Rededicated Center for Public Safety Innovation Announces Mission; Director Jeff Beeson Named Executive Director of Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
January 31, 2024
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
The University of Baltimore's newly renamed Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI) has formally announced its mission: "To support community safety initiatives by leveraging nationally recognized policy experts, advocates, and scholars dedicated to identifying best practices and policies to reduce violence and drug trafficking."
The center, part of UBalt's College of Public Affairs and funded exclusively through external sources, is the home of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA) program. This Congressionally mandated program, established by Congress in 1994 to serve Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and parts of West Virginia, has been housed at the University since 2017. As part of refining the CPSI mission and changing its name from the Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement, longtime center administrator Jeff Beeson has been appointed executive director of the W/B HIDTA.
CPSI's revised mission is to invest in and evaluate practices that impact and reduce violence and drug trafficking in communities. The center routinely leverages resources that are making a significant impact on major substance-related issues in communities across the country, especially the ongoing opioid epidemic. Its multi-year grant-funding effort, Combating Overdose Through Community-Level Intervention (COCLI), has distributed millions of dollars in support of innovative, locally-developed programs that are making strides in resolving these issues.
"We remain at the forefront of research and best practices designed to disrupt and dismantle drug and money laundering activities connected to an international network of law enforcement and public health professionals dedicated to saving lives," says Beeson.
Among the several goals and objectives laid out for CPSI, its top priority is to combat drug trafficking, reduce drug use, and reduce drug overdoses. The relevant objectives for this goal are:
- Support the mission and goals of the W/B HIDTA program providing necessary resources to assist the program to achieve the mission to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.
- Collaborate with public health and public safety practitioners across the nation to implement the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) as a tool to facilitate information sharing that promotes data-driven strategies.
- Collaborate with local law enforcement to offer technical solutions for better analysis and investigation, leveraging resources within the national HIDTA and other grant activities.
In sharing the announcement about CPSI's mission, College of Public Affairs Dean Roger Hartley noted the determination of the center's staff and leadership to resolve drug-related issues.
"We are delighted to continue working with Jeff Beeson and the newly envisioned Center for Public Safety Innovation," Hartley says. "As executive director of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA, and as our director, Jeff brings a strong commitment to ending substance abuse through thoughtful and community-focused means. We look forward to even more success in the years ahead."
Beeson recently was elected executive director of the W/B HIDTA by its Executive Board. He brings decades of leadership and management experience to the task, and has served as the W/B HIDTA’s first deputy director for many years.
"Jeff Beeson’s expertise and experience allow him to be ready on day one to lead the largest and most complex HIDTA in the nation," says William Ihlenfeld II, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia and chair of the W/B HIDTA Executive Board. "For the past eight years, Jeff has served with distinction as our top deputy director and chief of staff, and there is no one better to take the reins of an organization that plays such a vital role in the dismantling of drug trafficking organizations throughout the region, across the country, and around the world."
Prior to his new appointment, Beeson provided management and oversight to COCLI grant program, oversaw the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network and the W/B HIDTA's Overdose Response Strategy, and provided overall management of the ODMAP, working with treatment and prevention service providers, EMS, and public health agencies across the country. He also has more than 15 years of grant writing, management, and audit experience relating to public safety and criminal justice issues.
Beeson earned two National HIDTA Program awards from the Office of National Drug Control Policy: the 2019 Outstanding Administrator Award, and the 2018 Mary Marshall Award for Outstanding HIDTA Staff Member Award. He currently serves as the treasurer of the National HIDTA Directors Association, and is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, the Virginia Overdose Prevention Resource Committee, and the Central Virginia Overdose Working Group, among other organizations.
Prior to joining the W/B HIDTA, Beeson served as assistant vice president for applied research at Towson University, overseeing a portfolio of state and federal grants and contracts supporting workforce and public safety agencies. He also worked as the deputy assistant secretary for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Registration, and served as special assistant to the secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. He began his career as a staffer to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
Beeson earned a B.S. in political science from Towson University in 2001, and an M.S. in social science from Towson in 2011.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, The University of Baltimore School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.