Experts

Brian N. Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian Williams, originally from Thomasville, GA, is an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, after previous faculty appointments at Florida State University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia (UGA), as well as administrative appointments at UGA and Vanderbilt. His research centers on issues related to demographic diversity, local law enforcement, and public governance, with special attention devoted to the co-production of public safety and public order. His interests are in understanding how the assorted experiences and perceptions of officers and members of the public affect the formation and functioning of their working partnerships to understand and mitigate or address community problems. He is currently involved in research projects that study how law enforcement professionals experience and manage work related trauma that they encounter during their daily routine.Dr. Williams is also the author of Citizen Perspectives on Community Policing: A Case Study in Athens, GA (State University of New York Press) and has published in leading journals in public administration, public management, community psychology, education, and police studies. His research and engagement efforts have resulted in an appointment to serve on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Trust Advisory Board as well as invitations to speak or participate in various gatherings, including the National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 2014; the Trending Issues in Policing Summit hosted by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in 2016; the Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Agencies Program Development Roundtable hosted by the National Institute of Justice in 2016;  the Kettering Foundation’s Research Day in February of 2017; the Expert Review Panel for the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) Survey hosted by United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2018; and the 50th Anniversary of the Minnowbrook Conference hosted by Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 2018. He has taught courses on public administration and democracy, public organizations, public management, ethics, co-production of public services, urban policy and administration, and human services administration and have served as a consultant, trainer or subject matter expert with police departments or public safety related agencies and other governmental and non-governmental entities. Moreover, Dr. Williams has been recognized as a service-learning faculty fellow and was honored in 2012 to be designated as a Kavli Fellow during the National Academy of Sciences 24th Annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, hosted on the campus of the University of California in Irvine, CA. Over the course of his career, he has served his institutions, schools or colleges, and departments of affiliation in various capacities. Similarly, he haas provided service to his academic field, scholarly community, the community-at-large, and the law enforcement community at the local, state and federal levels.  Recently, he completed his three-year term on the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) for the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Brandi Lynette Blessett, Ph.D.

Dr. Brandi Blessett is an associate professor and Director of the Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Blessett’s research focuses on administrative responsibility, disenfranchisement, and social equity. Her research interests offer insight regarding the effects of institutional and systemic injustice and their contemporary implications for underrepresented communities. Much of her recent work acknowledges the disproportionate effects the criminal legal system specifically, but public institutions broadly have on people of color. Dr. Blessett’s research agenda advocates for ethical practices, professional standards, and accountability measures to promote equity, justice, and fairness to all factions of U.S. society.Currently, Dr. Blessett serves as the Book and Film Review Editor for Public Integrity and is an Associate Editor for Administrative Theory & Praxis. She has published in peer-reviewed periodicals such as Administration & Society, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Public Administration Quarterly, Public Integrity, and the Journal of Health and Human Services Administration. She has also contributed book chapters to Teaching the Wire: Frameworks, Theories and Strategies for the Classroom, Prison Privatization: The Many Facets of a Controversial Industry, Contemporary Perspectives on Affirmative Action, and Leadership and change in public organization: Beyond reform.Dr. Blessett earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University in Detroit. After teaching as a high school health and life skills teacher at Highland Park Community High School, she decided to pursue her doctorate at Old Dominion University. Her dissertation was titled “Dispersion or Re-segregation: A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Public Policies and their Impact on Urban African American Mobility.” This work serves as the foundation for her research interests.

Jarrad Carter, M.S.

Mr. Jarrad Carter is a doctoral student of Public Administration and Management at the University of North Texas. His research focuses on how collaborative efforts of public-private partnerships can effectively address community issues and advance innovative approaches to using data to inform programs, public policy, and best practices.  As a Research Fellow with the Urban SERCH Institute at the University of North Texas at Dallas, Mr. Carter played an active part in outreach to the community; planning, organizing and evaluating projects; researching best practices; as well as making recommendation to outside organizations.  During his tenure, SERCH Institute launched the nation’s first peer based citizen police officer leadership training program, the Community Leadership Academy, where he served as instructor and administrator. Mr. Carter developed curriculum and instructed two of the 12 four-hour workshops that trained Dallas police officers and citizens in leadership skills while building community trust.  In addition, Mr. Carter worked with the Second Chance Community Initiative Program (SCIIP), Dallas County’s first-ever felony community court that offers first time offenders a pre-trial diversion program that when successfully completed leads to dismissal and expunged cases. Mr. Carter continues to advocate and volunteer for the SCIIP Court.

Currently, Mr. Carter is a mediator specializing in alternative dispute resolution for civil and family law issues for the Civil and District Courts of Dallas and Tarrant Counties. He earned his Master of Science in Public Leadership and Bachelor of Science of Human Services Management and Leadership at the University of North Texas at Dallas.

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