Suzie Anderson (Widow), Burbank Fire Department
Suzie Anderson, widow and mother of four daughters of a firefighter paramedic Ken Anderson from the City of Burbank. Husband firefighter Kenneth Anderson Jr took his own life March 11, 2017.
Medina Baumgart, Psy.D., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Dr. Medina Baumgart is a licensed psychologist in California with over a decade of experience in the mental health field. She currently works as a Law Enforcement Psychologist with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Psychological Services Bureau. Her professional duties including providing individual and couples therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, critical incident debriefs, crisis and emergency response, and training for sworn, civilian, and professional personnel. Additionally, she provides organizational consultation, conducts briefings, and delivers in-service trainings to LASD North Patrol Division and North Academy Recruit Training personnel. She teaches courses on stress management, crisis intervention, working with victims of crime, law enforcement interactions with people who have a mental illness, ethical decision making, wellness for dispatchers, critical incidents, and cynicism in law enforcement. Dr. Baumgart is also the LASD Peer Support Program Psychologist and is involved in the ongoing development and implementation of that program.
Dr. Baumgart is married to a police officer who recently retired from a 29-year career working patrol and specialized units, including Narcotics and Homicide. Her experiences as a law enforcement spouse and her work with LASD personnel sparked her interest in understanding retirement adjustment and helping sworn personnel better manage their responses to retirement. She is currently working with LASD to develop training material on retirement adjustment and integrate retirees into the Peer Support Program in an effort to provide additional support to personnel who are retiring and already retired.
Anne Bisek, Psy. D., Doc 911
Dr. Anne Bisek, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in Fremont, California. She graduated from the Wright Institute in 2004. Her second year practicum was at the Hayward Police Department’s domestic violence unit and her dissertation was about three Urban Search and Rescue teams from the bay area who were deployed to New York following the terrorist attack in 2001.
Dr. Bisek now has a private practice where she offers individual counseling (including EMDR) to firefighters, police officers, dispatchers/communications, pre-hospital personnel (EMTs etc) and military veterans. She works with agencies such as the California Highway Patrol, Federal Air Marshal Service, Bay Area Paramedics, CAL FIRE, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Police Departments, and the San Francisco Sheriff’s department.
Dr. Bisek has been the team psychologist for the San Mateo Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team since 2009. She provides Critical Incident Stress Debriefings throughout the bay area including Belmont Police Department, Oakland Police Department and San Bruno Fire Department.
She has spoken to peer support teams, psychologists, law enforcement and mixed discipline audiences since 2009. Her training topics include The combination of alcohol and critical incidents, Self Care for Peer Support Team, The “F Word” in Peer Support: Talking to your Colleagues about Fear, and The Tower of Mental Health.
Her subspecialty in working with first responders is calls for service that involve the death of a child. This is a major reason first responders enter treatment. Dr. Bisek regularly presents When a Child Dies: Understanding Emergency Responders’ Reactions to the Death of a Child.
Dr. Bisek has volunteered as a psychologist with the West Coast Post Trauma Retreat since 2007.
Erin Brockus, Assistant Communications Manager, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department
Erin Brockus is a 24-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. She began her career as a dispatcher in 1995 and has been the assistant communications manager since 2007. Erin was instrumental in creating and developing the department’s Peer Support Program in 2011. She continues to see the value in such a vital component of public safety by making sure her agency’s team is well-informed by sending out publications and coordinating team training.
Matt Carlson,LPC, Retired Firefighter, Oshtemo MI Fire Department
Matthew Carlson is prior firefighter from Oshtemo Fire Department in Southwest Michigan. He was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of accumulated stress in 2008. He went through the Workers Comp process and returned to duty a short time after. In 2012, he published an article on Firefighter Close Calls.com on the topic of ” Resilience Training”, calling on departments to educate their members with ways to manage adversity both on and off the job mirroring the efforts of the US Army. Since that time, he has published several other articles in Counseling Today, Fire Engineering, and has provided training across the United States. In 2013, after obtaining a masters degree in counseling, Matthew retired from the fire department and began pursuing a PhD in Advanced Human Behavior. He has studied extensively on the topics of PTSD, resilience, and humor style. He is happy to report that he no longer meets criteria for PTSD and resides in the mountains of Winter Park, Colorado.
Tina Casola, M.A. First Alarm Fire Wellness
An advocate for progressive behavioral health practices with first responders, Tina Casola and her team at First Alarm Wellness provide education to individuals, departments, businesses and other organizations desiring a better understanding of emotional distress. The team is experienced in facilitating effective evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other stress related disorders with Veterans, Emergency Service Personnel and Civilians.
We understand concerns of a First Responder’s family and that life itself throws curveballs on a regular basis. Whatever your concern, you can feel at ease knowing that we will understand every aspect…not just the label of the job. Interpersonal conflict, infertility, pregnancy loss, grief, family concerns, and substance misuse are just some of the other reasons why people reach out.
Whatever is on your mind…we are here to help!
Greg Dean, Senior Sergeant Greg Dean CF (Churchill Fellow) – Welfare Services, Australia Victory Police
Greg’s a current serving officer with Victoria Police in Melbourne, Australia with 30 years policing experience. During his career he has worked in general operational policing as a patrol officer, supervisor and station manager. He also work in the Highway Patrol and as an investigator for 10 years at the Major Collision Investigation Unit where he investigated fatal motor vehicle collision around the state of Victoria. As a station manager he was the Officer in Charge of the second largest police station in Victoria Police, the Melbourne East Police Station, where he was in charge of around 125 police officers.
For the past 3 years Greg has been a manager of Victoria Police’s Welfare Services who provide 24/7/365 confidential wellbeing support to all 20,000 Victoria Police employees as well as their immediate family. In delivering this support Welfare Services are assisted by a Police Psychology Unit, Chaplaincy Unit, Peer Support, Internal Witness Support, Case Management and Police Veterans Support Victoria. Greg has recently been awarded a prestigious Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship that allowed him to travel to the USA, Canada and UK to research and investigate ‘early intervention into mental health in serving police and peer support for former police employees.’ Greg’s report into his research resulted in 14 recommendations, of which Victoria Police accepted 12. A number of these Greg has already implemented. During his Fellowship Greg was fortunate enough to spend significant time in San Bernardino with The Counseling Team International along with the San Bernardino Police and Sheriffs Departments.
Jay Dobyns, Retired Special Agent, Veteran Undercover ATF Operative, Best Selling Author
Jay Dobyns achieved worldwide notoriety as one of history’s most successful undercover operators during high-octane missions targeting America’s violent crime.
Often playing the role of a shrewdly- calculating hitman or mob debt collector, he infiltrated scores of deadly criminal enterprises while living among street and prison gangs, anti-government extremists, gunrunning groups, drug traffickers, organized crime members, bomb builders, home invasion robbery crews and “murder-for-hire” suspects. He participated in over 500 covert operations.
A defense attorney once described Jay as: “…a government-trained ‘Predator’ repeatedly sent on seek and destroy missions in search of drugs, guns and violence, with instructions to succeed at any cost and without regard for the agent himself or those he crosses paths with.”
Jay is perhaps best known for his landmark effort against the notorious Hells Angels. Over a two- year period, he was the first-ever lawman to defeat the gang’s multilayered security measures to become a member of their legendary Skull Valley charter.
Jay’s book No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels is a New York Times and international bestseller. His follow-up Catching Hell, A True Story of Abandonment and Betrayal is a memoir that details the events of his life and career.
Jay is a highly-sought keynote speaker, a law enforcement trainer, a consultant to the film and television industry as well as a high school football coach. He was recently honored with the cover story on American Patriots Magazine.
Samuel L. Feemster, JD, M. Div., Supervisory Special Agent (Ret.), Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) is the founder of Project BeSTOW, a multi-year research project developed at the FBI Academy’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU). The most crucial findings from Mr. Feemster’s research have been published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (LEB), The Police Chief magazine, and The Forensic Examiner. These empirical results were the impetus for four international conferences Mr. Feemster organized to refine and advance the evolving topic of spirituality, wellness, and vitality in policing. The research and conferences sustained Project BeSTOW (“Beyond Survival Toward Officer Wellness”) and became the nucleus of an innovative accredited 40-hour NA course titled “Spirituality, Wellness, and Vitality in Law Enforcement Practices.” In retirement Pastor Feemster lead Mt. Vernon Baptist Church to maintain “R.E.S.T. (Restoring Essential Servants Together) Stop East”, a discrete refuge where First Responders turn in for a respite. Sam and Rosa live in Ashburn, VA.
John A. Ferrone, Esq., Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone
John A. Ferrone is a partner of Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone and has been practicing law for 27 years. John specializes in the areas of workers’ compensation, ADR labor negotiations, employment litigation, and retirement.
John negotiated the first public safety ADR program for workers’ compensation for the City of Long Beach Police and Fire in 2008. Since that time, John has launched similar ADR programs in Huntington Beach, Orange County Fire Authority, Rialto, Glendale, Bakersfield, Porterville and Madera.
John is a guest lecturer for the Peace Officers’ Research Association of California, CCPOA, and several other public safety agencies. John also conducts training in the areas of workers’ compensation and has assisted safety organizations with drafting legislation.
Matt Fiorenza, Firefighter/Paramedic, Anaheim Fire Department
Matthew Fiorenza is a 18 year Firefighter/Paramedic for The City Of Anaheim in Orange County Ca. Husband, Father, Brother, and Mentor after 10 years on the job, working on the busiest units in the city, things began to change in his life. Matthew began to suffer the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress. Not knowing what was happening mentally, divorce and a on the job injury that required surgery sent Matt into a deep depression. He could not escape his thoughts of suicide. Alcoholism and depression consumed Matts life until he found the right help. Matts journey of healing has put him on an incredible path of hope and resilience. Matt now sober mentors’ men through 12 step programs, volunteers as a Shepard for Save A Warrior, a very effective 5 1/2 day program that helps Veterans and First Responders get on the other side of PTS. Matt works with Simple Recovery doing outreach for Simples one of a kind First Responder Program. With the help of Simple Recovery Matt started a support group to give first responders a safe place to share their experience, strength and hope that meets on a weekly basis. Matt finds his strength through natural healing methods such as meditation. He is also a trusted member of Anaheim Fire & Rescues Peer support team.
Carmen Franco, Senior Administrative Specialist, Venture County Children and Family Services
Senior Administrative Specialist Carmen Franco has received her Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science and Masters in Marriage and Family Services. She began working for Ventura County Children and Family Services in 1994 as a student worker. Since then she has worked a variety of assignments including supervision, investigations, Court Processes and Administration. She has been the Agency’s Peer Support Coordinator since the program began in 2016.
Steve Froehlich, Ph.D., Director of Behavioral Health Services
Dr. Steven Froehlich opened his private practice in West Los Angeles in 1976. The focus of his practice has been to assist individuals, couples and families. In addition, Steve has had the opportunity to serve many individuals from the Law Enforcement and Fire Service communities. He began with the Beverly Hills Police Department, serving as a member and clinical supervisor for their Peer Support Team. Later he was trained by the Los Angele Police Department in Crisis Negotiations and was added to the Beverly Hills Police Department’s Crisis Negotiations Team. Subsequently, Steve was recruited as a Mental Health Professional to assist the FBI in their Los Angeles Field Office. He provided training and ongoing consultation for the Peer Support Team as well as assisting post Critical Incidents and with individuals as needed.
n 1995, Steve was brought onto the Critical Incident Stress Management Team with the Los Angeles County Fire Department where he served until 2017. This team is designed to mitigate the impact of critical incidents for fire service personnel. The team is utilized within the County of Los Angeles, as needed, but is also deployed in out of County incidents such as Hurricane Katrina, in Arizona after the tragic loss of the nineteen Hotshots who were fighting the wildfires outside of Prescott, Arizona and then to Douglas County Oregon after the mass shootings at Umpqua Community College. Finally, last year, May 2017, Steve was asked to join the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City as their full time Director of Behavioral Health. Both Local 112 and LAFD have committed to providing the very highest level of Behavioral Health Services for their Members. Today, UFLAC Local 112 and LAFD are working together to this end.
Stephanie Gutierrez (Widow), Long Beach Police Department
Stephanie is the widow of deceased Police Officer Hector Gutierrez and mother of three. Her husband, Detective Hector Gutierrez of LBPD took his own life on November 4, 2017. Stephanie will be sharing a heart-felt story outlining the events leading up to her husband’s death. These events included an on-duty shooting injury and Hector’s ongoing struggles with PTSD, anger management, anxiety, and depression. Stephanie will also share the significant impact on the family.
Gina Johnson, Deputy Chief Ventura County Probation
Chief Deputy Gina Johnson has received her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Masters in Public Administration. She began working for the Ventura County Probation Agency in 1990 as a student worker. Since then she has worked a variety of assignments including field supervision, investigations and institutions. She has been the Agency’s Peer Support Coordinator since the program began in 2015.
Sharla Mandere, Transformation Specialist, Radiant Sunrise Wellness
Sharla Mandere is a Certified Holistic Health and Empowerment Coach, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. A self proclaimed recovering stress addict, she has searched and studied the art of being happy for almost a decade. She is passionate about helping busy people live their most empowered and free lives so they can walk through the fire with their own rhythm and own their happiness. She is also the proud daughter of a retired Fireman/EMT. She lives in San Diego with her husband and 2 feisty and artistic daughters.
Shane Matthews, Captain, Camarillo Police Department
24 year member of the Sheriff’s Office. Currently assigned to the contract city of Camarillo as the assistant chief of police. Over the course of his career he has worked a variety of assignments including narcotics, search and rescue, detectives, and SWAT.
Brian McGrath, Captain, Ventura County Fire Department
Brian has worked in the fire service for 16 years 9 years for Bakersfield City Fire Department and 7 years with Ventura County Fire Protection District. Brian has worked on the Behavioral Health Cadre for 2 years and has participated in numerous defusings and stress debriefings. He has been working with the union and the agency to update and develop new policies and procedures in the mental health field. Some of the notable incidents he has responded to are; the fires in Santa Rosa, the Thomas Fire, Montecito Mudslides, Borderline Shooting and the Woolsey Fire. Brian also; works as a Union District Representative, member of the USAR team, teaches Fireline EMT and most importantly a father of two beautiful girls.
Kimberly Miller, Ph.D., Kimberly A. Miller Associates, LLC
Dr. Kimberly Miller is a police psychologist and a sought-after speaker, consultant and trainer who has been inspiring and motivating individuals in our profession for over 15 years. She is a strength-based facilitator of individual and organizational change and is known for her relationship-based approach to her work and the skill-based, engaging training and consultation services she offers. She uses workshops, coaching and organizational interventions to improve not only the individual line-level employee skills but also work to improve supervision, management, and the entire organization. Dr. Miller’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Auburn University, a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Colorado State University.
Kelly Phillips, Sergeant, Anaheim Police Department
Kelly was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Utah. His law enforcement career started with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1999 and he lateralled to the Anaheim Police Department in 2002, where he is currently a patrol sergeant. Kelly has worked as a Primary Response Officer, SWAT Operator, Drug Recognition Expert, Gang Investigator, and Crime Task Force Investigator. He joined the Peer Support Team in 2014 and became a program coordinator after promoting to Sergeant in 2015. Kelly was selected as the Scout Sniper Unit Sergeant in 2017. He enjoys spending time with his daughter and exploring outdoors. Kelly has completed nine Ironman races and believes the process of training for and completing these races help him toughen his mind, body, and soul.
Chuck Price, Chaplain, San Diego PD, El Cajon PD, Coronado PD and the FBI
Originally from Arizona, Chuck Price has lived in California since 1983. He received his BS in Business Management from Arizona State University and his Masters from Bethel Seminary. He is blessed to be married to Helen for over 30 years. He began his chaplaincy with the San Diego Police Department in 2001, joined the El Cajon Police Department in 2008 and added Coronado PD and the FBI in 2017. His passion is to care for law enforcement professionals and has done so by logging thousands of hours with 500 different officers on more than 1000 ride-alongs.
He is a P.O.S.T. certified chaplain, an International Conference of Police Chaplains Senior Chaplain and coordinates daily operations and chaplain deployments for SDPD & ECPD. He actively serves patrol divisions, Gang Suppression Team, Homicide, Motors, Sex Crimes, Child Abuse, Missing Persons, Lab, Cold Case, ICAC and is a member of the Negotiations Team for SDPD & ECPD.
Ed Sherman, Psy. D., Mental Health Clinician/Volunteer Fire Lieutenant, The Counseling Team International
Dr. Sherman received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. Ed has 40 years of experience in public safety having served as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, and paramedic. He initially performed fire suppression, rescue, and emergency medical services duties in the New York City area. Dr. Sherman later worked for many years in the law enforcement profession in San Diego in assignments including patrol, traffic, training, judicial protection, warrant enforcement, and post-blast investigation. He worked as a Criminal Intelligence Supervisor for the California Department of Justice where he coordinated a joint federal, state, and local law enforcement investigative group. Dr. Sherman was originally trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) in 1993, served as a member of the San Diego CISM Team, and has performed critical incident stress debriefings, defusings, demobilizations, and individual peer support for first responders and other personnel in situations involving line of duty deaths, suicides, and other traumatic events. He is a graduate of the San Diego State University Trauma Recovery Services certificate program and was appointed as a member of the advisory board. Dr. Sherman has been performing workplace violence threat assessments for more than 20 years, was the primary violence threat assessor for the County of San Diego and coordinated risk management activities related to maintaining a safe and secure work environment for 17,000 employees at 700 work sites. He has worked as an organizational consultant and has provided services including assessment, training, coaching, team building, and process improvement facilitation for staff at all levels including executives and boards of directors. Dr. Sherman remains actively involved in the public safety field as a volunteer fire lieutenant coordinating a specialized unit. Dr. Sherman is currently part of The Counseling Team International and serves clients out of their San Bernardino office.
Debbie Silveria, Ph.D., The Counseling Team International
Deborah Silveria is a Licensed Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. Dr. Silveria earned her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California. She has maintained a part-time private practice since 1993. Dr. Silveria is an EMDR Part One Trainer for Trauma Recovery Network. She is a Certified Eagala, Equine Assisted Therapist and Approved ICISF Instructor for Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support and Comprehensive Crisis Preparation and Response in the Workplace. She is also an Approved Instructor for Continuing Education for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
Dr. Silveria consults and teaches workshops for continuing education on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), child abuse and group psychotherapy. She also provides workshops for corporate clients and EAPs on various topics such as stress management, anger management and trauma preparedness. She teaches at Cerritos College in their Foster and Kinship Program, is an Adjunct Professor at National University, and teaches Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). She is part of The Counseling Team International and has responded to the San Bernardino terrorist attacks and the Big Bear Manhunt. Dr. Silveria serves clients for The Counseling Team International in their Costa Mesa office.
Spencer Stone, Author, Actor, Retired United States Air Force Staff Sergeant
Former Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone garnered international headlines in 2015 when he and his childhood friends, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, thwarted a major terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train. An unarmed Stone rushed toward the danger, subduing and disarming a man wielding an assault rifle, pistol, box cutter and enough ammunition to kill everyone on board.
Stone and his friends saved hundreds of lives that day. Despite serious injuries as a result of the encounter, Stone provided life-saving care to a man who received a gunshot wound to his throat during the attack. For his heroic and selfless actions, French President Francois Hollande presented Stone with the nation’s highest decoration, The Legion of Honor. Upon his return to the United States, he was honored in a ceremony at the Pentagon and was awarded the Airman’s Medal and a Purple Heart. President Barack Obama also hosted the trio at the White House.
In a stunning turn of events, just a month and a half after the Paris attack—and three days before Stone was to return to duty in the Air Force–he was brutally attacked in his hometown of Sacramento, CA, while defending a female friend. Stone was stabbed in his heart, lung and liver with injuries so serious that the crime scene was initially declared a homicide. Life-saving surgery followed, and he has since made a full recovery from the attack.
Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos released a book detailing their incredible journey, The 15:17 to Paris, which caught the eye of legendary filmmaker Clint Eastwood. Now a major motion picture, Stone and his friends play themselves in the film, which was released in February 2018.
Jim Uhl, Sergeant, Peer Support Coordinator, Whittier Police Department & Chief Leadership Officer, Breaking the Chain Consulting
Jim is the Chief Leadership Officer of Breaking the Chain Consulting; a leadership and workforce development company that builds great leaders and teams. He has 22 years of policing experience and currently a sergeant with the Whittier Police Department (WPD), CA. Jim has worked custody, patrol, and investigations.
Jim is a POST Master Instructor and holds an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Woodbury University and a B.S. in Criminal Justice from CSULA. He is an adjunct instructor, where he teaches courses in leadership.
Jim is the creator and coordinator of the WPD Mentoring Service and co-coordinator of the WPD Trauma Response Team.
Jim founded and leads the WPD Family Adoption Project; an initiative that partners with local organizations to provide hope and encouragement for families in need.
Jim has authored two articles in The Police Chief Magazine (2010 & 2017). He was also interviewed by Smart Business Magazine (2014).
Melanie Weuve (Widow), Orange County Fire Authority
Melanie is the widow of Captain Eric Weuve and mother of two. Husband of OCFA took his own life on December 13 2016. She will be sharing a poignant story of life and struggles as a fire wife; coping with injuries on the job, prescribed medications and substance abuse, depression and the effects on a seemingly picture-perfect family.
Brad White, Sergeant (Ret.) Whittier Police Department
Brad is a retired Sergeant with 20 years of experience as a police officer. During his career, he served as a detective in narcotics, robbery, and homicide. Prior to his police career, he served in the United States Coast Guard, serving in the Presidential Honor Guard at the nation’s capital.
Brad consults and speaks on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at workshops for continuing education classes, police and fire department training classes, peer support teams, university administration training, and various mental health programs in numerous states. He has participated in the development of POST training videos and training programs, and assists police psychology professionals in various training programs for first responders.
Brad is married to his wife of 17 years, and lives in Yorba Linda, CA, with their one son.