CIO, California Highway Patrol
He was the kid who ran the AV equipment in middle school, tinkered with computers in high school, then went on to get a degree in TV/radio with an eye toward a career in broadcasting. Then came the master’s degree in business and an education doctorate in organizational leadership. But what you might know Scott Howland for is his distinguished career in law enforcement.
Now Chief Scott Howland, the CIO and chief of the Information Management Division for the California Highway Patrol, oversees, among other things, IT policy and procurement for one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. About 75 percent of its 11,000 employees wear a badge. His previous assignments have included overseeing statewide community outreach and media relations, CHP legislative liaison, and multiple field assignments.
During his tenure, Howland has led many high-profile projects, including the statewide California Accident Reporting System that automated collision reporting, the modernization of the system for tracking commercial vehicle terminal inspections and the redesign of the CHP’s public-facing website.
“I work to view my role not from an IT perspective, but rather a mission perspective,” Howland said last fall. “With that in mind, there is one factor that is critical to defining success: Does the project move the CHP forward in our mission? ... I want to ensure our projects equip our employees to save more lives and provide a higher level of service, whether it is better information for decision-making or efficiency that provides more time.”
One part of his job that might surprise civilians is his role in fighting cybercrime. He’s in charge of the CHP’s Computer Crimes Investigations Unit, made up of criminal investigators who work closely with the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force. Beyond cross-agency coordination, a growing trend in the public safety community, it gives him a broader view that strengthens his expertise.
“This helps extend our reach outside California and increases our collaboration with the law enforcement community. Seeing firsthand the attacks that are occurring across state government assists us in securing our own network.”