Will Aitchison, Esq.
Public Safety Labor Group
Mr. Aitchison is a Portland, Oregon attorney who has over the course of his career represented over 100 law enforcement and firefighter labor organizations in five western states. He is a veteran of hundreds of public sector labor negotiations and a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Mr. Aitchison is also the author of several books on public sector labor matters, including The Rights of Firefighters (4th Edition) and The Rights of Law Enforcement Officers (6th Edition).
Cassidy L. Bacon, Esq.
Napier Coury Baillie, PC
Ms. Bacon is an associate attorney at the firm, representing clients in public sector employment matters. She earned her B.S., summa cum laude, in 2009 from Arizona State University and her J.D., cum laude, in 2013 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where she was a Williard H. Pedrick Scholar and an associate editor of the Arizona State Law Journal. Before joining the firm, Ms. Bacon served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Patricia K. Norris at the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Professor Larry J. Cohen
Cohen Law Firm
Professor Cohen is an adjunct professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death litigation who, in more than 24 years of practice, has focused on serious medical injury and emotional damages cases. He has been admitted to practice in Arizona since 1985. Professor Cohen speaks nationally to groups of lawyers, other professionals, insurance companies, governmental entities, risk managers and interest groups about litigation and trial practice matters, legal ethics, alternative dispute resolution, issues in brain damage, law & medicine, and law & psychology.
Vanita Gupta, Esq.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
On Oct. 15, 2014, President Obama appointed Vanita Gupta to lead the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. As the chief civil rights prosecutor for the United States, Ms. Gupta oversees a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement efforts to ensure equal justice and protect equal opportunity for all.
Under Ms. Gupta’s leadership, the division continues its critical work in a number of areas, including advancing constitutional policing and criminal justice reform; prosecuting hate crimes and human trafficking; promoting disability rights; protecting the rights of LGBTI individuals; and combating discrimination in education, housing, employment, lending and voting.
Ms. Gupta has devoted her entire career to civil rights work. Prior to joining the Justice Department, she served as Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Director of its Center for Justice. In addition to managing a robust litigation docket at the ACLU, Ms. Gupta worked with law enforcement agencies, corrections officials and stakeholders across the political spectrum to build collaborative support for policies to make our criminal justice system more effective and more just.
Previously, Ms. Gupta worked as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she successfully led the effort to overturn the wrongful drug convictions of 38 individuals in Tulia, Texas, who were ultimately pardoned by Governor Rick Perry. She then helped negotiate a $6 million settlement on behalf of her clients.
Ms. Gupta graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received her law degree from New York University School of Law, where she taught a civil rights litigation clinic for several years.
Gary O. Ingemunson, Esq.
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Los Angeles, California
Mr. Ingemunson was a Los Angeles Police Officer from 1970-1995 working in patrol, vice, narcotics and detective roles. During this time he was active as a defense representative for his fellow officers. In 1978, he passed the California State Bar and practiced law part-time. In 1995, he retired from the LAPD and became Independent Counsel for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, where he represents officers in personal matters, handles writs, appeals, Board of Rights, and functions as a roll out attorney for uses of force.
Bill Johnson, Esq.
National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO)
Mr. Johnson serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations, (NAPO) in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Johnson has served as NAPO’s Executive Director since January, 2002. He also serves as legal counsel to the Association. As NAPO’s Executive Director, Johnson is responsible for the day to day operations of the largest trade association in the United States representing active duty law enforcement officers. He also presents written and oral testimony before Congress, and frequently meets with Members of Congress as well as cabinet-level appointees in the presidential administration. Mr. Johnson is also responsible for the writing and filing of amicus curiae briefs in the Supreme Court and various appellate courts around the country. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at law enforcement and legal education seminars. Mr. Johnson holds the Certified Association Executive or “CAE” credential, awarded by the American Society of Association Executives. He is a registered federal lobbyist.
Mr. Johnson is a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor, having served with a small police department in Maine, and, after attending law school, the Miami, Florida State Attorney’s Office. He was responsible for prosecuting a wide range of felony cases and also served as the designated prosecutor for cases involving mentally ill defendants, where competency and/or sanity claims were at issue. Mr. Johnson has also served as a law clerk to an Article I federal judge; a basic civil law teacher for inmates nearing release at a men’s correctional institution; and an instructor for Miami area police academies and for new prosecutors at the State Attorney’s Office.
A native of Chicago, Mr. Johnson received his undergraduate degree in organizational behavior and management from Brown University, and his law degree from Georgetown University. He holds a postgraduate certificate in nonprofit leadership and management from Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Anil S. Karia, Esq.
Public Safety Labor Group
Mr. Karia is a lawyer with the Public Safety Labor Group in Portland, Oregon. He represents public safety labor organizations in all aspects of their labor relations, ranging from daily legal counsel, contract administration, collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, unfair labor practice litigation, and critical incident response. Mr. Karia is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.
J. Michael McGuinness, Esq.
The McGuinness Law Firm
Elizabethtown, North Carolina
Mr. McGuinness is an attorney in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, where his practice emphasizes the representation of law enforcement officers. For nearly thirty years, he has defended officers in all types of cases including before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored numerous articles on law enforcement and employment issues and has served as a labor consultant. He is a member of the Bar of the states of Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.
Michael “Mick” McHale
National Association of Police Organizations
Palm Beach, Florida
Mr. McHale serves as the National President of the National Association of Police Organizations, Inc. (NAPO). Mr. McHale is currently assigned as a Sergeant with the K9 Unit for the City of Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota, Florida. He is the President of the Southwest Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Vice President for Chapters with the State of Florida PBA. Prior to becoming President of NAPO, Mr. McHale served as Executive Vice President, Recording Secretary, Area Vice President and Sergeant at Arms. He has also served on several committees, including as Chairman of the Committee on Political Education, where he was responsible for overseeing the evaluation and endorsements of candidates for elective office across the country.
Mr. McHale began his career with Sarasota P.D. in 1990 and has served as a Patrol Officer as well as a Narcotics Detective (for 10 years), prior to being promoted 10 years ago. He also served as a Commissioner with the State of Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission for a 6 year period after being appointed as a rank and file representative by then-Governor Charlie Crist.
Michael Napier, Esq.
Napier Coury and Baillie, PC
Mr. Napier, the progenitor of the firm, was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and grew up in Riverside, California. In 1967, he graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's degree in education. He received his Juris Doctorate from ASU in 1970.
Mr. Napier is well known for his relationship with the Arizona law enforcement community and his commitment to their cause. This ongoing relationship began in 1975 when the fledgling Phoenix Law Enforcement Association retained his legal services. From that time forward, Mr. Napier has represented thousands of law enforcement officers and other public sector employees in just about every aspect of their professional and personal lives.
Mr. Napier has made a career out of standing on the front line for law enforcement, ensuring that officers are treated fairly and with respect.
Jim Palmer, Esq.
Wisconsin Professional Police Association
Mr. Palmer is responsible for the development, promotion, and operations of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA). A full-service labor organization that provides a wide variety of advocacy services to nearly 10,000 members from almost 300 local association affiliates, the WPPA is Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group. In addition to serving as the WPPA’s chief executive, he is also the organization’s spokesperson, general counsel, and chief lobbyist. Mr. Palmer serves on the governing boards for the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, and Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officers Resource Council. He is also the president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants and the chief executive officer for the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Museum of Valor.
Mr. Palmer has been a featured speaker on a wide variety of topics at events all across the country, including the Major Cities Police Conference, Police Executive Leadership Institute, NAPO’s Public Employee Pension and Benefits Seminar, and Wisconsin Public Sector Labor Relations Conference, among others. Appearing frequently in the media, Mr. Palmer has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America; CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Erin Burnett OutFront, and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer; FOX’s America’s Newsroom, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren; MSNBC’s The Ed Show; and Al-Jazeera America’s America Tonight, to name a few. His written commentaries have appeared in all of the major newspapers in Wisconsin, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Prior to joining the WPPA in 2003, Mr. Palmer worked for an Indiana law firm and primarily practiced corporate transactional law, which included incorporations, mergers and acquisitions, import law and product safety compliance, as well as specialized employment contracts. During that time, his representation included an investor-owned subsidiary of a national water utility, a regional hospital system, a minor league professional basketball team, and various units of local government. Mr. Palmer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review. Mr. Palmer is admitted to practice law before all state and federal courts in Wisconsin, and he is an active member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists.
Michael L. Rains, Esq.
Rains Lucia Stern, PC
Pleasant Hill, California
Mr. Rains is a principal and founding member of the law firm Rains Lucia Stern. He heads the firm’s Criminal Defense and Legal Defense of Peace Officers Practice Groups. Mr. Rains is a Northern California attorney specializing in criminal, civil and labor-related litigation and trial work. He has defended peace officers and government and business officials in complex state and federal criminal and employment-related civil cases. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University at Long Beach and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Golden West University School of Law. He teaches classes at numerous criminal justice academies as well as the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) approved seminars.
Joseph Sandulli, Esq.
Mr. Sandulli has been practicing labor law representing unions for over 45 years. He is the founding partner of Sandulli Grace, PC, a Boston law firm representing unions exclusively. His firm is responsible for negotiating and administering over 100 public safety contracts throughout Massachusetts, including the controversial Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association contract. He has employed a wide variety of techniques to achieve contracts, including everything from quiet diplomacy, to litigation, publicity, political action, picketing and the use of interest arbitrations.
Sean Smoot, Esq.
PB& PA of Illinois
Mr. Smoot serves as Director and Chief Legal Counsel for the Police Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois and the Police Benevolent Labor Committee. In those capacities he is responsible for the provision of legal services for over 7,500 legal defense plan participants. As the organizations’ primary legislative advocate, Mr. Smoot writes legislation, testifies before legislative bodies, and speaks often regarding police related topics such as Public Employment Labor Law, Pension & Benefits Law, Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation and Police Use of Force. He also co-authored “Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World” published in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Mr. Smoot has been the elected treasurer of the National Association of Police Organizations since 2002.
Harry Stern, Esq.
Rains Lucia Stern, PC
Pleasant Hill, California
Mr. Stern is the managing principal of Rains Lucia Stern, a statewide California law firm. Mr. Stern’s practice is focused on civil litigation and criminal defense. He has also represented college and professional athletes, candidates for elected office and other prominent people in civil and criminal actions in both federal and state court. He regularly represents peace officers in internal investigations, administrative hearings, coroner’s inquests, grand jury proceedings and related court actions.
Mr. Stern teaches classes and seminars on a broad range of topics related to police legal issues. He is often interviewed on television, the radio and in print media regarding his cases and law enforcement matters. Prior to becoming an attorney, he was a police officer with the City of Berkeley and was a member of the Berkeley Police Association’s Board of Directors. Mr. Stern graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in English Literature. He earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco while working full-time as a police officer.