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A First for Connecticut: Woman to Run State's Public Safety Operations

Dora B. Schriro comes to Connecticut from New York City, and is the only person in the nation to have led two state and two city correctional systems.

Dora B. Schriro has been named the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Credit: Governor's Office
Dora B. Schriro has been named the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Credit: Governor's Office
A press release from Governor Malloy's Office:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday announced that he has appointed Dora B. Schriro to serve as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).

Dr. Schriro is a nationally recognized leader in corrections and detention, and is widely praised for development of definitive policy analysis in the nation’s homeland security efforts and as an innovator in risk assessment and crime prevention. 

She has served in Washington, D.C., where she worked closely on the country’s homeland security efforts and is the only person in the nation to have led two state and two city correctional systems. She currently serves as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, a position that she held since 2009, having been appointed by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

“Dora Schriro is immensely qualified and has proven herself to be an exceptional leader in several states across the country, specifically when it comes to focusing on methods that reduce recidivism and lower crime," Malloy said. “Her efforts working directly with the victims of crime and developing innovative, state-of-the-art processes to reduce violence and keep offenders from returning to jail will be of great value to our state as we continue implementing these types of techniques.”

“In Connecticut," Malloy continued, "crime is at a 44-year low. Like most states, we have adopted proven best-practices and they are working. Community policing, modern technology and risk-reduction interventions for offenders are all paying off. We must build on these efforts, and work directly with members of our communities—particularly in our urban areas, where gun violence remains unacceptably high—to bring a stop to this type of violence. Dr. Schriro has made great efforts throughout her career focusing on these efforts, and I look forward to working with her and our state and local law enforcement communities to expand these practices.”

DESPP is responsible for management over all of the state’s public safety matters and is comprised of: 

  • the Division of State Police
  • the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security 
  • the Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications 
  • the Division of Scientific Services 
  • the Division of Police Officer Standards and Training Council
  • the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control

Dr. Schriro will succeed DESPP Commissioner Ruben Bradford, who last month announced his intention to retire on Feb. 1, 2014

With her appointment, she will become the first woman to head Connecticut’s public safety operations.

“It is a great honor and an exceptional opportunity to be selected by Governor Malloy to serve as Commissioner,” Dr. Schriro said.  “I have dedicated my career to public service and public safety and I look forward to working with the outstanding men and women who make up the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. We have all that it takes to preserve and improve the quality of life in communities throughout Connecticut—commitment to excellence, the resolve to persevere, and the capacity to excel.”

Bloomberg said, “Dora Schriro has been an integral part of our efforts to make New York City the safest big city in America.  Her dynamic strategies to reduce violence and her experience working people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system will be an asset for improving public safety as a whole in Connecticut. I want to congratulate Governor Malloy on a really terrific appointment.”

Prior to her service as Commissioner of New York City’s jail system, she served as Special Advisor to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Detention and Removal, and was the founding Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning for the department. In that role, she directed work on the department’s plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration detention system.

She also served six years as the Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, and eight years as Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections. In each state, she was the first woman selected to lead the agency.

From 1984-89, she served in the administration of New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch, first as Assistant to the Deputy Director in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and then as Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Correction.

Dr. Schriro earned a JD from St. Louis University, an EdD from Columbia University, a MS from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and a BA cum laude from Northeastern University. She has taught graduate level courses in law and criminal justice and published in the areas of correction and immigration innovation and systems reform throughout her career.

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