• Who We Are

    The National Network for Safe Communities supports communities implementing strategic interventions to reduce violence and community disorder, minimize arrests and incarceration, enhance police legitimacy, and rebuild relationships between law enforcement and distressed communities.


The National Network for Safe Communities, a project of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was launched in 2009 under the direction of David M. Kennedy and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis.

Director David Kennedy leads the National Network's dedicated staff at our New York City-based office, where we support and raise the profile of cities implementing proven strategic interventions to reduce violence and improve public safety, minimize arrest and incarceration, strengthen communities, and improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities it serves.

The National Network's Chicago-based staff is making critical progress in leading the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, a citywide partnership focused on reducing violence in Chicago communities.




Rachel Locke
Director, International Interventions
rlocke@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 557-4561

Meaghan McDonald
Director, Group Violence Intervention
mmcdonald@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 557-4560

Zoe Mentel
Director, Strategic Initiatives
zmentel@jjay.cuny.edu

Rachel Teicher
Director, Intimate Partner Violence Intervention
rteicher@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6356

Meg Reiss
Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution
mereiss@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 781-5121

Sue-Lin Wong
Managing Director, Field Innovations; Associate Project Director, National Initiative
slwong@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 557-4796

Ahmad Dowla
Director, Operations & Finance
adowla@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 621-3791



Louisa Aviles
Associate Director, Group Violence Intervention
laviles@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6421

Amy Cross
Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention
across@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6366

Jacqueline Crowell
Project Assistant, Field Innovations
jcrowell@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 887-6193

Danneile A. Davis
Field Associate, Field Innovations
dadavis@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 557-4455

Allison Goldberg
Operations and Policy Associate, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution
agoldberg@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6816

Laurie A. Grieco
Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention
lgrieco@jjay.cuny.edu

Sam Kuhn
Field Advisor, National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice
skuhn@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6307

Maggie O’Donnell
Project Assistant, Group Violence Intervention
maodonnell@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 393-6429

Chelsea V. Ocon
Field Associate, Intimate Partner Violence Intervention
cocon@nnscommunities.org

ShanaKay Salmon
Project Assistant, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution
ssalmon@jjay.cuny.edu
(212) 887-6195

Paul Smith
Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention
psmith@jjay.cuny.edu
(646) 781-5127

Alina Vikhnevich

Operational Finance Assistant

(212) 393-6811

Alina Vikhnevich is an Operational Finance Assistant at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Vikhnevich assists the finance and operational team daily in the administration of grants and financial operations, which includes coordinating the reimbursement process, maintaining compliance with regulations, organization of fund disbursement and reimbursement and tracking and executing reporting requirements.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Vikhnevich worked for Elizabeth Arden, where she was responsible for assisting clients and supporting day-to-day functions of the business, which helped her improve her communication and problem solving skills.

Ms. Vikhnevich holds a BBA from Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Chelsea V. Ocon

Field Associate, Intimate Partner Violence Intervention

Chelsea V. Ocon is a Field Associate for the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention (IPVI) for the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Ocon provides hands-on strategic advising to project managers and law enforcement executives, manages the process of law enforcement data collection and analysis; and assists site leadership in organizing direct communication with survivors of domestic violence and individual offenders. 


Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Ocon worked at the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.  She helped plan, coordinate, and facilitate the execution of multi-agency and independent outreach events in NYCHA housing developments throughout the five boroughs and their surrounding communities as part of a City-wide Mayoral initiative, and facilitated trainings for various community partners and city agencies regarding Intimate Partner Violence, Elder Abuse, and Human Sex Trafficking.  She also worked as an Intern at The Retreat, an organization that provides direct services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Eastern Long Island.


Ms. Ocon holds a B.A. in Psychology from Brooklyn College, and is currently an M.P.A candidate at Baruch College, focusing on Policy and Evaluation. Ms. Ocon is also a certified vinyasa yoga instructor, with her own practice informed by the Ashtanga lineage.

Jonathan Ben-Menachem

Communications Associate

(212) 393-6368

Jonathan Ben-Menachem is a Communications Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. He crafts written materials and supports the media strategy for the Network’s substantive teams, handles media inquiries and outreach, and manages the Network’s social media channels.

Prior to joining the Network, Mr. Ben-Menachem worked for an editorial marketing firm called L&T Co., where he managed freelance writers and worked with clients to showcase powerful brand narratives. While pursuing his undergraduate education, he also co-founded a music and culture blog called No Smoking Media, which supported his concert booking efforts.

Mr. Ben-Menachem holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from New York University.

Zoe Mentel

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Zoe Darmé is Director of Strategic Initiatives at John Jay College’s National Network for Safe Communities.  In this role, she oversees the work of three cross-cutting teams: strategic communications, research and policy, and data analytics. 

Previously, Ms. Darmé worked at the United Nations as a Political Affairs Officer with the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).  She specialized in providing political analysis and strategic planning, particularly in the areas of justice and human rights; policing and law enforcement; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.  

Ms. Darmé also served the U.S. Department of Justice, where she managed a multimillion dollar portfolio of law enforcement reform programs.  In 2011, she was a finalist for the Service to America Medal, the highest honor awarded to career civil servants by the United States Government.  In the private sector, Ms. Darmé served in a variety of management consulting roles.

Areas of expertise include community-based violence reduction, justice sector reform and democratic policing, and Ms. Darmé has authored a number of articles and publications on these topics, including for the Governments of the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

Ms. Darmé holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a Master of Arts from the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD).

Allison Goldberg

Operations and Policy Associate, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution

(212) 393-6816

Allison Goldberg is an Operations and Policy Associate for the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP). Ms. Goldberg helps manage the day-to-day work of the IIP while offering strategic guidance on the IIP’s program offering. She also manages the research and development of policies and practices for the IIP.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Goldberg worked as a Program Associate for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. She also served as an Intern in The White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama Administration, where she collaborated with policymakers, practitioners, and advocates to advance criminal justice reform and civil rights. Ms. Goldberg previously worked with Liberty Hill Foundation, PFLAG National, and Oxfam America.

Ms. Goldberg holds a BA in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a Masters in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.

Maggie O’Donnell

Project Assistant, Group Violence Intervention

(212) 393-6429

Maggie O'Donnell is a Project Assistant at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. O'Donnell is responsible for supporting day-to-day operations including scheduling, event planning, and public communication.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. O'Donnell worked as a Legal Assistant at Bromberg Kohler Maya & Maschler, PLLC where she managed cases of over 40 clients seeking protection, relief, or benefits under U.S. immigration law. She has also served as a Program Assistant on Militarism & Civil Liberties with the Friends Committee on National Legislation where she lobbied and maintained relationships with elected officials and their staffs.

Ms. O'Donnell holds a BA in Peace Studies from Goucher College where she graduated cum laude. 

Danneile A. Davis

Field Associate, Field Innovations

(646) 557-4455

Danneile A. Davis is a Field Associate for Field Innovations at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Davis will help the team manage day-to-day support of the National Network’s sites, support the process of law enforcement data collection and analysis; and assist site leadership in organizing direct communication with individuals involved in street violence.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Davis worked as an Associate Consultant at Bain and Company in Chicago, IL where she crafted an operational improvement strategy at for a $7B industrial client, developed a 10-year growth strategy for a national, education-based nonprofit, and led undergraduate minority consulting recruitment at Penn and advised on Bain minority retention strategy. Ms. Davis has also served as the Head Research Assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, Political Science Department.

Ms. Davis holds a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated magna cum laude.  

Jacqueline Crowell

Project Assistant, Field Innovations

(212) 887-6193

Jacqueline Crowell is a Project Assistant at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Crowell is responsible for supporting day-to-day operations including scheduling, event planning, and public communication.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Crowell served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ankazobe, Madagascar where she taught English as a second language. She also worked as a Special Projects Intern with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism and a Research Assistant with the Maryland Population Research Center and the Center for American Politics and Citizenship.

Ms. Crowell holds a BA in Government and Politics and Philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park where she graduated summa cum laude. 

David Noble

Communications Associate

(212) 621-3713

David Noble is a Communications Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Mr. Noble is responsible for supporting the organization's media strategy; assisting in the production of written materials; maintaining the National Network's online communications; and facilitating media and public speaking requests.

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Noble worked at Treato where he wrote and edited articles, managed the company’s social media platforms and supported the CEO in communications tasks. He also worked with Grassroot Soccer in Cape Town, South Africa where he helped draft annual reports for partner organizations and co-authored a report detailing suggestions for improving sustainability for the organization’s Peace Corps partnerships.

Mr. Noble holds a BA in History from Yale University and speaks fluent French.  

Amy Cross

Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention

(212) 393-6366

Amy Cross is a Field Adviser for the Group Violence Intervention at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Cross is responsible for providing day-to-day support to National Network’s sites through hands-on strategic advisement to project managers and law enforcement executives; managing the process of law enforcement data collection and analysis; and assisting site leadership to organize direct communication with individuals involved in street violence.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Cross worked as a Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York, NY where she was represented indigent persons accused of felonies, misdemeanors and violations in criminal proceedings in Bronx and Kings County Criminal and Supreme Court. Ms. Cross has also served as a Legal Intern at both the Center for Court Innovation and the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Ms. Cross holds a BA in American Studies with a concentration in Race and Ethnicity from Smith College, a MEd in Special Education from the City University of New York, Queens College, and a JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. 

Jefferson Pinerio

Research Associate

(212) 393-6124

Jefferson Pinerio is a Research Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Mr. Pinerio is responsible for generating regular data reports and supporting the day-to-day management of partner site data, both for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions and for use by the Group Violence Intervention team, in order to illuminate crime trends and support innovation to core strategies. 

Prior to joining the staff, Mr. Pinerio served as a data intern for the National Network.

Mr. Pinerio holds a BA in Sociology and a MA in Criminology, Law & Society both from Villanova University. 

Heather Conley

Special Projects Associate

(212) 621-3765

Heather Conley is a Special Projects Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities.  Working closely with the directors and senior staff, Ms. Conley is responsible for overseeing and managing a variety of projects including outreach to and coordinating with external National Network partners. Additionally, Ms. Conley is responsible for facilitating internal communication between staff, and providing opportunities for professional growth for staff members.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Conley spent over 20 years working as a freelance photographer in Los Angeles and New York, specializing in portraits for editorial and advertising clients with a more recent emphasis on work that highlighted issues pertaining to social and criminal justice.  Her clients have included Time, Rolling Stone, W Magazine, Essence and the Innocence Project.

Ms. Conley is currently pursuing a BA in Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Alessandro Nardi

Executive Assistant

(212) 621-4077

Alessandro Nardi is the Executive Assistant to Director David Kennedy and Deputy Director Amy Crawford. Mr. Nardi is responsible for providing personalized secretarial, administrative, and operational support to Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Crawford.

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Nardi worked as the Office Manager of Smart Business Solutions where he was responsible for assisting clients and supporting the day-to-day functions of the business owner. He has also worked as a Legal Secretary with James, Schwartz, and Associates in Philadelphia, PA where he supported attorneys with office management and legal research tasks.

Mr. Nardi holds a BA in Political Science from Binghamton University in New York.  

Laurie A. Grieco

Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention

Laurie Grieco is a Group Violence Intervention Field Advisor for the National Network for Safe Communities. She is responsible for providing technical assistance and support for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions, providing strategic advising and data management to sites implementing strategies to reduce violence and community disorder.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Grieco worked as a Senior Training Technician at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. She served as a program representative for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination Unit and worked with local law enforcement to implement evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence. Ms. Grieco also served as a Certified Police Officer in Westport, Connecticut for four years. 

Ms. Grieco holds an AD in Liberal Arts and Humanities from Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York, a BS in Criminal Justice Counseling from Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, and a MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

ShanaKay Salmon

Project Assistant, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution

(212) 887-6195

ShanaKay Salmon is a Project Assistant for the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP). Ms. Salmon is responsible support day-to-day operations including scheduling, event planning, and public communication.

Prior to joining the IIP, Ms. Salmon worked as an Administrative Assistant and an Investigative Assistant with Advanced Investigation, LLC in New Haven, Connecticut. At Advanced Investigation, she was responsible for case intake and the creation of case files, conducting background searches, conducting surveillance with field investigators, and liaising with various police departments. 

Ms. Salmon holds a BA in Criminology with a concentration in International Affairs from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, and a MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Victimology from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.   

Kyle Ott

Research Analyst

(212) 393-6436

Kyle Ott is a Research Analyst with the National Network for Safe Communities. He is responsible for conducting analysis and generating regular data reports—both for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions and for use by the strategic operations and policy team—to illuminate crime trends and support innovations to core strategies. He will also develop data management and analysis protocols that support the ongoing implementation of the National Network’s crime reduction strategies in partner sites.

Prior to joining the National Network, Kyle worked as a Research Assistant with the Hertie School of Governance and the German Institute for Economic Research, both in Berlin, Germany. His work included generating data visualizations to present simple stories, analysis of field experiments and longitudinal data sets, and building and testing new models. Kyle has also worked as an Associate in Research at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy where he focused on education and immigration policy.

Kyle holds a BA/BS in History and Economics from Duke University and an MPP with a concentration in Social Policy Analysis from the Hertie School of Governance.

Rachel Locke

Director, International Interventions

(646) 557-4561

Rachel Locke is the Director of International Interventions at the National Network for Safe Communities. She is responsible for assisting with the management and implementation of the strategic agenda of the National Network. In her role, Ms. Locke brings the National Network's expertise in violence reduction to the international space through practical applications as well as policy discussion and research development. Ms. Locke provides direct technical assistance and support for National Network partner jurisdictions, providing strategic advising to sites implementing strategies to reduce violence and community disorder.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Locke worked as a Senior Policy Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development where she was responsible for developing and representing Agency-wide policy on issues concerning conflict, violence and fragility. She also led USAID research and policy on crime, conflict, and fragility. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Locke served as a Technical Advisor and Economic Development Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee where she was based in Kenya and Uganda. In her work with the IRC, Ms. Locke designed programs to support increased economic opportunity and developed guide material to aid strategic the implementation process.

Ms. Locke holds a BA in International Relations with a concentration in Africa and Latin America. She also holds a MA in International Affairs from Columbia University, Graduate School of International and Public Affairs with a concentration in political development and humanitarian intervention and a regional focus on Africa. She has also published a variety of articles and other works focusing on humanitarian aid, conflict and transnational organized crime. 

Meg Reiss

Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution

(646) 781-5121

Meg Reiss is the Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution. Ms. Reiss is works with prosecutors, law enforcement experts, scholars, community and civic leaders, and others in the criminal justice field to reflect upon and drive innovation within the role and function of the office of the prosecutor. With more than 20 years of legal and criminal justice policy experience, Reiss has played a variety of roles as a prosecutor.  She has been a senior trial and investigative attorney, administrative division chief, policy advocate, project manager, and political leader.  

Ms. Reiss began her legal career in New York City as an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, finishing her tenure in the homicide bureau. Ms. Reiss has also served as a deputy monitor on the Kroll Inc. team that supervised the Los Angeles Police Department’s compliance with a landmark federal consent decree, overseeing the implementation of anti-discrimination, arrest, officer training, and community outreach policies and procedures. She later served in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office as the chief of staff, where she was number two to the former District Attorney. In Nassau County, she worked to broaden the role of the county prosecutor’s office to include crime prevention and criminal justice reform.  By developing and implementing initiatives that paired research data with partnerships between the community, police, local government, social service providers and prosecutors, the office drove crime decreases and improved police-community relations in Nassau County. More recently,  Ms. Reiss has advised on the Group Violence Intervention strategy that was implemented in three boroughs in London and led a team monitoring HSBC Holdings as part of a deferred prosecution agreement for violations of U.S. and U.K. laws involving money laundering and sanctions violations. Additionally, she sat on a five-member independent ethics panel overseeing the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom. 

Ms. Reiss holds a JD from Brooklyn Law School and a BA from Colgate University. 

Mariana Sant’Anna

Events and Purchasing Associate

(212) 887-6110

Mariana Sant’Anna is an Events and Purchasing Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Sant’Anna is responsible for managing administration and logistics of various internal and external events. This will include routine and impromptu purchases made by the National Network from its affiliated vendors such as preparing and processing purchase orders or purchase requests, keeping records of purchases, keeping vendor information up to date, and providing training on related applications and policies.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Sant’Anna worked as the Development Coordinator at Sponsors for Education Opportunity where she maintained a fundraising and alumni database, donor files, managed and tracked gift information, and provided administrative support for all events. 

Ms. Sant’Anna holds a BA in Psychology from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, City University of New York, where she graduated with honors. 

Ahmad Dowla

Director, Operations & Finance

(212) 621-3791

Ahmad Dowla is the Director of Operations & Finance for the National Network for Safe Communities where he provides leadership to the organization's operations and finance teams and works closely with senior management to provide operational and fiscal analysis and guidance on all organizational activities, plans, and targets.

Mr. Dowla is responsible for ensuring that the Network's financial and operational systems are robust, compliant, and support both current activities and future growth; allocating materials and human resources; evaluating overall fiscal performance; establishing internal policies; leading, developing, and implementing technology initiatives to support the National Network's mission; and regularly assessing the efficiency of the organization's procedures and systems.

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Dowla spent 10 years at the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit public policy think tank dedicated to reducing inequality, increasing economic mobility, and growing the economy in New York City. He served in various capacities including his most recent role as Deputy Director where he was responsible for the organization's strategic planning, project management, external relations, and overall operations. Since 2011, Mr. Dowla has also served as a business, technology, and design consultant for a variety of nonprofits and small businesses, helping clients realize their organizational visions through innovative and comprehensive operational solutions.

Rachel Teicher

Director, Intimate Partner Violence Intervention

(212) 393-6356

Rachel Teicher is the Director of the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention (IPVI) for the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Teicher works primarily with the Strategic Operations and Policy team and is responsible for consulting cities that are implementing IPVI. She provides hands-on strategic advising to project managers and law enforcement executives; supports the management of the process of law enforcement data collection and analysis; and assists in site leadership to organize direct communication with survivors of domestic violence and individual offenders. She works closely with National Network partners and staff to develop resources and materials related to IPVI.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Teicher worked as the Director of Strategic Coordination in the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. She helped develop new initiatives in concert with various community partners and was responsible for managing the agency’s four Self-Sufficiency programs focusing on a wide range of victim concerns. Ms. Teicher also served as the Outreach Director in the Office of External Affairs at the New York City Department of Social Services where she developed and managed a new community outreach initiative addressing issues of economic inequality, food insecurity, and emergency assistance.

Ms. Teicher holds a JD from Hofstra Law School, a MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, School of Arts and Science, and a BA in Sociology from Haverford College. 

Kate Supino

Associate Director, Finance

(212) 393-6367

Kate Supino is the Associate Director of Finance for the National Network for Safe Communities. She oversees complicated grants and serves as key resource for problem solving with internal and external offices. Ms. Supino is responsible for the distribution of grant expenses and reimbursements, staying current and compliant with the changes in the Federal/State Regulations governing grant management, producing reports for funders, overseeing the process of reimbursements to ensure compliance with requirements and guidelines of any particular grant.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Supino worked in the New York State Office of the Inspector General, where she analyzed state government expenditures, prepared investigators' court testimony, and performed policy research and analysis for investigators, attorneys and auditors.

Ms. Supino received her BA in International Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is completing her MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Randell Strickland

Assistant Project Manager

(312) 745-6149

Randell Strickland is the Assistant 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.

Mr. Strickland is an educator by training with a teaching background in Social Studies, Political Science, African-American Studies, Museum-based education and International Studies with a focus on the African Diaspora. He has had the pleasure of practicing his craft at both his undergraduate and graduate school institutions, The Field Museum, as well as in Chicago Public Schools.

He has spent the bulk of his career in Juvenile Justice focusing on administration, advocacy, policy and legislative reform in Illinois. In those capacities he has worked with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department, The MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative, and the Governor’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Randell also served on the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission from 2010 to 2013.

Since 2008, Randell has been a Restorative Justice practitioner, trained in conducting peace circles and establishing youth peer juries. He served as a Dean of Restorative Justice in the Chicago Public Schools from 2012-2015. One of his current and most challenging roles yet is as an international student exchange host for a 6’10 high school basketball player from Giza, Egypt.

Mr. Strickland holds a BA in Political Science and Modern Languages (French, Spanish) from Knox College where he graduated cum. He also did graduate work in American Public Law & Comparative Politics at the University of Michigan. 

Paul Smith

Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention

(646) 781-5127

Paul Smith is a Group Violence Intervention Field Advisor with the National Network for Safe Communities. He is responsible for providing direct technical assistance and support for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions, providing strategic advising and data management to sites implementing strategies to reduce violence and community disorder.

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Smith worked as the Public Safety Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga. He was responsible for managing Chattanooga’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy and coordinated with city officials, law enforcement, social service providers and community members to develop and implement the strategy. Mr. Smith was also the Executive Principal of Howard School where he supervised two deputy principals, a program director, four vice-principals, ninety-four teachers, and twenty-six support staff for approximately eleven-hundred students. During Mr. Smith’s tenure, Howard School increased the graduation rate from 46% to 88% and reduced truancy from 83% to 17%.

Mr. Smith holds a M.Ed. in Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University , a MA in Ethnic Studies from Covington Theological Seminary, and a BS in Secondary Education from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

Silvana S. Bill

Project Associate, Chicago VRS

(312) 745-6149

Silvana S. Bill a Project Associate for 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. Bill is a native of Peru and has lived in Chicago, Illinois since 2001. Her prior experience includes having served as Outreach Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Mrs. Bill’s bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. Silvana and her husband Jeff have a son, Zachary Nicolas. She enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time with her family and furry son Benji.  

Ms. Bill holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Saint Mary in Perú.

Veronica N. Vera

Finance Associate

(212) 484-1364

Veronica N. Vera is a Finance Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Vera assists in the administration of grant and financial operations, including coordinating the reimbursement process; maintaining compliance with regulations, contact with administrators, and organization of fund disbursement and reimbursement; and tracking and executing reporting requirements.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Vera worked as the Operations Manager at Dos Caminos Restaurant in New York City where she oversaw personnel administration and day-to-day management.

Ms. Vera holds an A.S. in Culinary Arts and a B.S. in Food Service Management, both from Johnson and Wales University. 

Stephen Lurie

Research & Policy Associate

(212) 393-6447

Stephen Lurie is a Research & Policy Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Working primarily as a case writer, he is responsible for researching, reporting on, and writing about the status of new and innovative work in progress at National Network project sites across the country. He supports the development of new approaches to public safety and spread of information between National Network partner cities. 

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Lurie wrote about criminal justice, politics, and labor as a freelance journalist, and worked as a Research Fellow at the World Justice Project in Washington, DC.

He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Meaghan McDonald

Director, Group Violence Intervention

(646) 557-4560

Meaghan McDonald is the Group Violence Intervention Director at the National Network for Safe Communities. She is responsible for managing direct technical assistance and support for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions, providing strategic advising and data management to sites implementing strategies to reduce violence and community disorder.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. McDonald worked in the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Public Safety in Philadelphia as part of the Focused Deterrence Group Violence Intervention strategy. As the Community Outreach Coordinator, she worked to establish community and social service provider partners to increase knowledge of and support for the strategy. She also spent four years working at Saint Joseph’s University, most recently as the Senior Analyst in the Office of Enrollment Management.

Ms. McDonald received her MA in Criminal Justice and her BS in Sociology both from Saint Joseph’s University.

Sam Kuhn

Field Advisor, National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

(212) 393-6307

Sam Kuhn is a Field Advisor with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Mr. Kuhn is responsible for providing hands on advising to the National Initiative's six pilot sites and executing the field research and publication of a practical guide to enhancing police legitimacy and community-law enforcement collaboration in cities across the country. 

Prior to joining the National Network, Mr. Kuhn was a Research Assistant for Conflict Dynamics International in Cambridge, MA, where he supported their work on developing sustainable governance arrangement options in Sudan and Somalia. He also helped develop the National Network’s research on procedural justice and police legitimacy as an intern in the summer of 2013.

Mr. Kuhn holds a BA in Government and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University. 

Debra Higens

Project Manager, Chicago VRS

(312) 745-6148

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.

Christopher Mallette

Executive Director, Chicago VRS

(773) 991-7101

Christopher Mallette is the Executive Director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy. The Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy seeks to dramatically reduce group and gang violence in the City of Chicago.  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.

Prior to assuming this role with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Mr. Mallette served in the Mayor’s Office as the Director of Community Safety Initiatives, where he focused on youth violence prevention, juvenile justice, gang intervention and prevention, and ex-offender reentry initiatives. Before his appointment to the Mayor’s Office, Mr. Mallette served as the Executive Director of Chicago’s Juvenile Intervention Support Center. 

Mr. Mallette has devoted his life to advocating for social justice and serving residents and children in urban communities.  He has also served the City of Chicago as an Assistant Corporation Counsel; the Faith Community of St. Sabina as General Counsel, Executive Director of the youth center, and Athletic Director; and the Chicago Public Schools as a Magnet Schools Cluster Coordinator. He has been a featured guest on ABC’s Nightline, the CBS Evening News, Fox in the Morning news broadcast, CNN, and Fox News Hannity and Colmes. Mr. Mallette is a Princeton University graduate and received his Law Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He and his wife Kendall have four children: Luke, age 16, Zion, age 14, Judah, age 9, and Levi, age 6.

Michael Friedrich

Senior Research & Policy Associate

(646) 557-4794

Michael Friedrich is the Senior Reserach & Policy Associate at the National Network for Safe Communities. Mr. Friedrich supervises the research, writing, and publication processes of the National Network's policy and research materials, and supports the development of new and emerging approaches to public safety and trust building. His team has produced practitioner guides, white papers, and other policy documents in addition to monitoring innovative strategies and new trends across the field criminal justice. 

Mr. Friedrich also helps manage the dissemination of information between National Network partner sites to build a community of practice around the organization's principles and approach to public safety. 

Mr. Friedrich holds BA from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Sue-Lin Wong

Managing Director, Field Innovations; Associate Project Director, National Initiative

(646) 557-4796

Sue-Lin Wong is the Associate Project Director of the National Initiative for Building Commuity Trust and Justice, and the Managing Director of Field Innovations at the National Network for Safe Communities. Ms. Wong participated in the team that launched the National Network. She leads the strategic planning for direct technical assistance and support for the National Network's partner jurisdictions utilizing emerging interventions, and provides strategic advising and data management to those sites. 

During her tenure at the National Network, Ms. Wong also held a research fellow position at the US-Asia Law Institute of New York University, where she conducted policy analysis on the state of death penalty reforms in Taiwan, prepared written reports for the Ford Foundation, developed strategies for working in China, fostered partnerships between academic institutes in China and research institutes in the US, and developed empirical research approaches for future pilot projects. Prior to that, Ms. Wong was an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice through the school's undergraduate honors program.

Ms. Wong received her MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her BS in Psychology from State University of New York, Buffalo. 

Zhi Ying Chang

Associate Director, Operations

(212) 393-6317

Ying Chang is the Associate Director of Operations for the National Network for Safe Communities. She is responsible for organizing conferences and workshops, both in the New York office and across the country, supporting travel arrangements for staff and their partners, and managing the schedules of the National Network's senior staff. Additionally, Ms. Chang coordinates with departmental staff to ensure smooth daily operations of the office.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Chang was the Senior Director of Product Development for Chloe and Isabel Inc., which creates and sells costume jewelry. There, she established product development for the new start-up company, authored web content for the e-commerce site, and developed operational procedures that increased efficiency across the departments.

Ms. Chang received her BA in Business Administration, Market/Advertising from Touro College in New York, NY.

Louisa Aviles

Associate Director, Group Violence Intervention

(212) 393-6421

Louisa Aviles is the Associate Director of the Group Violence Intervention at the National Network for Safe Communities. She is responsible for supporting the management of direct technical assistance and support for the National Network’s partner jurisdictions, providing strategic advising and data management to sites implementing strategies to reduce violence and community disorder.

Prior to joining the National Network, Ms. Aviles worked in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and was an advisor on the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI). There, she oversaw YMI programming and policy reforms specifically in the areas of educational achievement, school discipline, mentoring and violence reduction. She also spent three years working as an analyst in the Office of Management Analysis and Planning in the New York City Police Department.

Ms. Aviles received her MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College and her BS in International Politics from Georgetown University.

Amy Crawford

Deputy Director

(646) 557-4795

Amy Crawford is the Deputy Director of the National Network for Safe Communities, an action-research center at John Jay College focusing on working with jurisdictions around the United States and internationally to strengthen communities and enhance public safety. In her role as deputy director, she oversees the implementation and innovations of the National Network strategies to reduce violence, minimize arrest and incarceration, enhance legitimacy, and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and communities. She is also  responsible for the organization's strategic planning, external relations, and overall operations. She is a frequent spokesperson and has presented at numerous conferences and panel discussions on the work of the National Network. Additionally, Ms. Crawford is serving as the acting Project Director of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. 

Previously, Ms. Crawford served as the deputy director at the Center for an Urban Future, a public policy organization that focuses on economic and workforce development. She also served as a public defender and as the director of development and pro bono at the Bronx Defenders, an innovative legal services organization located in the South Bronx in New York City.

Ms. Crawford holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

David Kennedy

Director

(212) 484-1323

David M. Kennedy is the Director of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY.

He led the Boston Gun Project, whose "Operation Ceasefire" intervention was responsible for a 63 percent reduction in youth homicide victimization and has since been effectively implemented in numerous cities as the Group Violence Intervention (GVI). His work in Boston won the Ford Foundation Innovations in Government award; two Herman Goldstein International Awards for Problem-Oriented Policing, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Webber Seavey Award. He developed the Drug Market Intervention (DMI) which also won an Innovations in Government Award. He helped design and field the Justice Department’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative, the Treasury Department’s Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Drug Market Intervention Program.

He co-founded the National Network for Safe Communities, an alliance of more than 50 jurisdictions committed to strategies that combine the best of law enforcement and community-driven approaches to improve public safety, minimize arrests and incarceration, enhance police legitimacy, and rebuild relationships between law enforcement and distressed communities.

He is the author of Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction, co-author of Beyond 911: A New Era for Policing, and a wide range of articles on gang violence, drug markets, domestic violence, firearms trafficking, deterrence theory, and other public safety issues. His latest book, Don’t Shoot, One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011.