Profile: Dave Dampier
David Dampier is no superhero, but he has dedicated his life to keeping people safe.
By day, the associate professor of computer science and engineering helps law enforcement sniff out cyber-bad guys on the web, and he trains wounded veterans in digital forensics so they can continue their military career or have a marketable skill when they leave service. Through his work as founding director of the National Forensics Training Center, he continues to help train law enforcement and military personnel, at no cost, in the advanced skills needed to catch and prosecute cyber criminals.
By night, however, his focus turns to a more individualized type of safety. Dampier and his wife Caryn, both fifth-degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do, offer free martial arts classes to children and adults, twice a week, free-of-charge.
The classes are an extension of efforts the pair began while David was at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. That effort grew to become the NPS Tae Kwon Do Association with 10 clubs nationwide, including the one they have established at First Methodist Church in Starkville.
"Ultimately, I want to use my life and the talents I have been given to help provide opportunities for ordinary people to do extraordinary things in life," Dampier said. "It fulfills me to be able to provide training for someone's son or daughter who maybe can't afford to send them to martial arts school. It is the same way with digital forensics. Many departments cannot afford to send their officers to expensive, formal training, and through the National Forensics Training Center, we are able to provide that training and bridge the gap."
Next week … Rafael Hernandez !