Dr. Jillian Peterson has become a sought-after national speaker, trainer and media commentator on issues related to mass shootings, mental illness and violence, crisis intervention and violence prevention. She co-founded The Violence Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to reducing violence in society through research and analysis. 


As an Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, Dr. Peterson teaches classes in forensic psychology.  She holds a MA in Social Ecology and a PhD in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of CA, Irvine. 


Previously, Dr. Peterson worked as a special investigator for the New York Capital Defenders Office, where she researched the life histories of men facing the death penalty in New York City for their sentencing hearings.  

James Densley is Professor of Criminal Justice and Chair of the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, part of the Minnesota State system. He is also Metro State’s first University Scholar. Densley is co-founder and co-president of The Violence Project.

Densley has been an invited or plenary speaker on three continents and has received global media attention for his work on street gangs, criminal networks, violence, and policing. He is the author of four books, including the award-winning, How Gangs Work(Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), plus 40 peer-reviewed articles in leading social science journals, and over 70 book chapters, essays, and other non-refereed works in outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, HuffPost, LA Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.