Board of Directors & Director
Chair of the Board
Sara T. Thompson is a Ph.D student at the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University. She has an extensive background in criminology and implementation of non-traditional criminal justice programs in developing countries. Her professional history includes coordinating an over $20 million police peacekeeping program at the State Department. She worked extensively with the highest levels of law enforcement, the police and gendarmerie, in African partner countries, Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal, and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations to deploy highly trained and qualified peacekeepers. While working at the World Bank, she managed a $2 million research grant on African elephant poaching and provided relevant subject matter expertise to combat wildlife crime internationally. Prior to joining the Bank, Sara worked in Burkina Faso as a Peace Corps Volunteer, managing several educational and agricultural projects. Examples of such projects include raising over $5,000 for local language and French books in support of school curriculum and adult literacy for a community library in addition to working with the local women’s garden by planting moringa trees as well as raising awareness about the benefits of moringa to fight food insecurity and malnutrition. She holds an M.A in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University - Newark and a B.A in French and Criminal Justice.
Sara has been a staunch advocate for the health, safety, and security of Peace Corps Volunteers. In 2017, she filed a whistleblower complaint against Peace Corps related to the agency’s distribution and use of the most toxic and least effective anti-malarial medication, mefloquine (also known by its brand name Lariam), in contradiction to CDC guidelines. In further support of these advocacy efforts, she helped to draft and pass Peace Corps reform legislation, The Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018, by working with multiple stakeholders on the Hill and in the Peace Corps community. She has also successfully garnered official DC Councilmember support for legislation at a local level related to mandating open captioned movies for the deaf and hard of hearing community in DC. Other volunteer activities include working with the Newark Police Department and Newark community facilitating policy reform discussions under the Consent Decree. Sara has lived overseas for over three years and has extensively traveled around Europe and West and East Africa, professionally and personally. When she’s not advocating, she’s climbing mountains, running marathons, or taking pictures of fungi and bees.
Dr. Jeremiah P. Johnson
Lamplighter Project was founded in 2016 by Dr. Jeremiah P. Johnson who first saw a need to support law enforcement whistleblowers after reporting acts of criminal misconduct perpetrated by members of his own police department. Jeremiah’s disclosures were made internally and, despite experiencing retaliation, he never felt as though the appellation "whistleblower" fit his circumstances. It wasn't until he encountered the term “lamplighter”, coined by retired NYPD Detective Frank Serpico, that Jeremiah understood both the significance of his own actions and the potential for lamplighters/whistleblowers to hold the policing profession to its highest ideals.
A conscientious law enforcement leader, Jeremiah has served in a variety of sworn and civilian roles across the criminal justice system including policing, sentencing, and corrections. He began his law enforcement career in 2002 as a patrol officer for a Connecticut municipality. His distinguished policing career included a variety of operational, administrative, and investigative roles. In 2021, Jeremiah was appointed to serve on the Connecticut Sentencing Commission. He currently works as an executive for a large city jail system.
Jeremiah possesses a decade of teaching experience delivering undergraduate and graduate courses at several institutions of higher learning. He holds a BA in Sociology from Geneva College, an MS in Justice Administration from Western Connecticut State University, an MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, and a PhD in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Norman A. Carter Jr.
Norman A. Carter Jr. was born and raised in North Central Philadelphia, PA. After graduating from Thomas A. Edison High School, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1963 and served as a Combat Medical Corpsman. The following year, he was selected to attend the prestigious United States Military Academy Preparatory School. After graduating in 1966, he was honorably discharged and by the following year had joined the Philadelphia Police Department. Over the course of his 25-year policing career, Norman served in a variety of patrol, administrative, and narcotics assignments earning two commendatory letters and rising to the rank of Police Corporal. Norman joined Philadelphia’s Office of the Inspector General, Welfare Fraud Division in 1993 and retired as a Claims Investigation Agent Supervisor in 1997. After moving to Georgia, he enjoyed a 15 plus year career in the hospitality industry.
His efforts to increase minority representation and root out police corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department are documented in his 2016 memoir, The Long Blue Walk: My Journey as a Philly Cop. He has contributed to a number of journalistic exposés about the manipulation of crime statistics and failure to safeguard prisoners during police transport. Norman has made guest appearances on television, radio, and podcast programs where he speaks on abuse of police authority and criminal justice reform. He is the host and producer of Issues and Answers on the WCEG Internet Broadcast Network.
In December of 2020, Norman was appointed to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Advisory Task Force which focuses on police, prosecutorial, and judicial abuses and reforms. Norman is part of the leadership team at the Cornerstone Church in Snellville, Georgia where he serves on the choir and occasionally delivers homilies. He is currently enrolled in seminary. Married to Vicki Cork-Carter, he is the father of five children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Read Norman's Book titled: "The Long Blue Walk: My Journey as a Philly Cop" here.
Vice-Chair of the Board
Austin Handle was born to two first responder parents in Florida. While living in Georgia, Austin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. While serving in the Reserves as an Artillery Cannoneer, Austin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. While a student at UWG, Austin served as the President of the Georgia Eta Chapter of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Board Chairman to the Alpha Chi Chapter of the Fraternal Values Society, and, on the Student Conduct Board. During his final years studying, he was employed by the University Police Department and remained a full-time college student while attending the Georgia Police Academy.
In 2018, Austin found a larger agency and was then employed by a Police Department in Metro-Atlanta. Over several years of policing, Austin performed duties ranging from the usual patrol division but to later include special assignments to several undercover operations and assisting State Investigators in international fraud investigations. Austin would later discover, while working with other officers from the rank-and-file, of deep-rooted corruption and criminal activity taking place within the police department. In 2020, Austin indicated to supervisors that he may seek legal counsel after internal reporting procedures failed.
His story has now gained over 150,000 followers and over 6 Million views on social media. His work has been featured on the front pages of USA Today, in Congressional Briefings, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and various podcasts. He has worked with various legislators around the Nation to secure anti-retaliation protections for law enforcement whistleblowers. But most importantly, Austin has spoken to first responders around the country who are facing retaliation and/or trying to find a new way forward.