Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

School of Public Affairs Celebrates 50 Years by Honoring 50 Alumni

Part I: Law Enforcement and the Military

School of Public Affairs Celebrates 50 Years by Honoring 50 Alumni

December 7, 2018

In Fall 2018, the SDSU School of Public Affairs celebrated its 50th anniversary by honoring 50 distinguished alumni. In Part I of our series, we look to SDSU Public Affairs alumni who have pursued careers in law enforcement or the military.

Kenneth Martone, PA 1972, MPA 1974

Court Administrator (Retired)

After completing his service in the U.S. Navy in 1970, Kenneth Martone studied public administration and decided on his career path in local government after an internship with the Personnel Division of the San Diego County Probation Department. He was hired by the County as an Administrative Trainee/Personnel Analyst in 1973 and progressed through the administrative ranks in the departments of the General Service and Marshal, which provided security to the courts. Kenneth’s nineteen years with the San Diego Superior Court began with his appointment as Assistant Executive Officer. In 1998, Kenneth managed the transition of the Municipal and Superior Courts, and in 1999, he was appointed as Deputy Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Since his retirement in 2009, Kenneth has volunteered with the San Diego Citizens Review Board on Police Practices and National Marine Mammal Foundation.

Norm Stamper, PhD, CJ 1974, MCJC 1976

Dr. Norm Stamper served as Chief of the Seattle Police Department from 1994-2000 and in a variety of leadership positions at the San Diego Police Department from 1966-1989 including Executive Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief of Operations, Deputy Chief of Personnel Services, and Special Advisor to the Police Chief. Dr. Stamper earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Human Behavior from Alliant International University and his doctoral dissertation, “Executive Leadership and Executive Management in Big-City Police Departments: The Professed Values vs. the Observed Behavior of American Police Chiefs” (1989), was published by the Police Executive Research Foundation. Dr. Stamper served as a lecturer for the School of Public Affairs from 1976 to 1989, and has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at UCSD and the University of Washington. Dr. Stamper has authored and is currently working on a trilogy novel on crime, cops, and politics. He was the recipient of the Donald Leiffer Alumni Award in 1998 for his excellence in public service.

Michael Poehlman, CJ 1976

Police Chief (Retired), Consultant, Instructor

Michael Poehlman began his public service career as an El Cajon Police Cadet while in high school and a San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy Cadet while attending SDSU. In 1978, Michael began his 28 year with the Oceanside Police Department (OPD) eventually being promoted to Chief of Police. Michael managed 280 employees and was instrumental in developing the county’s first School Safety Team as well as the first Truancy Center. Working with the District Attorney’s Office, Michael also instituted the first “Gang Injunctions” in the county. He retired from OPD in 2005, and spent the next five years as Reno, Nevada’s Police Chief overseeing 500 employees and a budget of over $55 million. Michael currently serves as the Executive Director of Public Safety for ARC Health and Wellness Centers, the largest provider of medical services to Public Safety in Nevada.

Joel Goodman, MCJC 1979

Prison Administrator

Joel Goodman served in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 31 years in operations, administrations and training management. Since 2008, he has been a prison consultant, with expertise in gang intelligence. While a graduate student at SDSU, Joel was introduced to Henry Lesser – a prison guard who dedicated his life to prison reform by lecturing to audiences throughout the country about America’s prison system and its treatment of prisoners, using the story of serial killer Carl Panzram as an example. Joel assisted in production of the documentary Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance, which prominently featured Lesser’s visits to SDSU. He facilitated the donation of more than 2,000 Henry Lesser/Carl Panzram original historic documents to the SDSU Library Special Collections and made significant donations to maintain the collection called Penned by an American Psychopath. Joels serves in the Aztec Mentor program and has participated in campus film screening and panel discussions about prison reform.

Jill Serrano, CJ 1987, MPA 1994

Assistant Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Jill Serrano is the Assistant Sheriff, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Jill oversees the department’s Administrative and Technology Support Division, which includes more than 2,100 employees, 7.5 million square feet of facilities and offices, and responses to over 12,000 crime scenes per year. Jill also manages contracts with 42 cities for law enforcement services, the recruitment, hiring and labor relations for the department’s 18,000 employees, and the development and monitoring of the department’s $3.3 Billion budget.. Jill previously served 28 years with the County of San Diego in various management and executive level positions, including 12 years as Chief Financial Officer of the Sheriff’s Department. Jill has served as a lecturer for the School of Public Affairs and is a member of the School of Public Affairs Task Force. Jill is a past recipient of the Public Administration Lecturer of the Year Award and the Donald B Leiffer Outstanding Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Colin Stowell, PA, 1994

Fire Chief, City of San Diego

Colin Stowell began his career with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) in 1988 and climbed the ranks to Assistant Chief in 2015. As one of two assistant fire chiefs with SDFD, he oversaw the emergency operations division, which includes 48 fire stations, lifeguard services, the training division, emergency medical services, and special operations comprising hazardous materials, air operations, the bomb squad, and fire investigations. In 2016, Colin was appointed Fire Chief for Heartland Fire & Rescue, a Joint Powers Authority with the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon. He was responsible for four operating budgets, capital improvement projects and handled contract negotiations and oversight and was accountable to three city managers and city councils. In August 2018, he was appointed by the City of San Diego’s Mayor and Council to serve as the City’s 18th Fire Chief.

Cupcake Brown, CJ, 1998

Attorney, Author, Motivational Speaker

Cupcake Brown is the author of the New York Times bestselling Memoir: “A Piece of Cake.” As an author, attorney, and advocate, Cupcake has spoken all over the country and Europe, using all of the years of negative experiences, coupled with the positives, to share with others how — even though it seems impossible — the hopes and dreams of anyone really can come true. Ms. Brown has received many awards including, the University Of San Francisco School Of Law’s Judge Harold J. Haley Award for Exceptional Distinction in Scholarship, Character and Activities; San Diego State University’s Donald Leiffer Outstanding Alumni Award for Distinguished Service; Suze Orman’s Books for a Better Life Award; and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. She has also been featured in numerous print media, including The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Diego-Union Tribune, and Florida’s Palm Beach Post. In addition, many magazines have featured her in articles including Glamour, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Lawyer, California Lawyer, Ebony, Essence and Jet. And Oprah’s “O” magazine profiled her as a phenomenal woman. Cupcake has also appeared on NBC’s, CBS’, and Fox’s local television news stations; has been featured on CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” Montel Williams, CNN, Tavis Smiley, and the Early Show; and has made guest appearances on the Tyra Banks Show, Iyanla Vanzant talk show and Court TV’s Catherine Crier Live. Cupcake is also a former lecturer at San Diego State University where she taught classes on youth and gangs. She is currently working on a sequel to her memoir.

The Honorable Dana Makoto Sabraw, CJ 1980

Judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

After graduating from law school in 1985, Dana Sabraw spent ten years in private practice representing clients in commercial litigation in state trial and appellate courts, and in matters concerning securities, class action defense, and environmental issues. In 1995, Judge Sabraw was appointed to North County Municipal Court and was the Presiding Judge until his appointment to the Superior Court in 1998, where he also served as Criminal Supervising Judge. Judge Sabraw was nominated to the US District Court by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate in 2003. Judge Sabraw recently received national attention for presiding over the lawsuit brought by ACLU against President Donald Trump’s administration over the separation of migrant families during a zero-tolerance border crackdown. After calling the separations “brutal and offensive,” he ordered the federal government to stop separating families and to reunite the 2,500 children who had been separated.

Pascual Benitez, CJ 2001

Chief Investigator, Alternate Public Defender, County of San Diego

Pascual Benitez started as an intern with the County of San Diego Office of the Alternate Public Defender, and graduated Magna Cum Laude 200. He was hired as a Public Defender Investigator assigned to homicides, violent crimes, fraud and juvenile delinquency and dependency. For the next 17 years, he promoted through the department until his appointment as Chief Investigator in 2016. Since 2010, Pascual has managed the internship program for all the Public Defender Offices and has facilitated placement for over 150 SDSU criminal justice majors. Pascual has served on the Executive Board of the Defense Investigators Association (DIA) for over 12 years and has held various positions including President. He teaches courses on interviewing skills for the DIA’s Defense Investigator Training Academy. He remains active in his alma mater by making presentations to students at the Criminal Justice Internship Orientations, Criminal Justice Student Association, and groups associated with the Innocence Project.

Ruben Medina, CJ 2006, MPA 2015

Sergeant, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

Ruben Medina began the 69th Regional Academy after graduating in 2006. Since then, Ruben has worked at the San Diego Central Jail, Santee Sheriff’s Station, Community Oriented Policing unit, and the Sheriff’s Analysis Driven Law Enforcement (S.A.D.L.E.) team. Ruben was appointed to the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division in 2013 where he specialized in gang related investigations including assaults, homicides, extortion, narcotics trafficking, firearms trafficking and human trafficking. In 2014, Ruben co-led a two-year investigation involving more than 100 girls and young women manipulated into human trafficking. The investigation resulted in 15 arrests in California, Arizona and Texas. He led a three-year investigation which revealed that Mexican Mafia members on death row were using smuggled cell phones to extort victims, sell drugs and collect money on behalf of incarcerated gang members. Ruben was named Deputy of the Year by Kiwanis in 2009, received five Sheriff’s Meritorious Unit Citations and was awarded the 2018 Crime Stoppers Award for Excellence.

Kenneth Martone, PA 1972, MPA 1974

Court Administrator (Retired)

After completing his service in the U.S. Navy in 1970, Kenneth Martone studied public administration and decided on his career path in local government after an internship with the Personnel Division of the San Diego County Probation Department. He was hired by the County as an Administrative Trainee/Personnel Analyst in 1973 and progressed through the administrative ranks in the departments of the General Service and Marshal, which provided security to the courts. Kenneth’s nineteen years with the San Diego Superior Court began with his appointment as Assistant Executive Officer. In 1998, Kenneth managed the transition of the Municipal and Superior Courts, and in 1999, he was appointed as Deputy Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Since his retirement in 2009, Kenneth has volunteered with the San Diego Citizens Review Board on Police Practices and National Marine Mammal Foundation.

Dennis Kenneally, MPA ___

Major General (Ret’d)

Major General Dennis M. Kenneally began his military career by enlisting a month after his 17th birthday. He progressed through the ranks and retired in 2006. A combat veteran, Dennis served in Vietnam as a gunship pilot, as well as during the cold war and the global war on terrorism. Dennis served in two presidential administrations as the Associate Administrator of the Veterans Administration and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Reserve Affairs. Dennis is the recipient of many awards and honors including the District of Columbia’s Distinguished Service Medal. For his diplomatic work on behalf of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he was honored as a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and his excellence in intelligence functions was recognized with the Knowlton Award, and the Medallion for Meritorious Service from the Air Force Intelligence Reserve.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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