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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the appointment of Annastasia M. Walker as the Executive Director of the City’s Office of Public Safety Administration (OPSA). As the Executive Director under the new office, Walker will oversee efforts to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and improve administrative functions across the City’s three public safety departments, including the Chicago Police Department (CPD), Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).
“For nearly two decades, Annastasia M. Walker has served this City proudly through a host of roles that have made our public safety departments not only stronger but more efficient at every level,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Walker’s expertise and leadership will ensure that through the new Office of Public Safety Administration, this City is maximizing police, fire and emergency management resources in a coordinated and collective effort that will make a safer Chicago for all residents.”
Walker brings nearly 20 years of experience leading high-level emergency management and public safety administrative operations in Chicago. Working at OEMC and currently serving as the Chief Administrative Officer at CFD, Walker has managed budget processes, federal grant initiatives, intergovernmental affairs and operations for the public safety departments. Serving as OPSA’s first Executive Director, she will lead the City’s efforts to centralize administrative support and resources from all three public safety departments in an effort to streamline operational efficiencies citywide.
“I am honored to serve as the Executive Director for this new office so that we can build a safer and stronger Chicago by ensuring the efficiency of our public safety operations,” said Annastasia M. Walker, incoming Executive Director of the Office of Public Safety Administration. “I look forward to working alongside our police, fire and emergency response leaders on strategies that will reduce costs, streamline operations and increase efficiencies so that Chicago’s first responders can focus on protecting and serving Chicago’s communities.”
Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the new office was delayed from its original launch date in May, and will now launch this fall. As part of the launch, approximately 280 civilian staff from the finance, human resources, information technology and logistics divisions will be integrated within the new Office of Public Safety Administration, which will be housed at Chicago’s Public Safety Headquarters.
Under Walker’s leadership, the new office will further help the City achieve efficiencies and cost savings across public safety departments ahead of the City’s 2021 Budget. The new office will also be responsible for managing the administrative functions of the public safety departments.
Previously, each of the department’s operational and data-tracking systems were built and designed to meet only the needs of their own individual use, often leading to incompatibility, inefficient use of resources and higher costs for unstructured operational procedures and services that affect all City first responders. The new Office of Public Safety Administration will allow first responders from all three departments to benefit from improved administrative support and additional resources.
Mayor Lightfoot announced the creation of the new office last fall as part of a broader modernization effort aimed at better supporting Chicago's first responders so that they can focus on the core work of protecting and serving Chicago’s communities. The launch of the office this fall will build on the City’s ongoing reorganizational efforts to place more sworn officers and uniform fire personnel back to the streets and closer to the communities they serve.