AMBER Alert Staff and Tribal Liaisons: Supporting Our Tribal Child Protection Partners

Inquiries may be directed to or by calling 877-712-6237; program personnel will work with tribal liaisons and associates to properly route and coordinate information and assistance requests:

Jim Walters

With over thirty-five years of diversified experience as a peace officer, USAF Security Forces Supervisor, technical training instructor, program manager, investigator, special weapons and tactics team leader, and Regional SWAT Commander, Jim Walters is a nationally and Internationally accredited subject matter expert and master training instructor. He has trained over 10,000 peace officers, military personnel, child protection officials, first responders, judicial officers and government leaders on a wide range of topics, from criminal investigative techniques to anti-terrorism and intelligence operations.

As the Program Administrator for the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP), Mr. Walters is responsible for developing and delivering training and technical assistance to law enforcement, prosecutors, social services, child protection officials and first responders in investigative techniques, program development and policy issues related to child protection, exploitation, missing and abducted children and youth at high risk of victimization. He has published articles and research into human trafficking, child exploitation and victimization in the US southern border region, as well as South and Central America. He has worked with survivors of human trafficking to develop insight into the causative factors which lead to victimization and has travelled internationally to study conditions globally in order to develop comprehensive strategies to combat trafficking and exploitation. Having served as a patrol officer, investigator and public safety consultant to tribal communities, Mr. Walters has also conducted research and evaluation of programs in tribal communities on topics related to high risk youth, trafficking and exploitation of Native American youth, public safety programs and technology facilitated crimes against children in Indian Country. Mr. Walters helped develop AATTAP’s Liaison program, and served as the first liaison for the “AMBER in Indian County” initiative which builds capacity in tribal communities to respond to child protection issues such as abductions, exploitation and human trafficking. Mr. Walters was also the AATTAP Liaison to the US Southern Border Initiative, conducting joint training and technical assistance with officials in the US and Mexico to improve communications, collaboration and response to issues related to cross border abductions, child sex trafficking, exploitation and sex tourism in the US–Mexican border region. As a result of this program, Mexican officials announced the implementation of Mexico’s “Alerta AMBER Mexico” Child Abduction Protocol in 2013.

As an investigator and supervisor, Mr. Walters has conducted or supervised over 150 major case investigations to include kidnappings, child abductions, homicides, human trafficking and serial crimes. As a tactical officer, he has conducted over 200 tactical operations ranging from hostage rescue to tactical operations during civil unrest.

On behalf of the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense, he has conducted training and technical assistance on the African continent, South and Central America as well as Europe, on issues of human trafficking, child exploitation, counter terrorism, leadership, policing, ethics and tactics.

As Assistant Chief of Police and Director of the SMU Public Safety Training Center, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Chief Walters managed a full time training, education, accreditation and quality assurance program, certified by the State of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. He developed and delivered training for law enforcement and other public safety personnel throughout the region. Mr. Walters was also responsible for developing real time intelligence and analytical data for programs which require comprehensive safety and security planning. He conducted tactical and contingency planning and operations to support special events, dignitary protection and critical situations. Mr. Walters coordinated professional training and education through the SMU Office of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE).
Mr. Walters is the former President and CEO of The Defensor Group LLC, a private firm providing international training, risk assessment, threat mitigation, consulting and protective services. A veteran owned small business, the Defensor Group employs US military and law enforcement personnel with service related disabilities.

As Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Placerville Police Department, Mr. Walters was responsible for management of patrol and support services divisions, conducting day to day management, budgeting, administrative and operational activities. He also served as the commander of a Regional Tactical Team, comprising four agencies from two counties and consisting of over forty tactical and support personnel. He developed an advanced training program for regional tactical personnel and acted as commander for approximately forty tactical deployments and dignitary protection operations.

Mr. Walters developed a regional Meth Task Force and Community Response and utilized public safety resources for interdiction activities, while developing community programs in schools for prevention. He also worked closely with State and Federal partners to combat meth labs and distribution networks in the region. He established a Department Special Response Team, conducting initial training, selection and logistics. He developed and provided initial 120-hour basic SWAT curriculum. The program went on to become a regional team, with over 40 tactical dispatchers, medics and operators. Mr. Walters was involved in the initial development and

implementation of California efforts to create Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) in San Diego County. He conducted training for new officers, medical professionals and SART members. Mr. Walters participated in the Governor’s Task Force on Stalking, and assisted in developing initial program ideas and implementing policy and instruction to solidify law enforcement understanding and response to stalking and domestic violence.

Mr. Walters is the founder and president of The Border Research Group, a non-profit organization comprised of public safety, military and social services professionals which provides assistance to tribal communities and nongovernmental organizations in the field of child protection, human trafficking and family violence. The group works closely with programs which assist in the transition of women and children exposed to trafficking and exploitation as they reintegrate into society. Members provide logistical assistance, technical expertise and resources to these organizations to help maximize the effectiveness of their programs and improve services to victims.

With over 20 years of active and reserve experience in the United States Air Force, Mr. Walters had a wide range of assignments. He was most recently assigned as Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection NCO for USAF Special Operations Command Europe. Responsible for protection of priority resources and personnel, Mr. Walters was assigned as the NCOIC of Threat and Risk Assessment for the US Special Operations Command, Europe, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was responsible for tracking, assessing and conducting threat mitigation for special operations forces across Europe and Africa and supervised USAF personnel in anti-terrorism programs for the protection of critical resources, threat assessment and mitigation programs in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom during multiple wartime deployments.

Mr. Walters is certified as USAF technical training instructor. Having conducted over 2000 hours of advanced training in tactical operations, nuclear security operations, CQB, patrolling and resource protection, he developed the first ever USAF/AFSOC Tactical Operations Course, training over 100 USAF Security Forces personnel in advanced tactical operations in urban environments.

Ron Gurley

Ron is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee Elders Council.  He holds degrees in Bachelor of Arts Education and Master of Science Education.  He is in his 46th   year working with Native American families and youth.

During his 22 years in public education he served as a Music Teacher, Indian Education Reading and Math Teacher, Counselor, Assistant Superintendent,  Director of Curriculum, Special Education and Transportation and served as Superintendent of Schools.

Following his career in education, four & one-half years were spent as a Case Manager Supervisor in a newly created Social Services Department within the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation.

Ron served as founder and Chief Professional Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Country, Inc. located within the Cherokee Nation from 1997 to 2007.  He served as Chairman of NANAC, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Native American National Advisory Committee.  Special recognition includes BGCA’s Masters and Mentors Level of the Academy of Boys & Girls Clubs Professionals.

For five years Ron served as the Projects Manager, Native American Program Specialist, FirstPic, Consulting.  His work included Child Abduction Response Team Training; Internet Crimes Against Children and AMBER Alert in Indian Country training; Office of Justice Programs Boys & Girls Clubs of America Funding Initiative for Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country; Bureau of Justice’s Methamphetamine Law Enforcement and Community Education Technical Assistance; and Law Enforcement Investigative Technique Training. Ron also has experience in HUD’s Office of Native American Program Training and Technical Assistance for Tribal Community Youth Programs.

Ron teaches webinars on Youth Development, Grant Acquisition, Substance Abuse Prevention and acts as Liaison for the AMBER Alert initiative for Indian Country.

Hedi Bogda

Hedi Bogda has a long history working in tribal law. She not only has her own law office, but is currently the Appellate Justice for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Court of Appeals in Belcourt, ND; the General Counsel for the Native American Tribal Energy Association in Las Vegas, NV; and is the Attorney/Consultant for the Pauma Band of Mission Indians in Pauma Valley, CA.

As Appellate Justice for Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Court of Appeals, she presides over and adjudicates appellate cases in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Appeals Court. She prepares clear and concise court orders based on decisions rendered in all appeal hearings.

As General Counsel for Native American Tribal Energy in Las Vegas, NV, Hedi specializes in providing legal advice and representation on a variety of issues, including but not limited to: matters of Indian law; tribal, state and federal regulatory law; tribal sovereignty; energy law; environmental law; water and natural resource law; land use planning; employment law; commercial, business and economic development matters; taxation; land into trust; and cultural resources. She negotiates and drafts numerous agreements, drafts legal documents, legal instruments, legal memoranda and opinions for and on behalf of the Native American Tribal Energy Association. She also researches and interprets case law, statutes, legislation, regulations and various legal documents concerning a variety of legal issues.

As the Attorney/Consultant for Pauma Band of Mission Indians, Hedi specializes in providing legal advice and representation to departments, divisions and entities of the Pauma Band of Mission Indians on a variety of issues, including matters of Indian law; tribal, state and federal regulatory law; tribal sovereignty; environmental law; water and natural resource law; land use planning; employment law; commercial, business and economic development matters; gaming; taxation; land into trust; criminal and civil law; domestic violence and sexual assault; and cultural resources. Negotiates and drafts numerous agreements, tribal codes, policies and ordinances on behalf of the Pauma Band of Mission Indians. She also specialized in the development of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). Prepares and drafts legal documents, legal instruments, legal memoranda and opinions, researches and interprets case law, statutes, legislation, regulations and various legal documents concerning a variety of legal issues.

Prior to her current positions, Hedi worked as an attorney, specializing in tribal law.

Hedi earned her Juris Doctor Degree, May 1997 from University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, North Dakota. She also attended Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. Hedi is also a member of both the Minnesota State Bar Association and South Dakota Bar Association.

Tyesha Wood

Tyesha M. Wood is a Project Coordinator with the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative. Tyesha is a former Police Detective with 17 years of law enforcement experience with tribal nations in Arizona.  A majority of her police career was comprised of work in criminal investigations, with more than 15 years as a detective working in the areas of sex crimes and crimes against children. Tyesha has experience in working with multi-disciplinary teams in tribal family advocacy centers to ensure the safety and protection of children. She also served for two years as an Executive Protection Officer for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice-President.

Tyesha is an alumnus of the 2018-19 McCain Institute of International Leadership Next Generation Leaders Program. Tyesha holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Arizona, and is a member of the Navajo Nation.