Debra Higens is the Project Manager of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy. The Violence Reduction Strategy is a joint effort of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Illinois Department of Corrections, the Westside Health Authority, the Safer Foundation, Teamwork Englewood and a variety of community and faith-based partners.
Ms. Higens’ experience in public safety includes 15 years as a Deputy Sheriff with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, a career she finished as an Investigator. Ms. Higens was the Chief of Operations for an Adult Transitional Center, where she worked closely with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Prior to working for Chicago VRS, Ms. Higens was the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator for the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. Ms. Higens is certified by the Department of Homeland Security as an Incident Commander (Single and Multiple), by the Illinois Department of Corrections as a Certified Investigator, and has participated in several major national conferences, including the Franklin Covey workshop.
Ms. Higens is currently working toward her BA in Social Justice from De Paul University and received an AAS in Criminal Justice from Moraine Valley Community College. She is actively involved in her church as a Eucharist Minister. Ms. Higens is also a certified foster parent with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She has four children, Christy Lynn, Amber Leigh, Patricia Pearl and Jonathan Richard, and has found great joy in taking three of her children from the system and giving them a loving home. Ms. Higens enjoys reading her favorite author James Patterson as well as spending time with her children and her three dogs.