Meet the people who advise the Mayor on public safety strategy.
We work with New Yorkers, law enforcement, the courts, other City agencies, non-profits and foundations to ensure that each part of our public safety system works well and works together so that every New Yorker is safe and treated fairly.
Executive Director of Research OperationsRead Bio
Brenda Velazquez is the Executive Director of Research Operations. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, she was at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, in the position of Director of the Planning and Analysis Unit. In this role, Dr. Velazquez served as an advisor to the D.A. and the Executive Staff on grant programs and NYC initiatives, as well as on research methods and data analytics. She strategized with various law enforcement, government agencies, service providers, and research organizations around criminal justice issues, and related task forces and coalitions. Prior to her work in the Bronx, Dr. Velazquez worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she was a principal investigator and project manager for qualitative and quantitative studies that examined the juvenile justice system and racial disparities in prosecutorial decision-making. Dr. Velazquez received a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Social Ecology and Criminology respectively, from the University of California, Irvine.
Chief of Public AffairsRead Bio
Colby spent nearly a decade covering politics and the legal system for a number of well-respected news outlets in the city. During the past two years he primarily focused on the federal courts in Manhattan for the New York Law Journal, while also producing features on the state court administration and the criminal justice system in Queens. Prior to this he covered the state justice system for POLITICO New York. He got his start in journalism covering local politics for WNYC, which he continued as the city hall reporter for the now-defunct DNAinfo. He is a proud alumni of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
Executive Director for Information Technology and JusticeRead Bio
Colin Reilly is the Executive Director of Information Technology. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, he was the Senior Director of Geographic Information Systems at the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. In this role, he supervised staff, managed technology projects, spearheaded enterprise data management efforts and advised on geospatial technology matters. Mr. Reilly holds a Master’s Degree in Geography from Hunter College and a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona.
Deputy Director of Close Rikers and Justice InitiativesRead Bio
Dana Kaplan is the Deputy Director of the Close Rikers and Justice Initiatives. Previously, Ms. Kaplan was the Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, a New Orleans based non-profit legal and advocacy organization. Ms. Kaplan has also been a Soros Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), was the State-wide Organizer for the New York Campaign for Telephone Justice, and worked for the Brooklyn-based Prison Moratorium Project. Ms. Kaplan holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s from the CUNY Graduate Center with a certificate in American Studies.
General Counsel and Deputy Director for Crime StrategiesRead Bio
Deanna is the Director of Crime Strategies and Acting General Counsel. She spent the last three years at the Office of the Bronx District Attorney as a Bureau Chief. She worked with DA Darcel Clark to design, establish and supervise the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau. Prior to her work in the Bronx, Deanna served as the Assistant Commissioner at the New York City Department of Correction (“DOC”), where she worked to reform and strengthen internal discipline. The first eight years of Deanna’s career was spent in public service as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the New York County District Attorney (DANY). There she investigated and prosecuted felony cases involving narcotics violations, domestic violence, sexual assaults and child abuse. After leaving DANY, she joined the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) as a litigator addressing misconduct issues. She eventually became the Managing Director of Rule Development at the NYSE responsible for enforcing the rules that govern the markets and impact the industry while representing the NYSE before the Securities and Exchange Commission. After NYSE, she spent a short time at Barclays Capital Market Makers working as the Director of Compliance on the trading Floor. Deanna returned to public service when she joined the DOC. Deanna holds a BA in political science from Boston University and earned her J.D. at New York University School of Law.
Executive Director of the Office for the Prevention of Hate CrimesRead Bio
Deborah Lauter is the Executive Director of the newly-established Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. A native of California, Ms. Lauter attended U.C. Berkeley and received a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. After practicing law in San Francisco, she spent sixteen years in Atlanta, where she served as the Community Relations Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and then as the Southeast Region Director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Deborah moved to NYC in 2006 to become the National Civil Rights Director of the ADL, where she oversaw the organization’s domestic agenda, including programs and policies to fight all forms of discrimination. During her tenure, the ADL lead the national coalition work that resulted in the passage of the Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Federal Hate Crimes Act. She also oversaw the organization’s Center on Extremism, which provided law enforcement and media with research and analysis on extremism, as well as provided law enforcement with training on hate crime detection and response. While at the ADL, Deborah worked closely with the major Silicon Valley tech companies on the growing problem of hate on the internet and in 2015 she became Senior Vice President for Policy & Programs, assuming additional responsibility for anti-bias education programs. She served as an expert advisor to the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Education and Human Rights (TOLI), which provides Holocaust education training for teachers in the U.S. and Europe.
Deputy Director of the Office of Neighborhood SafetyRead Bio
Eric Cumberbatch is the Executive Director of the Office to Prevent Gun Violence. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Cumberbatch began his career as a teacher with the New York City Department of Education and has also held several positions at the New York City Housing Authority. Mr. Cumberbatch holds a Master’s Degree in Education from NW Missouri State University and a Bachelor of Science from Delaware State University.
Executive Director, Office of Crime Victim SupportsRead Bio
Ilana Turko is the Executive Director of the Office of Crime Victim Supports where she oversees an expansive network of crime victim services in the community, courts, and co-located with law enforcement. Prior to joining MOCJ, she was an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County. In this role, Ms. Turko investigated and prosecuted a variety of crimes, with a focus on firearm-related offenses and domestic violence. Concurrent with her work in Queens, Ms. Turko was an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at Fordham University, School of Law. Since joining MOCJ in 2015, her work has spanned a wide range of subject areas from immigration, public housing, programming for people causing harm, and human trafficking, to the needs facing people harmed by crime. Ms. Turko received her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her Juris Doctorate from Fordham University, School of Law.
Executive Director, Office to Prevent Gun ViolenceRead Bio
Jessica Mofield is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence (OPGV). Housed within the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), Jessica previously served as OPGV’s Deputy Executive Director and the Deputy Director of the Community Engagement Unit at MOCJ. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Jessica worked for the Counseling Service of Eastern District of New York (CSEDNY), where she was tasked with providing culturally attuned therapeutic support to over 200 justice involved men and women. Jessica earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. Go Violets!
Executive Director, Office of Pretrial Justice InitiativesRead Bio
Miriam Popper is the Executive Director of the newly established Office of Pretrial Justice Initiatives in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, where she oversees the City’s extensive pretrial programming and services. This includes the nationally recognized Supervised Release program, the first citywide pretrial program that was successfully developed and launched in 2016 under Ms. Popper’s supervision. Previously, her work focused on the planning, implementation and enhancement of local initiatives designed to safely reduce the juvenile and adult jail population, and improve outcomes for individuals with behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system.
Before joining the mayor’s office in 2010, Ms. Popper worked in the Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College assisting with the oversight and implementation of the New York City Justice Corps, a reentry initiative aimed at reducing poverty and recidivism among young men and women ages 18-24. Ms. Popper previously worked in Burlington, Vermont running a reentry housing program out of the Burlington Housing Authority. In this role Ms. Popper managed and operated the program working one-on-one with individuals in correctional facilities or on parole to find them sustainable housing and employment.
Ms. Popper graduated from Skidmore College with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Law and Society, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Science in Criminology.
Chief Financial OfficerRead Bio
Osvaldo Cruz is the Chief Financial Officer. His career in public service began at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management & Budget where he spent almost a decade. Starting as an Analyst he rose through the ranks to hold the position of Assistant Director of the Administration of Justice Taskforce. In that capacity he was responsible for the development and administration of the New York City Criminal Justice System’s Operating and Capital Budgets including the New York City Police and Correction Departments and the Court Facilities Capital Construction Plan. Following his service at OMB he joined the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road. There he was responsible for the administration of the agency’s operating and revenue budgets, managed the agency’s fare policy implementation process, and directed the agency’s corporate performance management program, international benchmarking efforts, and Information Technology strategic planning. Mr. Cruz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from John Jay College.
Executive Director, Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood SafetyRead Bio
Renita Francois is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Ms. Francois previously served as the deputy director for three years, developing innovative strategies, like NeighborhoodStat, that bring government and citizens together to address quality of life and safety in NYC’s public housing developments and surrounding neighborhoods. Her experience serving as a resource coordinator working directly for the juvenile justice bench at Brooklyn Family Court, and as a frontline staff member for public housing programs in both Los Angeles and Compton, California, give Ms. Francois unique insight into the multilayered challenges facing vulnerable communities. Renita Francois holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Cornell University.
Executive Director, Violence and Predictive AnalyticsRead Bio
Samantha Kleinfield is the Executive Director of Violence and Predictive Analytics. Prior to her current position, Ms. Kleinfield has worked at all levels of government and in the private sector on crime and violence prevention. At the local level, Ms. Kleinfield worked at the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as the policy and legislative director and at the NYC Department of City Planning on strategic communications and research into the connections between urban planning, public safety, and community resilience. She worked at the federal level at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Community Partnerships, where she helped conceptualize and implement a first-ever violent extremism grant program and philanthropic engagement strategy. She worked at the international level at the United Nations and for the Ambassador of Djibouti posted to France and UNESCO. She has also directed an Egyptian-American fellowship program to enlist young leaders to counter hate narratives, and taught negotiation strategies to diplomats and international military/business leaders. She also worked at a New York-based law firm. Ms. Kleinfield holds a bilingual master’s in security and defense policy from Sciences Po Paris, and a bachelor’s in French literature and philosophy from Northwestern University.