The Board of Directors for Building Hope Today is made up of a diverse group of people from across the nation.
Lorie Brisbin is a Correctional Program Specialist in the Community Services Division of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). She has been recognized as an authority in the area of sexual violence in correctional settings and has expertise in both offender and victim perspectives. Lorie is currently managing the LGBTI Offender Project and the Post-Conviction Victim Service Providers Initiative at NIC along with other programs and projects. She is committed to identifying and providing the best resources possible to underserved areas of corrections.
In 2012, Lorie received a Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. Attorney General for her participation on the PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) Standards Working Group. Her contributions to the working group continue as agencies across the country seek to conform to the PREA Standards.
Prior to coming to NIC in 2010, she was employed by the Idaho Department of Correction for ten years, serving as a probation/parole officer, statewide Parole Coordinator, Transitions Coordinator, PREA Program Coordinator and as an investigator in the Office of Professional Standards (internal affairs).
Patrick B. McKenna resides in Idaho Falls, Idaho where he serves the Idaho Falls Police Department as Detective. With 27 years experience, Detective McKenna spent 18 years with three K-9 teams that were trained in explosive detection and apprehension. He became a trainer certified in Huntsville, Alabama through the School of German Police Dogs Training. He continues to serve in this capacity as a state evaluator and master trainer for new K-9 officers. He has 9.5 years as a member of the SWAT team and serves the department as a lead on-scene negotiator.
For the last 9 years Patrick has served in Investigation as a detective specializing in crimes against people, with an emphasis in crimes against children, crime scene analysis, and homicide. Additionally, he is a certified blood spatter analyst. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the area of forensic interviewing through his work with Help, Inc. and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Idaho Falls. In this area, Detective McKenna has investigated and documented hundreds of major crime scenes as well as leading investigation of cold case homicides.
Through his work and experience Detective McKenna has been the recipient of several awards and recognition of excellence in his field including Captain’s Commendation, Police Chief’s Commendation, and 2014 Police Officer of the year. He continues to serve his community with active participation in children’s education events, service in fund-raising efforts for Help, Inc., Exchange Club of Idaho, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center all of which advocate for victims of abuse. He also is an active member of the Police Honor Guard.
Elizabeth Bigham is a Special Agent (S/A) with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and has been so employed since March of 2007. Prior to becoming a Special Agent, S/A BIGHAM was employed by the GBI as the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Coordinator for the State of Georgia. S/A BIGHAM’s responsibilities were to train local law enforcement across the state of Georgia in how to deal with those that suffer from mental illness. After becoming a Special Agent, S/A BIGHAM was assigned to the Atlanta Regional Office as well as the Athens Regional Office. While assigned to those offices, S/A BIGHAM worked various criminal cases to include homicide, armed robbery, child abuse/molestation, theft, aggravated assault, and rape.
In July of 2013, S/A BIGHAM transferred to the Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC) where she currently conducts proactive and reactive investigations involving crimes against children on the Internet. These types of investigations include possession/distribution/manufacturing of child pornography, solicitation of minors via the Internet, and the commercial sex trafficking of minors.
S/A BIGHAM is a certified CelleBrite examiner and frequently conducts forensic exams and has done so on more than two hundred (200) cell phones for various types of criminal investigations. In 2015, S/A BIGHAM became certified in En Case, level 1. S/A BIGHAM completed Child Sex Trafficking: Law Enforcement Response and Special Investigative Techniques in Child Abduction Cases. S/A BIGHAM also completed Cold Case Homicide Investigations (taught by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service), Advanced Techniques for Unresolved Death Investigations, and Homicide Investigations (taught by the Institute of Police Technology and Management).
Lydia Newlin is the Minnesota Department of Corrections Victim Services and Restorative Justice Program Manager. In her work with the Department of Corrections, she oversees all processes associated with victim notification and post conviction victim advocacy. In that capacity, she works with homicide survivors as they prepare to testify at Life Sentence Parole Hearings, victims who are victimized while on duty as correctional staff, and offenders who are victimized while incarcerated.
Lydia also oversees all of the DOC Restorative Justice programming and processes including offender programming, the Victim Apology Letter process and the Victim Offender Dialogue Program. Additionally, Lydia is responsible for the managing the Minnesota Circles of Support and Accountability programs which serve sex offenders, veterans and offenders returning to the community after parole from life sentences. Most recently, she developed a Domestic Violence Initiative unit which responds to screening offenders upon intake, identifying victims and ensuring victim wrap around processes are available for high risk cases.
Lydia oversees the victim input component of the End of Confinement Review Committees which are responsible for assigning risk levels to sex offenders at the time of their release to the community. She works as a liaison to the Minnesota Department of Corrections and legislature on matters relating to post conviction victim issues. She provides victim rights, victim impact and victim sensitivity training to criminal justice professionals statewide. Prior to working for the Department of Corrections, she worked for the Training Unit of the Minnesota Center for Crime Victim Services, Department of Public Safety and served as the Deputy Ombudsman for Crime Victims and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She has served on board of the statewide Sex Crimes Investigator’s Association and board chair of the National Association of Victim Service Professionals and currently serves as the chair of the American Corrections Association Victim’s Committee. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of St. Thomas in 1994 with a major in Criminal Justice and her M.A from Metropolitan University in Public Administration.
Danny Clark is Prosecuting Attorney in Idaho Falls, ID he graduated from the University Of Idaho College Of Law in 2002 on the Dean’s List. He is a lifetime member of the Idaho Law Review and served on the Executive Board and as Lead Articles Editor in 2001-02. He has published two articles on hate crime legislation and Idaho’s search and seizure law. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University while playing football for the Aggies.
Danny grew up in Idaho Falls and attended Bonneville High School and was very excited to moved back home to Idaho Falls and began work for Dane Watkins at the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office in 2002. He has prosecuted every offense in the criminal code to include misdemeanors, felony drug crimes, robbery, kidnapping, all other violent offenses to include all sex crimes and homicide cases. He served as a deputy prosecuting attorney from 2002 to 2010, as Chief Deputy from 2011-2014 and became the Prosecuting Attorney in January 2015. He was just elected to a new four year term. He currently tries criminal cases; advises county officials in civil matters; manages the Prosecutor’s Office with 10 attorneys, 10 support staff; serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Behavioral Health Crisis Center, regional Drug Court Governing Board, and Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force. He is married to Amy, and they have three children. He loves riding his horse Cimarron and his current midlife crisis is a dirt bike.