Our Team

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.

Dawn Hill

SPI Grants Manager

Dawn Hill is a State Policy Advisor for the Department of Justice in the Office of Justice Programs/Bureau of Justice Assistance. She joined the department in 2013 and has managed over 200 grants for the bureau.  Currently, she manages grants for the Strategies for Policing Innovation program, Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), and Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) for the state of Virginia.  Ms. Hill has over 10 years of experience managing grants in the non-profit sector and the federal government.   

BJA’s SPI Training and Technical Assistance Partner: CNA Corporation Project Staff

James "Chip" Coldren

Project Director

Dr. Chip Coldren is a university professor and long-time police researcher and technical assistance provider. Dr. Coldren has extensive experience with introducing innovation into police department operations, policies and procedures and he formerly directed the Illinois Community Policing Training Institute.

Vivian Elliott

Project Manager

Ms. Vivian Elliott is Assistant Director of Justice Programs at CNA and Project Manager of the Strategies for Policing Innovation program. She oversees support to 35 law enforcement agencies across the nation in implementing innovative evidence-based policing practices. She also provides analytic, technical, and administrative support, as well as overseeing and developing the SPI Web site. 

James "Chips" Stewart

Senior Project Advisor

Mr. Chips Stewart is a former Director of the National Institute of Justice and a retired Chief of Detectives from the Oakland, California Police Department. Mr. Stewart is a national expert on police operations who has led numerous studies and technical assistance efforts since leaving the federal government.

Hildy Saizow

Subject Matter Expert Coordinator

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.

Michael D. White

Research Subject Matter Expert

Dr. Michael White is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. He is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of criminal justice policy and police use of force, authoring more than thirty refereed articles and two books and supporting more than a dozen local, state, and national funded projects as a Co-Principal Investigator.

Zoë Thorkildsen

Outreach Coordinator

Ms. Zoë Thorkildsen currently provides technical and analytical support for SPI where she conducts subject matter research as well as contributes to research reports. She manages the SPI website and webinars, and serves as editor for the SPI Quarterly Newsletter. She has also assisted with conference planning and execution, including the preparation of advance materials such as Attendee Guides and post-event summary reports.

Lily Robin


Lily Robin supports the SPI program through administrative support, data collection, and the development and maintenance of documents, evaluation reports, and web content. Lily also provides technical assistance and logistical support to three SPI sites. 

Mia Hicks

Administrative Coordinator

Ms. Hicks provides technical and administrative support to criminal justice programs, including the Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI) program, Body-Worn Cameras Training and Technical Assistance, National Public Safety Partnership, and CNA’s Executive Sessions. As part of her work on the Strategies for Policing Innovation program, she provides technical support to the SPI team and grantees and assists in managing and updating the SPI website’s content.

Keri Richardson


Keri Richardson supports the Strategies for Policing Innovation 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.

Christopher Sun


Mr. Christopher Sun provides technical assistance and support to grantee sites as an SPI analyst. Mr. Sun 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 has also served as a lead coordinator for professional learning communities and research-practice partnerships. 

Emma Wohl


Ms. Emma Wohl's work for SPI involves providing technical assistance and logistical support to six SPI sites: Pinellas County, FL; Roanoke County, VA; Shoreline, WA; Atlanta, GA; Lowell, MA; and Madison, WI. Ms. Wohl also supports web content management for the SPI website.

Tom Woodmansee

Analyst/Subject Matter Expert

Lt. Tom Woodmansee has more than 23 years of law enforcement experience, and serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the Strategies for Policing Innovation program. He additionally supports the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative for the Office of Community Oriented Policing and the BJA National Public Safety Partnership as an analyst and SME.