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DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance Announces Inaugural Board of Advisors

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

Renowned UAS thought leaders from fire rescue, law enforcement, emergency management, and other stakeholder agencies to help guide and promote organizational mission

DRONERESPONERS Board of Advisors
LOS ANGELES - DRONERESPONDERS Chief Harold Shapelhouman of Meno Park Fire District and Battalion Chief Richard Fields of the Los Angeles Fire Department discuss UAS strategy during the 2019 UAS DRONES Disaster Conference in Downey, California.

MIAMI – The DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance, the leading 501(c)3 non-profit program advocating for and supporting the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – also known as “drones” – for public safety missions has announced their inaugural Board of Advisors. The 37-person roster contains many of the most renowned names from the realm of public safety UAS.

The inaugural 2019-2020 DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance Board of Advisors is comprised of:

1. Greg Agvent, Senior Director of National News Technology, CNN AIR, Georgia

2. Jim Baker, Sergeant, UAS Lead, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

3. Chris Barron, Executive Director, State Firefighters’ & Fire Marshals’ Association, Texas

4. Leon Borrman, UAS Lead, Albany County Sheriff’s Office, New York

5. Gregory Crutsinger, Ph.D. GIS Specialist, Founder, Scholar Farms, California

6. Darshan Divakaran, UAS Program Engineer, NCDOT, North Carolina

7. Angi English, Chief of Staff, New Mexico Department of Homeland Security, New Mexico

8. Richard Fields Battalion Chief, UAS Lead, Los Angeles City Fire Department, California

9. Paige Fitzgerald, UAS Program Manager, Delaware Emergency Management, Delaware

10. Kay Goss, Editorial Board of Review, Journal of Emergency Management, Virginia

11. Chris Gould, Battalion Chief, Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue, Florida

12. Chris Grazioso, sUAS Team Leader, Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, Massachusetts

13. Charlie Guddemi, State Interoperability Coordinator, Emergency Management, District of Columbia

14. David Hartman, Battalion Chief (Ret.), Charlottesville Fire Department, Virginia

15. Deepu John, Detective 2nd Grade, New York Police Department New York

16. Drew Jurkofsky, Accident Reconstruction, City of Fort Collins Police Department, Colorado

17. Coitt Kessler, UAS Lead, Austin Fire Department, Texas

18. Robert Koester, Ph.D. Lost Person Behavior, CEO, dbS Productions, Virginia

19. David Kovar, CEO, Unmanned & Robotic Systems Analysis (URSA), New Hampshire

20. John Lambert, President, AUVSI Florida Peninsula Chapter, Florida

21. Cathy Lanier, Senior Vice President of Security, National Football League, New York

22. Michael Leo, Captain, UAS Lead, Fire Department of New York, New York

23. Anthony Loperfido, Police Sergeant, UAS Lead, Miami Beach Police Department, Florida

24. Thomas Madigan, Commander, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, California

25. Timothy Martin, Captain, Lead UAS Instructor, Huntington Beach Police Department, California

26. Ben Miller, Director, Colorado Center of Excellence of Advanced Aerial Firefighting, Colorado

27. Keenan Newton, UAS Coordinator, Lynwood Fire Department, Illinois

28. Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel, National Press Photographers Association, New York

29. Eddie Reyes, Director, Prince William County Office of Public Safety, Virginia

30. Steve Rhode, Chief Pilot, Wake Forest Fire Department, North Carolina

31. Gene Robinson, UAS SAR, Principal, Drone Pilot, Inc, Texas

32. Matt Rogers, Police Sergeant, Aviation Unit, Michigan State Police, Michigan

33. Chris Sadler, Deputy Chief, UAS Lead, York County Fire and Life Safety, Virginia

34. Harold Schapelhouman, Chief, Menlo Park Fire District, California

35. Patrick Sherman, Drone Advisor/Thermographer, Tualatin Valley Fire Rescue, Oregon

36. Don Shinnamon, Vice President of Operations, Unmanned Safety Institute, Florida

37. Christopher Todd, Executive Director, AIRT (Airborne International Response Team), Florida

38. Kenneth Voiret, Captain, Air Operations Division, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

39. Cliff Weaver, EMA Director, Evansville/Vanderburgh Emergency Management Agency, Indiana

40. Jay Willmott, UAS Subject Matter Expert, Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, Virginia

41. Austin Worcester, Senior Program Manager sUAS, Civil Air Patrol, Washington DC

“We are extremely fortunate to have such high caliber leaders willing to pitch-in and support the DRONERESPONDERS mission,” says Chief Charles Werner (ret.), Director of the DRONERESPONDERS program. “This board of advisors will provide their specific expertise to help ensure that we are focusing on the proper goals and objectives to facilitate the use of UAS by public safety agencies.”

Werner says all DRONERESPONDERS advisory board members will serve an initial term from July 1 to December 31, 2020. The advisors will then either be retained or replaced for a new 1 or 2-year terms starting January 1, 2021 and resulting in one-half of the DRONERESPONDERS advisory board positions re-opening on an annual basis.

“The adoption of UAS in the public safety sector is evolving extremely rapidly,” says Werner. “It’s vital for DRONERESPONDERS to keep pace by continually absorbing and promoting new concepts and fresh ideas from those serving as our advisors.”

Werner realizes there is an abundance of UAS thought leadership within the public safety domain. He wants more individuals to become involved and contribute to the DRONEREPONDERS mission through spearheading various committees, working groups and task forces. He says DRONERESPONDERS is presently establishing partnerships across academia, industry, government agencies (local, state, and federal), and nongovernmental organizations.

The DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance is operated as an official program under AIRT, Inc., a Florida-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in 2017 to help provide unmanned aviation research and charitable contributions for public safety and disaster relief. Individuals and organizational representatives interested in becoming more involved in the DRONERESPONDERS program should visit to join the no-fee program.

“Make no mistake, we want and need all the help we can get in making the DRONERESPONDERS program successful,” says Werner. “We have opportunities for everyone who has a strong desire to participate and contribute to get involved!”

About DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance

The DRONERESPONDERS non-profit mission is to facilitate preparedness, response and resilience using unmanned aircraft systems and related technologies operated by public safety, emergency management, and non-governmental volunteer organizations around the world. The DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit operating program of AIRT, Inc. For more information on DRONERESPONDERS, please visit:

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