W/B HIDTA Highlights: Experience Pairs with Passion—First Deputy Director and Chief of Staff Jeff Beeson

First Deputy Director and Chief of Staff Jeff Beeson oversees administration of the W/B HIDTA program, including the Network Operations Center, Training, Overdose Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), and Overdose Response Strategy. Beeson skillfully performs these tasks while managing staff recruitment and retention efforts for the organization.

Then-Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) Steve Moyer introduced W/B HIDTA Executive Director Tom Carr to Beeson at Towson University, where he was serving as assistant vice president for applied research. In this position, Beeson was overseeing a portfolio of state and federal grants and contracts supporting workforce and public safety initiatives. He had just completed Leadership Maryland, a competitive eight-month educational program that brings together local leaders from all sectors, industries, and regions in the state to engage on the vital issues affecting Maryland and to build solutions for real change. After participating in this intensive program and contemplating the rest of his career, Beeson related that he was “evaluating my career, looking to once again engage in public service and follow my passion to contribute to the safety of our communities while developing strategies to support efforts to save lives and strengthen communities.”

During his career before the W/B HIDTA, Beeson was appointed to serve in several position within the Maryland State Government, including the positions of special assistant and executive director to two prior deputy secretaries of public safety. Given these experiences, Beeson was already familiar with the W/B HIDTA’s work and supported its mission.

Beeson was initially hired in August 2016 to help manage staff and oversee the W/B HIDTA’s treatment and prevention activities. His role has evolved with the emergence of the W/B HIDTA’s strategic data sharing efforts, specifically through the creation and development of the Overdose Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), a surveillance system designed to provide public health and public safety real time data related to overdoses nationally. Beeson says that the W/B HIDTA’s ODMAP gives him the “direct opportunity to do something that saves lives.” The strengths of the program, according to Beeson, that “…  with ODMAP and the Performance Management Process put in place at the W/B HIDTA, we can know if we are going in the right direction to fulfill the HIDTA mission or have to transform our activities to address the evolving drug landscape impacting our communities. Further, these tools demonstrate the value of our system and validate our efforts at a macro level”.  

Appreciative of the mentoring Executive Director Carr provides, Beeson describes him as a “leader who can converse knowledgably with public health and public safety professionals, which provides value to collaborating with our organization.” He recognizes that the W/B HIDTA leadership team is “committed to making a difference and to implementing and evaluating a comprehensive approach for addressing the drug use/misuse problem.”

The scope of the W/B HIDTA’s work is intriguing to Beeson, who describes it as “uniting public safety and public health in a special way.” He recognizes the importance of good communication among the different disciplines and agencies involved in the W/B HIDTA, and the value of the organization’s “commitment to investing in data-driven, evidence-based practices, that are truly impactful and benefit the people we serve.”

Beeson recognizes that the W/B HIDTA is always evolving, a testament to the vision of Executive Director Carr, and the organization’s leadership team. He sees a continuation of the strategic public health-public safety partnership, and the development of an even more robust IT infrastructure to support it. Beeson relates, “We’re always innovating new, solutions-based programs that facilitate increased information sharing among appropriate parties. One such innovation is our new National HIDTA Map, which, in partnership with domestic highway enforcement agencies, looks at drug seizures, interdictions, and overdoses to identify how drugs are moving and how this will affect communities. We can then work with public health and law enforcement agencies to prevent and address these problems.”

According to Beeson, the W/B HIDTA will “continue to provide technology solutions to help drug enforcement, treatment, and prevention do their jobs more effectively, efficiently, and collaboratively. We will continue to enhance the Investigative Support Center’s services, and grow A Division for Advancing Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) to build a national technical assistance center for drug prevention and treatment,” which began in 2019.

The W/B HIDTA has grown and continues to grow with Beeson’s leadership. We’re thrilled to feature First Deputy Director Beeson in the first “HIDTA Highlights” blog to recognize his extraordinary drive, professionalism, and commitment to excellence.