2022 conference speakers
GUNS, GANGS, AND THE GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE: tHE NEW REALITY
Foreign Service National Investigator
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF)
Scott Ferguson is the new Foreign Service National Investigator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). He is a recently retired Detective from the Toronto Police Service and was most recently attached to Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario (CISO) where he was the Provincial Coordinator for the Firearms Analysis & Tracing Enforcement (FATE) program for over 11 years. The FATE team is responsible to ensure every Crime-Gun seized by police in this province is analysed and traced to its source and to provide operational intelligence to the appropriate firearms investigator.
Bureau of Counter Terrorism and Special Operations
Crime Prevention Information Center (CPIC)
Chicago Police Department
Aaron Cunningham is a 24-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department assigned to CPIC Fusion Center, Bureau of Counter Terrorism & Special Operations. He is a highly decorated officer with extensive gang experience and past assignments to PSN Task Force, Area Gun Team, Tactical Teams, and Intelligence. Aaron has past dedication to Counterterrorism training events in South Korea. He has collaborated since 2015 with El Salvador’s Policia National Civil (PNC) and International Tactical Training Association (ITTA) officer survival training project.
Vancouver Police Department
Raj has worked within the criminal justice system for over 14 years in a frontline and investigative capacity as a Municipal Police Officer in BC. Raj has extensive experience in gang enforcement, intervention and suppression. Raj has focused considerable time on intelligence gathering and human assets across BC; in 2014, he was recognized for his work with a departmental commendation for developing strategies to curb gang violence in his region. In 2021, he was recognized for his superior accomplishments in gang investigations by the National Gang Crime Research Center in Chicago, Illinois with the Frederick Milton Thrasher Award.
Innovation Lead, Analytics Unit
Toronto Police Service
Leveraging his experience as a uniformed member and undercover drug squad officer, now in his 20th year of policing, Shaun has focused the past 5 years of his career designing and managing the development of a suite of proactive policing tools, providing front line and investigative officers with real-time situational awareness. As the Innovation Lead within Toronto Police’s Analytics Unit, Shaun is changing the culture of policing through the motto of Cops designing for Cops.
El Paso Texas Police Department
Lawrence Lujan is an active field lieutenant with over 32 years of service to the El Paso Texas Police Department. He is alsoa graduate of the FBI National Academy session - 274. He has operational experience in Gang Investigation and Enforcement with a nexus in special team tactics and techniques ( SWAT, active shooter response, mobile field force, mountain rescue and anti-burglary teams). His experience and background extend to leadership development, firearms instruction, operational tactics publication of articles and international training (El Salvador and Korea). He as served as vice president and editor in chief International Tactical Training Association. He is also a military veteran with deployments to Colombia and Honduras, and Canada.
Assistant Crown Attorney
Ministry of the Attorney General: Guns and Gangs Unit
Erin received their law degree from Queens University. In 2001 Erin spent a year at 361 University clerking for the Judges at the Superior Court of Justice. After being called to the bar 2002, Erin began their career as an Assistant Crown attorney. After working in Etobicoke for a few months, Erin joined Downtown Crown Attorney’s Office in 2003. While at the Downtown office, Erin prosecuted a wide variety of cases while appearing in all of the downtown courthouses. In January of 2009, Erin joined the Guns and Gangs Initiative, a branch of the Crown Attorney's office that focuses on guns, organized crime and drug offences, and has been at that office ever since. During my time with the Guns and Gangs office, Erin has prosecuted a variety of cases from large and small wiretap prosecutions to domestic gun trafficking and dark web prosecutions, firearm importation cases, shootings, murder and kidnappings.
Ministry of Solicitor General – Toronto East Detention Centre
John commenced his career with the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services as a Correctional Officer at the Toronto East Detention Centre in 1995. John has experience in the following positions: Probation and Parole Officer, Staff Services Manager, Scheduling Manager, (A) Deputy Superintendent Operations and have been the Security Manager at the Toronto East Detention Centre for the past 18 years. John was involved in the early stages of the gang management model at the TEDC in 2004 and have overseen the management of the “Security Threat Group” (STG) inmates since that time. John has worked at 2 different institutions: Toronto West Detention Centre and the Toronto East Detention Centre and completed a developmental opportunity as a Probation Officer at Don Mills Probation and Parole.
Ontario Provincial Police - Biker Enforcement Unit
Tyler started with the OPP in 2010 and was posted to Goderich Detachment. He worked in the Drug Enforcement Unit from 2013 – 2016. He then started with Biker Enforcement Unit in London of 2016. Shortly after, he was promoted to D/Sgt in Biker Enforcement Unit in Waterloo in 2021, before he was seconded as the Program Coordinator for West Region Criminal Operations from May to November 2022. Recently, he has returned as the D/Sgt with BEU in Waterloo.
Assistant Crown Attorney
Ministry of the Attorney General, East Region Guns and Gangs Team
Matthew Geigen-Miller was the embedded advisory Crown for Project Calibre. He has worked as an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s Office since his call to the bar in 2010. Since April 2020 he has been seconded to the East Region Guns and Gangs Team. This team comprises four Assistant Crown Attorneys who are embedded with the Ottawa Police Service Guns and Gangs Section. The team conducts bail hearings and trials for serious firearms offences and provides advice to police in the East Region on topics such as firearms offences, projects, and search and seizure issues.
Ottawa Police Service, Guns and Gangs Section
Scott Pearce is an investigator assigned to the Ottawa Police Service Guns and Gangs Section. Det. Pearce has worked for Ottawa Police since he was sworn-in as a police officer in 2002. He worked as an investigator in general investigations and auto theft before joining the Guns and Gangs Section in 2017. Det. Pearce was the lead investigator for Project Calibre.
dr. Keiron McConnell
Simon Fraser University & Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dr McConnell worked in Gang Enforcement with the VPD for 15 years, starting with the Firearms Interdiction Team, the Violence Suppression Team, Integrated Gang Task Force, and finally in the VPD Gang Crime Unit. Moreover, he completed his doctorate degree in 2016, where his research has taken him to field observations in Mexico, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He has published in the Journal of Gang Research and the Journal of Police. He is a co-editor for the Journal of Gang Research at the National Gang Crime Research Centre in Chicago. Keiron was awarded the Frederick Thrasher award for excellence in gang scholarship in 2014.Keiron is the Co-Author of Gangs and You which takes a community holistic approach to gang violence.
Ministry of the Attorney General - Criminal Law Division, Guns & Gangs Office
Michael MacDonald has practiced criminal law since his call to the bar in 1987, first as a defence lawyer and then, for the past sixteen years, as an Assistant Crown Attorney with the Guns & Gangs Office in Toronto, working on criminal organization prosecutions and firearm possession cases. He deferred his planned retirement three years waiting for this murder trial, which was delayed and rescheduled three times until the case was finally completed last month. He will soon be enjoying his retirement and staying busy with his wife Nadira, children and many grandchildren, and his Masonic fraternity, which he serves as Chairman of Discipline for Ontario.
Detective Sergeant, Toronto Police Service - Homicide
Leslie has been a member of Toronto Police Service for the last 34 yrs . He was assigned to TPS Homicide for the last 11 ½ years. He has been either the lead investigator or primary investigator in close to 100 homicides in the City of Toronto. He just recently last month (October) was reassigned and is now the Executive Officer to Staff Superintendent in charge of Community Safety Command-Field Services. He has a wealth of experience in different areas of policing which include, Criminal investigation Units, undercover operations, talent acquisition and uniform Priority Response and, Community Response Unit.
Ontario Corrections Intelligence Unit
Quincy has a Masters of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration and began his career in corrections 18 years ago at the Toronto (Don) Jail. While at the Don, Quincy was a member of the Institutional Crisis Intervention Team, Crisis Negotiator and Training Officer. In 2014, he transitioned to the Toronto South Detention Centre where he was a member of the Institutional Security Team, before transferring to the Toronto East Detention Centre in 2016 as a Sergeant. In 2018, Quincy accepted a secondment with Correctional Services Oversight and Investigations unit as an Inspector until 2020, when he became a Field Intelligence Officer (FIO) with the Ontario Corrections Intelligence Unit (OCIU). In addition to his duties as an FIO, Quincy is a member of OCIU’s Coordination Team, where he is responsible for coordinating request for information; disseminating intelligence products; attending meetings; and participating in working groups with internal/external partners.
Sergeant, Toronto Police Service
Toronto Police Sergeant Sophia Abbasi has over 10 years of covert experience, spearheading dozens of major cases such as Homicide, Firearms Trafficking, National Security, Human Trafficking and Drug Trafficking. She has extensive knowledge with respect to covert operations and has been successfully deployed in the capacity of an undercover operator and undercover handler.
Detective Sergeant, Toronto Police Service
Detective Sergeant Peter Wehby is currently responsible for the Toronto Police Organized Crime Investigative Support Team, mandated to assist with imminent public safety investigations while sharing criminal intelligence with police partner agencies as it relates to organized criminal enterprises. During the course of his duties, he has been involved in major projects within Canada and the USA having extensive knowledge on the inner workings of covert deployments and Intelligence led projects. t experience, spearheading dozens of major cases such as Homicide, Firearms Trafficking, National Security, Human Trafficking and Drug Trafficking. She has extensive knowledge with respect to covert operations and has been successfully deployed in the capacity of an undercover operator and undercover handler.
Detective, Toronto Police Service
Detective Alex Ionta of the Toronto Police Service is currently assigned to the Organized Crime Enforcement- Organized Crime Investigative Support team, where his duties include leading investigations into large scale organized crime, murder-for- hire, and kidnapping investigations. He has extensive experience in property related crime, the usage of technical covert police techniques, including instructing in Part IV interceptions training. Alex has worked in Special Investigation Service, Organized Crime Enforcement, Holdup Squad, and Intelligence.
Ministry of Solicitor General – Toronto East Detention Centre
Lara has 20 years in Corrections. As a Correctional Officer, Lara was a Defensive Tactics Instructor as well as part of the Institutional Crisis Intervention Team. Lara became a Sergeant in 2018 where she took on roles as Segregation Sergeant, Shift IC, Acting Staff Sergeant and finally in Security and as the leader and creator of our Institutional Security Team. Recently, Lara accepted an acting role of Deputy Superintendent of Security and Compliance.
D/S/Sgt., Ontario Provincial Police
D/S/Sgt Rob Johnston has been with the OPP for the past twenty-five years where he spent the majority of his career in the Drug Enforcement Section and Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau. Provincially he is a recognized Asian Organized Crime specialist and recently become the Operations Manager for the Provincial Guns and Gangs Enforcement Team. This unit is a province wide OPP-led joint forces operation that comprises of twenty-three police services including the Surete du Quebec and the RCMP.