Group and Family Services which serves at-risk youth. Commissioner Hart is an Ordained Roman Catholic Deacon, assigned to the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Springfield Gardens, Queens.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn, NY

Eric Adams
Eric Leroy Adams graduated from the New York City Police Academy in 1984 and served in several precincts during his 22-year law enforcement career before retiring as a captain. In 1995, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, and also served as president of the Grand Council of Guardians, a statewide fraternal society for African Americans in law enforcement.

Eric was elected to the first of four terms in the New York State Senate in 2006. During his tenure in the State Legislature, he chaired both the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee and the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee. In 2013, he was elected as the first person of color to serve as Brooklyn’s borough president where is currently serving.

Professor Wendy Calaway, University of Cincinnati, OH

Wendy Callaway

Professor Calaway is an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash. Prof. Calaway’s expertise involves the courts, criminal law, and wrongful convictions. Her teaching on wrongful convictions has garnered international attention, including an appointment as a Visiting Professor at the Universidad de Santiago, Andres Bello, in Santiago, Chile. She has also been a practicing criminal defense attorney for over 20 years advocating for clients in state, federal district court, the Sixth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Her advocacy has resulted in changes to Ohio law regarding the use of expert testimony in criminal cases, allied offenses in sentencing, and bail reform in Cincinnati. Professor Calaway’s scholarship focuses on criminal justice reform and has been featured in the Richmond Law Review, St. John’s Law Review, and the Champion legal journals. Her work has been repeatedly featured in the Washington Post, on NPR affiliates and other media outlets and she has been the recipient of multiple awards for her scholarship.

Officer James Sobota, Houston (TX) Police Department

Officer James Sobota

A native of Houston, Officer James Sobota joined the Houston Police Department in 1985 and has experience in the Patrol Division, as well as a Field Trainer and Evaluator for Training Probation Police Officers. Officer Sobota served as Academy Instructor for Introducing Deaf Culture to newly hired cadets, and has received many commendations for his exceptional community service. He is currently Citywide Positive Interaction Program (PIP) Coordinator.

The PIP program is a community relations program which brings the citizens of Houston together within every diverse community and at each police district, to educate and inform of police services and activities.

Additionally, as liaison to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, he provides the PIP program to the deaf community and researched and introduced the Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service to the Houston Police Department for ADA compliance and communications.
The PIP program has grown substantially in our communities over the past 10 years and has been nationally recognized for the working relationship between the department and our citizens.

Chief Brad Wells, Wood River (IL) Police Department

Chief Brad Wells

Chief Brad Wells has served as a sworn Police Officer since 1990. Prior to his current position, Wells was Deputy Sheriff of Madison County (IL) Sheriff’s Office. In 2018, he was appointed Chief of Police for City of Wood River 2018. Chief Wells is a 2008 graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy.

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