This important panel discussion, created as the third in the Destination Zero Year-End Fatality Report and Program Series, a series of programs to supplement the January 11, 2021 release of the 2020 Officer Fatality Report, will include the importance of proper training on identifying a Smart Risk v. Risk, manipulation of an officer’s physical environment, and creating accountability through technology and peer support.
The one-one discussion will be led by leaders in the field of law enforcement and traffic safety who collaborate within our country’s hardest hit traffic-fatality region to bring officers home safely every day.
Congressman John Katko, New York, 24th District
Marcia Ferranto, Chief Executive Officer, National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum
Katie Alexander, Law Enforcement Liaison, Texas Municipal Police Association
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
Congressman John Katko
Congressman John M. Katko was first elected to represent the 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2014. In Congress, he serves on the House Homeland Security Committee as Ranking Member of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation subcommittee. He also serves on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. Rep. Katko has been a public servant long before he began his congressional career. He graduated with honors from both Niagara University and Syracuse University College of Law, embarking on successful legal career with both private practices and the Federal Government. He served first as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and then commenced to his twenty-year career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. As a federal prosecutor, Rep. Katko served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and with the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Section. He also served as a Senior Trial Attorney on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Rep. Katko eventually returned to his hometown of Camillus, NY, and for over 15 years, he served as a federal organized crime prosecutor in Syracuse for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York. He led high-level narcotics federal prosecutions, concurrently holding the positions of Narcotics Chief, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Coordinator, Binghamton Office Supervisor, Team Leader, and Grand Jury Coordinator. He notably served as Supervisor of the Narcotics Section, formulating the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force, and successfully prosecuting the first-ever RICO gang case in the City of Syracuse, which led to a significant drop in the City’s violent crime rate.
Rep. Katko has been honored with the top prosecutor award by three separate Attorneys General for his work on the Gang Violence Task Force and international drug-trafficking investigations. He has lectured at Syracuse University College of Law and Cornell Law School and has led attorney trainings for criminal investigations and prosecutions worldwide in Moscow, Croatia, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, and El Salvador. In 2011, Rep. Katko was selected to be the sole U.S. advisor on a highly sensitive prosecution in Albania. He retired from the U.S. Department of Justice in January 2013 to run for Congress.
Ms. Alexander is a Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL) with the Texas Municipal Police Association. Prior to joining the LEL team, she taught Advanced Child Abuse Investigation and Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigation courses to law enforcement officers across Texas. Ms. Alexander is a Master Peace Officer, currently commissioned with the Oak Ridge North (TX) Police Department. In addition to 17 years of law enforcement experience, she has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, a master’s degree in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Psychology at Grand Canyon University.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a lifelong Houstonian, was elected on November 8, 2016 as the Sheriff of Harris County. On January 1, 2017, Gonzalez became the 30th Sheriff of Harris County, Texas – leading the largest Sheriff’s Office in the state, and third largest in the nation. Sheriff Gonzalez began his law enforcement career as a civilian employee in the Houston Police Department, where he later became a police officer and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He served on the elite hostage negotiation team and was assigned to the Homicide Division as an investigator, retiring after 18 years. In 2009, he served three terms on the Houston City Council representing District H. He was elected by his peers in 2010 to serve as Vice Mayor Pro-Temp and was appointed Mayor Pro-Temp in 2012 by then-Mayor Annise Parker.
Since taking office in 2017, Sheriff Gonzalez has been a leading voice in the effort to improve their criminal justice system and enhance public safety through research-based policy making. Gonzalez created the Office of Mental Health Policy and Jail Diversion Projects which has allowed the Sheriff’s Office to significantly increase mental health/de-escalation training and launched other innovative initiatives aimed at reducing recidivism. In 2017, Sheriff Gonzalez oversaw the office’s response to Hurricane Harvey, the most destructive natural disaster in American history. Sheriff Gonzalez worked shoulder-to-shoulder with front-line deputies to rescue thousands of residents from flood waters. In 2018, Sheriff Gonzalez’s administration implemented the office’s first body-worn camera policy, distributing the devices to front-line deputies to build public trust through transparency. He continues to support thoughtful bail policies that weigh each defendant’s risk of committing future violent acts against protecting the ability of non-violent defendants to contribute to their families and the community. Sheriff Gonzalez believes that taxpayers are best served when jail cells are occupied by those who pose a genuine threat to the public safety, not low-level, non-violent defendants who simply cannot afford a few hundred dollars for bail.
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