National Instructors

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Gregory Hanna

Retired Captain

Captain Gregory Hanna, Jr. retired in 2020 from the Metro Transit Police Department in Washington, D.C. after 27 years of service. During his tenure with the department, he served in numerous leadership and command roles, which included leading the Honor Guard Unit, Commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, Section Commander of the K-9 Unit, Precinct Commander, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division, Watch Commander, and Commander of Internal Affairs. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the agency’s internal investigation tracking and accountability system (IAPro and Blue Team). His strategies led to a comprehensive departmentwide early warning system to proactively identify emerging issues for early intervention. In 2016, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the department’s first Summer Crime Initiative. The introduction of this program integrated weekly COMPSTAT crime strategies and the use of GIS technology to identify emerging crime patterns, crime hot spot mapping, resource allocation for crime reduction, and opportunities for community outreach events.

Ian Edwards

Certified Trainer

Ian Edwards is passionate about the health and wellness of those working to serve others.  After proudly serving as a correctional officer, training sergeant, and Assistant Commander at  Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, Ian took his skills and integrity to full-time training and consultation.  Based out of Texas now, Ian is a certified trainer for many nationally recognized organizations, including but not limited to Blue Courage, Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement, HearthMath, and now a National Instructor for Heroes.  Ian’s expertise includes resiliency training and leadership development.

Bernadette DiPino

Chief of Police

Bernadette DePino worked in law enforcement for over 35 years, starting in 1985 as a Baltimore County Police Officer. In 1988, she joined the Ocean City (MD) Police Department and worked every shift and every unit in the department, including Commanding the SWAT team. She was appointed Chief of Police in 2003. In 2012 DiPino was selected to be the Chief of Police in Sarasota, Fl. She retired in January 2021. Ms. DiPino earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Salisbury University in 1995 while working full time. She graduated from the elite FBI National Academy’s 204th session in 2001. DiPino has been a certified instructor for community policing, defensive tactics, firearms, leadership, suicide prevention, mental health, SWAT, domestic violence, and many other topics. Over her career, DiPino received 16 commendations and was named officer of the year 3 times. The agencies she led as Chief won numerous international Chief awards, including a human and civil rights award.

Virginia Barber


Dr. Virginia Barber Rioja obtained her Ph.D in clinical forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Over the past 6 years, she has served as clinical director and co-chief of mental health for NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services, which oversees mental health treatment in the NYC jail system, as well as all court ordered forensic evaluations throughout the NYC court system (fitness to proceed and pre-sentencing evaluations). She is currently the assistant chief of forensic & related mental health services for CHS. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Psychology Department of New York University where she teaches in the graduate program, and a clinical instructor at Columbia University, where she provides supervision to clinical psychology doctoral students. She has over 15 years of experience working in correctional and forensic contexts. She worked as an attending psychologist in the forensic inpatient unit of Bellevue Hospital Center, as the clinical director of several mental health courts, diversion, and reentry programs in NYC, and as a consultant for the juvenile correctional facilities in Puerto Rico.

Preeti Chauhan

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Preeti Chauhan is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). She has worked in the criminal and juvenile legal systems for over 15 years. She has also worked as a trainer with the New York City Police Department to train recruits, sergeants, Emergency Services Unit, and Hostage Negotiation teams on mental illness and interacting with emotionally-disturbed persons. Among her numerous research and evaluation grants, Dr. Chauhan was the principle investigator of a $1.9 million grant to assess the impact of New York’s 2020 criminal justice reforms. She has published more than 90 books, chapters, and peer-reviewed articles on the relationship between mental illness and various aspects of the criminal justice system. Dr. Chauhan received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed a pre-doctoral clinical internship at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Chauhan’s rare combination of practical experience, clinical skill, and outstanding scholarship make her one of America’s most important scholars and teachers of criminal justice and mental health.

Graham Goulden

Retired Officer

Graham Goulden is a retired Scottish police officer of 30 years’ service, including eight years in the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). With the VRU, he harnessed the power of the active bystander developing school-based programs to help reduce violence in Scotland. There he led the development of the Mentors In Violence Prevention (MVP) Program, a leadership program that utilizes a creative bystander approach to prevention.

Now in retirement, Graham runs his own leadership and training organization working within Universities, schools, workplaces, sports teams and in prisons. Despite being based in Scotland Graham is also one of the national trainers supporting US Law Enforcement deliver and embed the Active Bystander in Law Enforcement (ABLE) Program. A self confessed ‘Bystander Geek’ Graham believes in the power of the active bystander in reducing harm in society. He is a much sought-after speaker and trainer both nationally in the United Kingdom, as well as internationally.

Erin Nelson


Dr. Erin Nelson the Assistant Dean of Physician Communication at the Texas Christian University Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine, where she is also the Director of the Psychological and Behavioral Science curriculum and an Associate Professor of Medical Education. Dr. Nelson is also an AssociateProfessor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix in the Departments of Psychiatry and Bioethics and Medical Humanism. Dr. Nelson is a consultant to the Phoenix Police Department and was a member of the Department’s “Baseline Killer” task force. Dr. Nelson was also a member of the First Responder Traumatic Incident Support and Response Task Force for the City of Phoenix. Among her many publications, Dr. Nelson has authored articles and chapters on topics such as firesetting and the nature and structure of correctional mental health services. Dr. Nelson has worked at state and federal correctional facilities treating mentally ill offenders across security levels.

Mildred Johnson

Millie Johnson, DSL, has an extensive background in law enforcement as an officer,supervisor, instructor, and chaplain with the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. In addition to her experience in law enforcement, she has several years of experience in the field of corrections. Her credentials include more than 20 years of experience in a variety of positions in education, community development, community ministry and community outreach.

Millie is an ordained minister and serves as a worship leader and a member of the Executive Board at her church. She is a tenured professor of criminal justice at Geneva College and a part-time professor of criminal justice at Robert Morris University. Millie also serves as a national instructor with the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program with Georgetown University. In her spare time, Millie enjoys working out, traveling and spending time with her family.

Cory McGookin, Jr.

Special Agent

Supervisory Special Agent Cory McGookin, Jr. retired in 2022 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation after 20 years of service. During his law enforcement career with the FBI, he served in numerous leadership roles, which included leading the prestigious FBI National Academy program, Unit Chief over leadership instruction, Program Manager for human intelligence training, and Case Agent on several high-profile investigations. After years of being a master leadership instructor in the National Academy program, his promotion to leadership over all the instructors in the program and, eventually, being selected to lead the program, leaves him as the only FBI agent to ever serve in all three major roles.

Michael Tessean

Director of the Colorado State Board of Parole

Michael Tessean is the Director of the Colorado State Board of Parole. He previously served as Director of Leadership & Organizational Development for the Colorado Department of Human Services and Deputy Director of its Office of Behavioral Health. He has extensive experience in juvenile justice, mental health service delivery, and probation and parole. Earlier in his career, he served for 5 years as a probation officer. After nearly two decades of expertise at the intersection of behavioral health and criminal justice, he has led organizations through tumultuous times. An ardent believer in evidence-based practices, he has translated research into practice within programs and has been a driving force behind transformative cultural and organizational shifts. His commitment to bridging the gap between research and practice and changing organizational cultures makes him an excellent addition to the Heroes team.