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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Walter Katz as Deputy Chief of Staff for public safety.
“Walter's professional background and perspective will allow him to help us continue to support our police while implementing necessary reforms to our public safety accountability systems,” said Mayor Emanuel. “His track record of building bridges among stakeholders demonstrates his ability to work collaboratively to tackle the complicated issues connected to ensuring public safety and underscores his deep commitment to enacting multifaceted solutions.”
Katz has served as the Independent Police Auditor for the City of San José since November 2015. There, he directed the independent oversight of police misconduct investigations, community outreach and development of policy recommendations. Previously, Katz served as a Deputy Inspector General for the County of Los Angeles Office of Inspector General (OIG), overseeing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Prior, he worked as an attorney at the OIG's predecessor agency, the Office of Independent Review, from 2010 to 2014. In those roles, he led the implementation LASD’s body-worn cameras, developed a framework for increased transparency in civilian complaint data to the public and reviewed disciplinary investigations.
“I look forward to joining Mayor Emanuel’s team to continue the city’s efforts to fight gun violence,” said Walter Katz. “Working with police rank and file as well as leadership, I look forward to helping to ensure that the department has the best recruit and in-service instruction, technology and data analysis tools, and interagency collaboration is my top priority.”
Katz has a record of partnering with police at all levels to support them in fighting violent crime and strengthening community trust. In addition, he brings experience modernizing data collection and analysis, that enhances police ability to conduct investigations. He has advised law enforcement agencies and municipalities in their reform efforts, including Oakland, Charleston, South Carolina and Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force. In 2016, the Department of Justice’s COPS office designated Mr. Katz an expert “field influencer,” in civilian oversight and use of force.
Katz is on the board of directors of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and is a co-chair of the Training, Education and Standards Committee. He
has written about models for independent investigations of police-related deaths in the Harvard Law Review and police accountability.
Prior to his work in civilian oversight, he was a deputy public defender in Southern California for seventeen years. He received his law degree from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific and his undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a native of Chicago.
Katz will start this role on April 10, 2017.