BJA Program Staff
Catherine "Kate" McNamee
SPI Senior Policy Advisor
Catherine (Kate) McNamee is a Policy Advisor within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). In this capacity, she plans and manages national level criminal justice programs designed to assist state and local law enforcement in adopting such promising practices as evidence based violence reduction strategies, intellectual property crime enforcement, and crime and violence prevention public education initiatives. Ms. McNamee previously held the position of Senior Research Analyst within the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), and in this capacity oversaw the evaluation of sexual assault prevention and response programs within the U.S. Military Services as well as the United States Military Service Academies (MSAs). Prior to her work at DoD, Ms. McNamee was a Social Science Analyst within the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Violence and Victimization Research Division for six years, during which she managed the Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI), participated in the development and implementation of the President’s DNA Initiative, and oversaw the deployment of national level prevalence studies of various crime issues as well as evaluations of promising crime prevention and law enforcement programs. She began her career at OJP as a Presidential Management Fellow within NIJ’s Office of the Director in 2001, and holds an M.S. Degree in Justice, Law and Society from American University and a B.A. in English and Political Science from The George Washington University.
BJA’s SPI Training and Technical Assistance Partner: CNA Corporation Project Staff
James "Chip" Coldren
Dr. James R. “Chip” Coldren, is the Co-Director of CNA’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation, as well as the Co-Director for SPI. Dr. Coldren has worked in an applied research capacity for the last several decades, promoting evidence-based practices in all aspects of the justice system. He directs and advises several national justice system-oriented training and technical assistance programs.
Mr. Christopher Sun oversees the SPI program and provides technical assistance and support to grantee sites. Mr. Sun has over a decade of experience supporting and implementing research-practice partnerships. Prior to the SPI, he was the Deputy Director of the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia and oversaw the research and technical assistance agendas for Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia on topics such as school discipline and school reform. He also served as a lead coordinator for professional learning communities in criminal justice and education.
Senior Evaluation Subject Matter Expert
Scott Decker is Senior Scientist at CNA, the Center for Naval Analysis in the Justice Research and Innovation Division. In this capacity, he advises CNA on the Strategic Policing Initiative, Project on American Justice, and Body Worn Camera Project. He provides input into research design and policy statements on numerous projects. He graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Social Justice and earned a Ph.D. in Criminology from Florida State University. He was formerly Foundation Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. Decker has served as an adviser or consultant to the National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Bureau of Justice Assistance, OJJDP, and Office of National Drug Control Policy. Professor Decker served as a Member of the Missouri Sentencing Commission for ten years and as a member of the Arizona POST Board for five years. Temple University Press will publish On Gangs in 2022.
Senior Collaboration Expert
Ms. Hildy Saizow is a former Executive director of the Justice Research and Statistics Association. She has worked for over 20 years as a criminologist, public policy analyst, community partner, and consultant to non-profit and government agencies.
Senior Operations Expert
Tom Woodmansee is a Senior Advisor with CNA and has over 28 years of experience in policing. Tom works with numerous agencies around the country and specialized in providing TTA on violent crime reduction strategies, community policing practices, and addressing violent offenders. He has contributed to several articles, assessments, reports and webinars on policing best practices.
Ms. Gentry Schaffer has over a decade of experience in the criminal justice field as both a researcher and a sworn police officer. With expertise in law enforcement administration, program evaluation, and process improvement, Gentry supports multiple SPI sites by developing resources and training materials on project implementation and sustainability.
Dr. Shelby Hickman is a criminologist who specializes in community based participatory research. She has extensive experience working with practitioners to implement and evaluate interventions that improve public safety and individual wellbeing. Dr. Hickman is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
DeAnna Sweeney is an expert in criminal justice and mass communication. Miss Sweeney supports various projects within CNA’s Safety and Security division, including the Smart Policing Initiative, Precision Policing impacts throughout COVID-19, Justice Reinvestment Initiative, Body-Worn Camera Training and Technical Assistance and the Public Safety Partnership through The Bureau of Justice Assistance. As an Analyst and Research Specialist on these projects, she maintains a detailed knowledge of site initiatives, supports strategic planning, and suggests TTA strategies to meet site needs. She also specializes in outreach work which entails creating the social media material for the SPI twitter and updating the SPI website with new resources and publications.
Prior to joining CNA, DeAnna was a Senior Reviewer for ICF where she worked with USAC, a subset of the FCC, to get telecommunications funding approved for medical practices in rural areas. Miss Sweeney has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University where she also minored in Mass Communication. She speaks fluent Patois.
Ms. Bridgette Bryson's work for SPI involves providing technical assistance and logistical support to three SPI sites, managing the SPI website and webinars, and developing the SPI Quarterly Newsletter. Ms. Bryson manages the SPI social media accounts and delivers regular updates and items of interest to SPI followers.
Brittany C. Cunningham
Dr. Brittany Cunningham is a Senior Research Scientist with CNA’s Institute of Public Research. She is an expert in scientific research and analysis and has more than a decade of experience designing, implementing, and managing rigorous research studies and evaluations at the local-, state- and national-level. Brittany works with Cleveland OH, providing TTA and strategic planning support for targeted initiatives for the reduction in violent crime.
Ms. Monique Jenkins supports multiple Smart Policing Initiative program sites by helping with action plan review, site visit planning, and project documentation. Monique coordinates with each law enforcement agency to identify unique TTA opportunities that will aid the site in their goals.
Subject Matter Expert
Dr. Rachel Johnston is the Deputy Project Manager for the BWC TTA project and a Senior Research Scientist for the Justice Research and Innovation Center at CNA. She has over 20 years of experience in research and analysis and project management. Her areas of expertise include policing organizations and policy, criminal justice systems reform, violence prevention, and justice systems collaboration. In addition to the BWC TTA project, Dr. Johnston supports the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Public Safety Partnership, Strategies for Policing Innovation, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. She works directly with law enforcement agencies and their stakeholders to coordinate and deliver TTA, guide analyses, share and document best practices, and evaluate program effectiveness.
Ms. Keri Richardson supports the Smart Policing Initiative program through administrative logistical support, data collection, agenda development, site visit planning, and project documentation. Keri supports numerous sites through recommending training and technical assistance, administering site visit documentation, highlighting next steps from monthly site calls, and facilitating sites receiving supporting resources.