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2019 National Symposium in Review

Posted By Andrea A. Walter, Thursday, January 31, 2019

The 2019 National Symposium, the IJIS Institute’s premier conference and educational event, was held on January 23-24. 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The National Symposium event bridges the gap between technology and policy through public- and private-sector collaboration. Through the education and networking opportunities at the National Symposium, public-sector mission challenges will intersect with industry innovation and policy and process best practices to help drive public-sector technology, empower information sharing, and result in safer and healthier communities.

The 2019 National Symposium focused on innovative technology, information sharing and safeguarding, and national priority initiatives in which the IJIS Institute is involved or trying to address, and the event brought together industry, government and associated nonprofit organizations and academia to face challenges in a collaborative setting.

This year’s event had the extra challenge of occurring during the partial federal government shutdown, but, as they say, the show must go on!

Pre-Symposium events included the IJIS Institute Board of Directors meeting and the meetings of many of the advisory committees and task forces. With an entire morning to meet, the committees and task forces accomplished a lot of work, and some of them held joint meetings to review projects.

The 2019 National Symposium began the afternoon of January 23rd with the opening ceremony and a welcome from the IJIS Institute’s executive director and the vice-chair of the board of directors, and then two fantastic opening keynote speakers:

  • Carlos Rivero, the chief data officer of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and
  • Jeff Jonas, the CEO of Senzing.

Rivero, the first chief data officer in Virginia, discussed data-related initiatives occurring in the state and their importance in government effectiveness and future policy. Jonas discussed Bad Guy Hunting with entity resolution, going through a step-by-step example of entity resolution and discussing how these concepts can be used in the future.

The first plenary session was Internet-ot-Things (IoT) Security for Public Safety – Is It Time for Standards? Jenner Holder, Chief Information Security Officer for Axon, spoke on this topic and issued a call to action for the participants, through the IJIS Institute, to come together and start the work of creating IoT security standards.

The second plenary session was a panel discussion on Cyber Security: Maximizing Benefits from Open Standards. It was moderated by Lt. Colonel James Emerson USMC (Ret), Executive Advisor for Cyber Policy, NW3C. The panel included a state perspective from Stacey A. Wright, Director of Cyber Intelligence, Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and a federal perspective from Scott A. Vantrease, CISSP, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Digital Investigations Branch, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The third plenary session was also a panel discussion, and it was on Modernizing Crime Statistics and the Widespread Impact on the IT Industry. Paul Wormeli, President of Wormeli Consulting, served as moderator for the panel and also began the session with a brief history of crime statistics collection in the United States. Dr. Janet L. Lauritsen, Curators' Distinguished Professor, University of Missouri – St. Louis, led the Modernizing Crime Statistics Panel for the National Academies of Sciences with funding from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and she discussed the two reports that came from the study on defining and classifying crime and developing new systems. Erica L. Smith, Unit Chief, Law Enforcement Incident-Based Statistics Unit, Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, spoke about identifying a new path forward to address critical analytic elements in crime data collection.

At the end of the first day of the National Symposium, the participants enjoyed an Awards Celebration Reception. There was a lot of great food and networking, but we also got an opportunity to celebrate some amazing accomplishments.

  • Colonel Joseph Richard (Rick) Fuentes, New Jersey State Police (Retired), received the 2019 Robert P. Shumate National Public Safety and Justice Contributor to Excellence Award. Read more about Rick Fuentes and his career at
  • IJIS Institute thanked our ten-year members that were present at the reception with an award – CommSys, Inc., Marquis Software, and Watch Systems.
  • IJIS also presented a special award of appreciation to several key members who took leadership roles in committees and task forces over the past year:
  • Fred Roesel, Marquis Software (Chair of IJIS Corrections Committee)
  • Joe Wheeler, MTG Management Consultants (Chair of IJIS Courts Committee)
  • Iveta Topalova, Microsoft (Chair of IJIS Technology and Architecture Committee)
  • Anne Thompson, Thompson Finn LLC (Chair of Blockchain Task Force)
  • Patrick Doyle (Chair of the Law Enforcement Imaging Task Force)

Did you know that the slide presentations from the 2019 National Symposium
are available on the mobile app?
The mobile app contained all the schedule,
speaker information, and hotel information that attendees needed during the event,
but it now also contains the slide presentations for reference!

Sessions resumed on the second day of the National Symposium, beginning with a keynote presentation from Doug Robinson, Executive Director of the National Association of State CIOs. He discussed trends with state CIOs and reviewed the CIO priorities from a recent NASCIO study.

Next up was a plenary panel on Data Sharing to Combat Exploitation and Human Trafficking. The panel was moderated by Richard Gold, a program manager for IJIS. Participating in the panel were:

  • Joe Mandala, CIO, Kansas Bureau of Investigation
  • John Bischoff, Executive Director/Missing Children Division, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • Amelia Rubenstein, MSW, LCSW-C, Clinical Research Specialist for the Child Sex Trafficking Victims Initiative (CSTVI), University of Maryland School of Social Work

The panel discussed the activities of their organizations in combatting human trafficking and participants notes that partnerships and collaboration in accessing data among systems is critical in this nationwide effort.

The late morning provided participants with a choice of breakout sessions to attend:

  • Using Privacy by Design for Cyber Defense and to Encourage the Adoption of New Technology, presented by Chuck Georgo, Executive Director,, Mike Alagna, Program Director, IJIS Institute, and Jenner Holden, Chief Information Security Officer, Axon.
  • Public-sector Blockchain Use Cases: An Assessment Framework presented by Anne Thompson, Principal, Thompson Finn LLC, and Akbar Farook, Global Justice Solutions
  • Corrections Technology: Challenges for the Future presented by Fred Roesel, Business Architect, Marquis Software, and Brian Day, Director of Product Strategy, Syscon Justice Systems, Ltd.
  • Using AI for Criminal History Records Research, presented by Steve Spiker, Data Evangelist, Measures for Justice, and Dave Kilmer, Data Architect, Measures for Justice

The next plenary panel was on 2021: Nationwide Rollout of Incident-based Reporting and was moderated by Maria Cardiellos, IJIS Institute’s director of operations. Participating on this panel were:

  • Erica L. Smith, Unit Chief, Law Enforcement Incident-Based Statistics Unit, Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice
  • Todd Thompson, Senior Project Director, Caliber Public Safety
  • Melissa Winesburg, Criminal Justice Practice Director, Optimum Technology

The panelists discussed the NCS-X program, the broader transition to NIBRS, the value of NIBRS data, and addressing challenges.

The last plenary in the National Symposium agenda was the Future of the CIO, a panel discussion moderated by Federal News Network’s Luck McCormack. He asked various questions of the panelists, who provided local, state, and federal perspectives:

  • Mike Bell, Chief Technology Officer, Houston Police Department
  • Richard Spires, CEO Learning Tree (former DHS CIO)
  • James Collins, Delaware CIO and President of NASCIO

After the CIO panel, the agenda shifted to the Facial Recognition Technology Summit, a special bonus feature of the Symposium to address a very timely topic.

The first summit session was The Evolution and Future of Facial Recognition Technology. The panel was moderated by Benji Hutchinson, Vice President of Federal Operations, Advanced Recognition Systems Division, NEC Corporation of America, who also spoke abut the history of the technology. Also participating on this panel were Andrew Howell from Monument Policy Group and James Loudermilk, Senior Director, Innovation and Customer Solutions, IDEMIA National Security Solutions, who provided some current use cases for the technology and some of the challenges faced.

The second summit session was Policy, Privacy, and Technology Implications in Facial Recognition Technology. The panel included:

  • Ben Bawden, Partner, Brooks Bawden Moore, LLC
  • Patrick Doyle, Global Justice & Law Enforcement Subject Matter Expert, Unisys Corporation
  • Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

The group discussed the legal and policy challenges with the use of facial recognition technology and some ideas for moving forward.

It was a great National Symposium and we welcome everyone to join us next year at the 2020 National Symposium. A special thanks goes out to our sponsors for the 2019 National Symposium, including:

  • Signature Sponsors FirstNet Built with AT&T, NEC, and Motorola Solutions
  • Media Sponsor Praetorian Digital
  • Networking Break Sponsor Tetrus
  • Registration and Mobile App Sponsor Marquis Software
  • Lanyard Sponsor 5th Column
  • Supporting Sponsor JustChain (powered by Global Justice Solutions)

We also look forward to seeing everyone at other educational events that we will be hosting this year – to learn more about these events please visit our website. 

Tags:  IJISsymposium 

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