Public Safety and Legal Counsel

Governors legal counsel serve as senior staff, overseeing legal issues with legislation, policy, executive orders, administrative actions, and executive appointments. Additionally, Governors are focused on public safety, crime, delinquency and related social and economic consequences. NGA serves the needs of governors and their policy advisors in a broad range of criminal, sentencing, corrections and justice-related policies.


Meet the team

  • Ken Hardy, Program Director
  • Lauren Dedon, Senior Legal Policy Advisor
  • Erin Daneker, Policy Analyst
  • Maria Kearl, Policy Analyst
  • Camille Lodugnon, Policy Coordinator

NGA Public Safety & Legal Counsel networks

Governors Criminal Justice Policy Advisors Network

The Governors Criminal Justice Policy Advisors (CJPAs) Network provides a forum for governors’ criminal and juvenile justice policy advisors to connect with their peers in other states, promote regional information sharing and collaboration, and learn about best practices and the latest research in the field. NGA convenes CJPAs for an annual institute and offers customized technical assistance to them as requested through research and strategic planning support.

Governors’ Legal Counsel

The Governors’ Legal Counsel Network is comprised of chief legal counsel, general counsel, and legal deputies to Governors. As part of this network, counsel have the unique opportunity to share best practices and legal lessons learned with peers across the nation. NGA convenes legal counsel on regular briefing calls, hosts counsel at an annual meeting, and provides ad hoc technical assistance and research support to the network on a vast array of legal and policy issues.

Consortium Of State Public Safety Executives

The Consortium of State Public Safety Executives is a network of cabinet-level secretaries and commissioners from across the country who are responsible for oversight of their state’s public safety enterprise, including state police, fire, corrections, emergency management and/or other related agencies. Members connect with their peers to share lessons learned, receive briefings from national experts on best practices and receive ongoing technical support from NGA staff.


Opioid Reference Guide for New Administrations

Developed by the NGA Center through a survey and extensive consultation with senior state officials and other national experts, our new opioid "Reference Guide for New Administrations" highlights key questions, ...

NGA Opioid Summit for New Administrations

Washington, DC | April 8-9, 2019 AGENDA From April 8-9. NGA hosted the Opioid Summit for New Administrations in Washington, D.C. Public health and public safety officials from 33 states ...

NGA to Assist 13 States in Strengthening Policies Against Impaired Driving

Columbus, Ohio, Summit Kicks Off Technical Assistance to States To address the grim and growing toll of impaired driving, the National Governors Association is working with 13 states on efforts ...
NGA 2019 Winter Meeting

NGA 2019 Winter Meeting

Session videos from the National Governors Association Winter Meeting 2019 which took place Feb 22-25 in Washington, D.C. View Full Playlist ...

Governors Applaud Signing of the First Step Act Into Law

In response the President signing the First Step Act into law today, leaders of National Governors Association (NGA), which advocated for the passage of a bipartisan criminal-justice bill intended to ...

Letter to Congress regarding First Step Act

Letter from the National Governors Association to congressional leadership supporting passage of criminal-justice reform legislation. DOWNLOAD THE LETTER Full Text December 18, 2018 The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader United ...

Governors: First Step Act Deserves a Vote This Congress

In response to S. 3649 gaining momentum in the U.S. Senate, the National Governors Association (NGA) released the following statement: “The National Governors Association applauds Congress and the Trump Administration ...

Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab

October 17-19, 2018 | Chicago, Illinois The National Governors Association convened Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Virginia in Chicago to participate in the Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning ...

Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform

Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate leadership from Mississippi Governor Bryant and Minnesota Governor Dayton on governors priorities for criminal justice and sentencing reform in Congress. DOWNLOAD THE LETTER ...

Principles for State-Federal Relations

The relationship and authority of states and the federal government are governed by the U.S. Constitution. The federal government is delegated certain enumerated powers while all other powers not otherwise ...

NGA Selects States for New Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab

WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) has selected Colorado, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia to participate in the NGA Center for Best Practices’ Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab ...

State Public Safety and Autonomous Vehicle Technology: Recommended Actions for Governors

Summary The NGA Center for Best Practices released policy guidance on autonomous vehicles. The issue paper, entitled State Public Safety and Autonomous Vehicle Technology: Recommended Action for Governors assists governors in creating ...