Meet Our Instructors

Robert L. Thornton

Director

Robert L. (Bob) Thornton, M.Ed., is Director of Community Corrections Institute, LLC, a company dedicated to providing training and consultation specifically designed for corrections and law enforcement agencies. Previously, he served as a Pretrial, Probation, and Supervising U.S. Probation Officer for over 27 years, during which he served as a faculty member of the Federal Judicial Center and has developed, and continues to provide training in, enhanced supervision, officer safety skills, dealing with aggressive behavior, effective communication skills, and management skills. He also conducts training for the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA). He co-authored the National Institute of Corrections monograph, New Approaches to Staff Safety, and authored New Approaches to Safe Safety-Second Edition. He also authored the publication Guns, Safety and Proactive Supervision: Involving Probation and Parole in Project Safe Neighborhoods, co-author the 2014 publication Gang Courts: An Innovative Strategy for Gang-involved Offenders, and was contributing author for the APPA publication Practical Action Tips on Officer Safety for Tribal Probation Personnel. He writes the "Spotlight on Safety" column for the APPA "Perspectives" magazine and has published numerous other articles on officer and staff safety. Bob also served as a subject matter expert for the National Institute of Justice "Incident Commander" simulation training website, the APPA On-Line Safety Training and Supervisor Training Programs, and the APPA Audio Broadcast Safety Training and Firearm Interdiction Programs.

Bob also conducts agency audits for NIC and has provided expert witness testimony on issues relating to officer safety and supervision practices. He is a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, Federal Probation & Pretrial Officers Association, American Corrections Association and the American Probation and Parole Association, and served as Chair of the associations Health and Safety Committee for from 2001-2011. He was the 1990 recipient of the Line Officer of the Year Award for the Western Region of the United States and the 1998 recipient of the Doyle Award, presented by FPPOA in recognition of his contributions to effective offender supervision issues. He was also the 2002 recipient of the Sam Houston State University Award presented by APPA "...in recognition of his outstanding contributions to scholarship in Community Corrections", the 2007 Sam Houston State University Distinguished Service Award for "exceptional service and commitment to the Texas Probation Training Academy", and the 2009 recipient of the George M. Keiser Award presented by the National Association of Probation Executives. "This award is presented to administrators who have demonstrated exceptional leadership under challenging conditions which provided value, added activity or service to the organization of community they serve."

Ronald G. Schweer

Dir. Management Training & Organizational Development

Ronald G. Schweer is CCI's Director of Management Training and Organizational Development. He recently retired as Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the District of Kansas. Prior to becoming the Chief in Kansas, he was the Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer in the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis Division - between 2000 and 2008. Prior to this promotion in 2000, Ron was a Supervising U.S. Probation Officer for the District of Kansas. He has served in a number of positions during his federal career, including administration of a field supervision unit, District Training Coordinator, Search and Surveillance Team member, Contract Specialist for drug aftercare and mental health treatment services, Home Confinement Coordinator, Firearms Instructor, OC Spray Instructor, Chairman of the Staff Safety Committee, and WITSEC (Witness Protection) Officer. Ron has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Washburn University and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. He has also completed the Federal Judicial Center's (FJC) Leadership Development and Foundations of Management programs. Ron has also served as faculty to the FJC in the Executive Team Leadership, New Supervisors, Circuit Supervisors, New Officer Orientation, and two separate Officer Safety Training Programs.

Ron has over 38 years of experience in criminal justice, corrections and law enforcement. He served in the federal system from 1990 to 2015 and previously held the position of Court Services Specialist in charge of juvenile and adult probation programs for the Kansas Supreme Court - Office of Judicial Administration. Ron was also a Chief Court Services Officer for the Seventh Judicial District in Kansas and commenced his Court Services career in the Third Judicial District in 1981. Ron entered the field of criminal justice as a Deputy Sheriff for the Miami County Sheriff's Department, Paola, Kansas in 1977.

In 1993, Ron was selected as a Safety Trainer for the FJC and has presented safety programs to numerous districts throughout the United States and U.S. Territories. He also served as a Consultant to the FJC in the Applied Officer Safety Program. Between 1997 and 2002 the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) sponsored a Safety Academy (Train-the-Trainer) Program and Ron served as a Consultant and Faculty Member to the program. As a result of this participation, Ron has been involved in the training of safety trainers from virtually every state in the nation, including the territories Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. He is also a safety consultant for the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and has provided safety training through his affiliation with the Community Corrections Institute and the Sam Houston State University Project Spotlight Program. Ron was also a past member of the National Chiefs Advisory Group (CAG), Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC), Surveillance Team, and the Search Enforcement Team (SET). He was also the Co-Chair of the Safety and Information Reporting System (SIRS) Working Group at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts - Office of Probation and Pretrial Services from 2004 to 2009. Ron was a contributing author in the National Institute of Corrections monographs titled Staff Safety: New Approaches to Staff Safety, Second Edition (2003) and Guns, Safety and Proactive Supervision: Involving Probation and Parole in Project Safe Neighborhoods (2008). Ron is currently the Vice President of the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE) and a member of the Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN). He is also Chair of the APPA Health and Safety Committee.

Ron was the recipient of the Sam Houston State University Award in recognition of his accomplishment as the Outstanding Probation Executive for 2012, as presented by the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE) and the Sam Houston State University George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center. In August 2014, Ron was also recognized by the American Probation and Parole Association when he received the Walter Dunbar Award, the oldest and most prestigious award presented annually by the Association. In November 2014, he was recognized as an Alumni Fellow at Washburn University in Topeka. He was also recognized by the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association (FPPOA) in July 2015 by receiving the President's Award for Significant Achievement. Ron is also a past recipient of the Paul Weber Award presented by the Kansas Correctional Association (KCA) and the Outstanding Young Topekan Award presented by the Topeka Jaycees.

Ron Scheidt

Lead Natural Response Control Tactics Instructor

Ron Scheidt is Lead Natural Response Control Tactics Instructor with Community Corrections Institute and a retired Senior United States Probation Officer with the District of Nebraska. As a Sr. USPO he served as the agency's Training Specialist, Program Development Coordinator, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Tactical Response Team Leader and Firearms Instructor. In addition, Ron supervised a caseload of high-risk federal offenders and gang members.

Ron holds a black belt in the Korean martial art of Hapkido and has also trained in the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga. He is a graduate of the Clark International Executive Protection Course, is a certified NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and a certified instructor in Defensive Tactics, Pressure Point Control Tactics, Natural Response Control Tactics, OC Spray and Concealed Carry. He is a graduate of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Department S.W.A.T. School. Ron was the Director of the District of Nebraska Officer Safety Academy. He has served as a faculty member of the Federal Judicial Center and as a National Defensive Tactics Instructor for the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services. He has trained and consulted for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Federal Judicial Center, American Probation and Parole Association and Federal Probation and Parole Officers Association.

Ron is a Charter member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and is a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association, American Probation and Parole Officers Association and Midwest Gang Investigators Association.

Ron is a sought after guest presenter and instructor on multiple topics at conferences and academies throughout the United States and Canada. He has trained probation and parole officers from all 50 states. Ron was a guest presenter at the 2011 Legacy of Excellence Conference in Calgary, Alberta on the topic Am I That Man?- a motivational presentation on heroes, mentors and role models. Ron's article entitled Am I That Man? appears in the book If I Knew Then 2 and has served as the inspirational theme and the title for the book Am I That Man.

Christopher Grant

National Native American Gang Specialist

Christopher M. Grant is the former Chief of Detectives of the Rapid City (SD) Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division and the former commander of the Rapid City Area Gang Task Force. He retired from active law enforcement in 2004 after serving his community for 27 years. Mr. Grant is a graduate of the University of South Dakota (USD) with a Master's Degree in Political Science and a graduate of the 181st session of the FBI National Academy.

Mr. Grant is a nationally recognized authority on Native American street gang and prison gang issues and trends. He has worked with law enforcement officials, educators and community leaders in over 65 tribal communities, providing community gang and drug threat assessments and training programs to assist in recognizing, understanding and addressing gang activity in Indian Country. Mr. Grant also frequently speaks at regional and national law enforcement conferences and seminars regarding the Indian Country gang issue.

Aside from working directly with tribal entities, Mr. Grant has also provided consulting and training services for:

The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC)
The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention (OJJDP)
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP)
The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ)
The U.S. Marshals Service (USM)
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
The Multi-Jurisdictional Counter-Drug Task Force (MCTFT)
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)
The Indian Health Service (IHS)
Numerous other public and private entities and organizations

Mr. Grant maintains his law enforcement certification as a Reserve Special Agent for the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

Phil Messer

Director of Federal Programs

Phil Messer recently retired as the Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the District of Kansas. Prior to this position, Phil served as the Firearms Section Chief for the U.S. Courts National Training Academy located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Phil is a certified firearms instructor and has served as both a National Firearms Instructor and a National Defensive Tactics Instructor for the Probation and Pretrial Services Office. He has extensive experience as a trainer in the classroom, on the range, and in the mat room.

Phil has been involved in corrections for over 30 years and started his career as a probation officer in Kansas. He holds a BS degree from Kansas State University and Manhattan Christian College and is a 1999 graduate of the Federal Judicial Center Leadership Development Program. He has been employed by the Federal Probation and Pretrial system for over 25 years and has worked in Las Vegas, NV; Reno, NV; Charleston, SC; and Wichita, KS. Phil has served in the capacity of Senior Probation Officer, Witness Security Officer, Probation Officer Administrator, Supervising Probation Administrator, Section Chief for the Firearms Training Division of the National Training Academy, and most recently as Deputy Chief Probation Officer for the District of Kansas.

During Phil's career, devotion and dedication to officer safety and training remained constant. Phil served as a firearms instructor for over 23 years and trained hundreds of officers. He has been extensively involved in the development of safety training curriculum and the production of training videos. He is an experienced instructor in use of force, firearms, defensive tactics, non-lethal ammunition training, scenario-based training, handcuffing, and OC spray. Phil earned the certification of "Expert" from the FLETC Firearms Division and received the "Leadership Award" from the Probation and Pretrial Services Office Firearms Instructor Program. In addition, Phil served as a consultant to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court's original Search and Seizure Working Group that ushered search and seizure into the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services system.

In recent years, Phil has expanded his interests and experience to include evidence-based management and evidence-based organization development. He was part of the management team that lead the U.S. Probation Office for the District of Kansas in making the transition to an evidence-based organization. Phil has extensive experience in accessing, evaluating and leveraging data to help organizations make better decisions regarding work flow and use of resources. He is considered an expert in the operation and utilization of the Probation and Pretrial Services system data base "Decision Support System" (DSS). Phil has provided training on how to effectively access and utilize the DSS system through numerous national conferences and to over 40 U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services offices across the nation. In 2015, Phil was recognized by the National Association of Probation Executives as the Probation Executive of the Year. In 2016, Phil was recognized by the Director of the Administrative Office by receiving the Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership. Phil is a recognized leader in community corrections, evidence-based practices, and organization development.

Jeff Sanderson

Assistant Director of Federal Programs

Jeff has 34 years of experience in law enforcement, having served as a police officer, corrections officer, state probation/parole officer and for 22 years in various capacities in the federal probation system. He has performed both probation/pretrial investigations and supervision.

In 1997, he became a firearms instructor and later a defensive tactics instructor in his home district. In the early 2000's, he was selected to serve as a national firearms instructor and in 2005 he was selected to help open the first ever national training academy for U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers. There he taught most every subject offered at that academy, located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), in Charleston, SC.

Jeff served there in the role as an administrator until 2009 when he was promoted to Supervisory Administrator, overseeing the firearms program at the academy and for the 6000+ officer national system. In this capacity, he helped establish policy, oversee national contracts and conduct program oversight, occasionally being called out to districts to review local policy, practice and incidents. Jeff also served on numerous district program review teams, having been team leader on several.

In 2013, Jeff returned to the field as a Deputy Chief for the Eastern District of Tennessee. This included the day to day operations of probation/pretrial management, budget, procurement and human resources. Due to district need and taking advantage of Jeff's experience as an instructor, he became certified to teach Real Colors and became a certified coach and instructor of Gallup's Strength Based Leadership and Strengths Finder. He also has developed a leadership training specifically focused on the complexities of the mid-level supervisor role.

Fran Davis

Instructor-Cultural Diversity and Special Offender Supervision

Fran is a retired Senior United States Probation Officer with the Western District of Washington. As a Senior USPO she served as the agency's drug and alcohol treatment specialist, intern program coordinator, search team member, Moral Reconation Therapy lead, guardian ad litem, Bureau of Prisons and Residential Reentry Center Liaison, and agency guest speaker at educational institutions and career fairs. Fran also developed various programs to assist female offenders and address their unique criminal justice issues.

During a career that spanning three decades, Ms. Davis supervised over 1700 federal offenders. Her caseload included offenders ranging from international drug traffickers to misdemeanants arrested on U.S. military installations. She is highly experienced in both community and institutional corrections - having served as both a federal and state correctional officer.

Ms. Davis began her career as one of the first female corrections officers supervising inmates at Washington State's McNeil Island Prison. She then worked as an Inmate Transport Officer for the City of Kent (WA) Correctional Facility. From Kent, Ms. Davis transitioned to the King County District Court where she served as a Probation Counselor. While working at King County, Ms. Davis was recruited by the United States Probation Office for the Western District of Washington where she served as a federal officer for 25 years.

She was the 1998 recipient of the line Officer of the Year Award for the Western Region of the United States, presented by the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association in recognition of her contributions to effective offender supervision issues. She was also the Pierce County Washington Volunteer of the Year in 2002, recognizing her service as Chair of the Chemical Dependency Board of Directors for a number of years.

Fran served as a Criminal Justice Adjunct professor at Centralia College in Washington State. She also served on the school's Criminal Justice Board of Directors establishing curriculum for Associate Degrees with matriculation to four-year institutions.