2023 Rising Star: Ryan Sibbald

Assistant special agent in charge, Special Operations Division, Drug Enforcement Administration

Photo courtesy: DEA

Over the course of his career with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ryan Sibbald has gained a reputation as a forward-looking leader who is willing to do the legwork needed to bring new technologies into the agency. 

In his previous role as unit chief over the DEA’s Office of Investigative Technology, Sibbald was responsible for working with outside vendors to acquire innovative systems and tools that would better support and assist agents in carrying out the agency’s mission.

According to his nominators, Sibbald’s work to bring this type of cutting-edge technology — such as video surveillance tools and downlink services — into DEA operations has helped to reduce the safety risk posed to law enforcement officers, while also providing essential support to field operations.

DEA’s adoption of some of these technologies played a key role in helping law enforcement’s successful effort earlier this year to locate and apprehend an escaped convict from a Pennsylvania jail after a two-week manhunt by police and federal officials.

Sibbald’s willingness to meet with vendors and challenge them to bring forward new technologies and ideas to support DEA’s mission has earned him particular praise from his counterparts in the private sector, who cited his due diligence in understanding the capabilities that new tools could bring to the agency. 

“If you want to demo technology for him, if you want to walk him through your lab or your facility, Ryan will do that,” said Carey Vereen, vice president at CACI International. “He’ll go off and read about it, he’ll do his homework, he’ll speak to other subject matter experts about it, and he’ll come back with good questions and good suggestions.”

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