Craig Schwartz, Captain, Santa Rosa Police Department

I began looking for a Master’s degree program in 2015, looking for something that would be relevant for my job now and in the future. My Chief of Police suggested applying to the CHDS program through the Naval Postgraduate School. I got my Bachelor’s Degree from the Naval Academy, so I was immediately enthusiastic. The application process was rigorous, and I was not accepted into the program until about a year after I applied. It was the best educational experience I have had since attending USNA almost 28 years ago. The faculty and staff are fantastic, as were the members of my cohort. I loved our time together during the in-residence sessions in the National Capitol Region, and miss our discussions, classes, and networking already, just a month after graduating. I gained a broader view of homeland security and my agency’s place in the enterprise. I wrote my thesis on a topic I could apply immediately at work, and I hope my thesis work will benefit other law enforcement agencies across the country as they look to implement unmanned aircraft or other controversial technologies. If you are thinking about applying to this program, do it! It will be both difficult and one of the best experiences of your life.” Craig Schwartz Captain Santa Rosa Police Department

Jay Scott Emler, Commissioner, Kansas Corporation Commission

As the chairman of the Joint Committee on Kansas Security, I thought it might be wise to have a better understanding of what the issues in homeland security actually were. I asked the Adjutant General of Kansas for recommendations. He recommended CHDS and I am glad he did. The learning I was able to absorb showed me there was truly a need at the local and state level, not just the federal level, to focus on homeland security. I spent six more years on the Joint Committee and three years as deputy homeland security advisor for the state of Kansas. I continue to use my training to work with utilities on CIKR in Kansas and across the nation. The contacts and friendships developed at CHDS are invaluable!” Jay Scott Emler Commissioner Kansas Corporation Commission

Jeff Friedland, HSEM Director, St. Clair County

I applied upon recommendation of my State Homeland Security Advisory and was very hesitant to do so based upon coming from a relatively small County. My experience was unbelievable and was a game changer in my career and how I approached my job. The opportunity to write my thesis with guidance from 2 dedicated advisors allowed me to change the direction of our program and better understand the importance of creating a whole community focusing more on resilience. I have and continue to recommend the program and all other benefits of CHDS.” Jeff Friedland HSEM Director St. Clair County

Charles Cavnor, Fire Lieutenant, Dallas Fire Rescue Department

Applying and being accepted to CHDS has positively altered my career path in several ways. Enhancing critical thinking skills benefits my organization through increased production that includes disciplined thinking through both short and long term issues. Personally, the skills learned through solo and collaborative projects have revealed a desire to interact and contribute to homeland security issues on a larger stage, beyond the scope of a local responder. Agency leaders should strongly consider supporting members to apply to the CHDS program that show a self-driven determination and a desire to engage with traditional and non-traditional partners to solve common problems.” Charles Cavnor Fire Lieutenant Dallas Fire Rescue Department

Terri March, Court Administrator, North Las Vegas Justice Court

As a Court Administrator, ensuring court safety and security is an essential component of my duties. This critical responsibility garnered judicial support and encouragement for my participation in this program, which I entered to improve my agency’s preparedness for emergencies and disasters. Beyond the broad knowledge gained in homeland defense and security, this program has improved my public speaking and writing skills. Additionally, I have gained a network of contacts representing a broad spectrum of agencies; these new relationships are resources that will be invaluable when encountering unique problems. Looking back at this experience, the single most important benefit was being challenged and forced to make evidence-based arguments and decisions. This experience has forever changed the way I form opinions.” Terri A. March Court Administrator North Las Vegas Justice Court

Jared Goff, Captain II, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department

I applied to the program for a variety of reasons, chiefly because I wanted to learn more about how the fire & rescue services can contribute more to the homeland security project. What I realized is that no matter where you come from or what you do as a profession, your contribution, no matter how small, helps move the football five yards down the field. This experience has enhanced my reading and writing ability, enabled me to recognize and appreciate my biases, and helped me realize that my colleagues are equally as passionate and willing to protect our nation. My agency has benefited from my education as well. The inclusion of appreciative inquiry has improved various policies and processes. The best part of this experience is the massive family of resources across the nation that will help you when in need.” Jared Goff Captain II Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department