The Department of Public Safety (DOS) is comprised of agencies and administrative support functions that are unified under the Executive Director of Safety. The Executive Director and his team strive to improve department-wide collaboration, efficiency, customer service, accountability/transparency and innovation through independent, civilian oversight.
Troy Riggs joined the Department of Public Safety in November 2017, bringing 30 years of experience and a national reputation for excellence and innovation in public safety.
During his career, Executive Director Riggs has developed data-based practices to address the degradation of residents’ quality of life, expanded community-government engagement, assisted with the successful merger of government services, and established operational efficiencies while increasing productivity.
He has held the positions of Police Chief and Director of Public Safety in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the positions of Police Chief and Assistant City Manager in Corpus Christi, Texas. He also served as a police officer for 20 years, working his way from recruit to Assistant Chief and Chief of Staff during that time.
Most recently, Executive Director Riggs served as the Vice-President of Sagamore Institute where he oversaw day-to-day operations and advanced strategies to support innovations in criminal justice.
His experience in public service is further complemented by his commitment to community engagement. He has received many leadership and community awards, including recognition by the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Executive Director Riggs is a Political Science graduate of the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky and he holds an EMBA from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife Kara have been married for over 25 years and have two sons, David and Caleb.
Jess Vigil joined the Department of Public Safety as Deputy Director of Police Discipline in April 2012. A former retired District and County Court Judge, Vigil brings extensive legal and judicial experience to the department.
Vigil’s responsibilities include reviewing investigative files, making recommendations, and overseeing disciplinary proceedings and other administrative matters for the Denver Police Department. Additionally, he prepares and presents public reports on use of force and other disciplinary actions, and develops, implements, and maintains training programs.
From 1976-1978, Vigil worked as an Oral Examiner for Denver’s Civil Service Commission. In 1979, he joined the United States Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division. In 1980, Vigil served as Deputy State Public Defender for the Colorado State Public Defender, in both Pueblo and Denver. He left the Public Defender’s Office in 1984 to join the Adams County Attorney’s Office, and he headed the litigation unit until he was appointed to the Adams County Court bench in 1985.
Vigil has over twenty years of judicial experience, including seven years on the Adams County Court and 13 years on the District Court for the 17th Judicial District. He also served as a relief judge for several municipalities, including Aurora, Commerce City, Littleton, and Wheat Ridge.
In addition, Vigil has participated on numerous boards and commissions, including the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, the Colorado Judicial Department Board of Personnel Review, and as Co-Chair of the Colorado Judicial Department Court Improvement Committee.
Vigil attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 1970-1974. He received a B.A. from the University of Southern Colorado, 1975, and a J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law, 1978. Vigil enjoys hunting, fishing, and camping with his children, Juan, Elena and Isabelle.
Laura Wachter joined Department of Public Safety in November 2011 as Deputy Director of Administration. Since that time, Wachter has provided policy oversight and strategic planning for 911 Communications, Community Corrections, Youth Programs and Human Resources.
In addition, she has established department-wide efficiency, saving and performance metrics; helped develop a department-wide strategic plan; and collaborated with the Police and Sheriff Departments to implement Peak Performance and their strategic resource alignment projects.
Wachter began her career as a budget analyst with the City of Kansas City, Missouri and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to become the Financial Manager for the State of Arizona School Facilities board in 2002, where she successfully prepared an annual $918.8 million budget request for the Governor, and created a 5-year strategic plan that incorporated revenue models, expenditure trend forecasts, and performance measures.
In 2004, Wachter was hired by the City of Phoenix to coordinate a $4.9 billion 5-year capital improvement plan. After the plan was successfully implemented, she joined Denver’s Budget Management Office at the end of 2004 as a Senior Financial Management Analyst.
Over the next six years, Wachter became an indispensable part of the Budget Management Office, and an essential departmental liaison to the Department of Safety. She was promoted to Budget and Management Supervisor in 2007 and served as Manager of Budget Operations from 2009-2011.
Wachter has served on numerous boards and task forces, including the Denver Asset Building Coalition and Property Confiscation Board. She has also been a Collective Bargaining team member since she joined the City of Denver in 2004.
In 1995, Wachter received a B.A. in Mathematics and Political Science with Honors from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Four years later, she earned a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management, with Distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wachter and her husband, Mark, have two children, Zach and Quinn.
Eric Williams joined the Department of Public Safety in June 2018. He returned home to Denver from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, D.C., where he served as an advisor to FBI directors James B. Comey and Christopher A. Wray, as well as Bureau executive management.
In the Deputy Director role, Williams will continue the Department’s critical work to strengthen the public’s confidence and trust in Denver’s safety agencies. He will focus on fortifying important relationships with the community and other stakeholders to improve processes and, in turn, safety throughout Denver.
Williams will also advance initiatives, goals and objectives for the Department which foster innovation and a culture of inclusivity, accountability, and ethical behavior. As a vital resource to safety staff, he will work closely with executive leadership to ensure that both public input and mayoral objectives are successfully implemented. He will also focus on coordinated activities between first responders across Denver’s emergency response system to promote collaboration and efficient operations.
Prior to returning to Denver, Williams served as a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI, where he advised international law enforcement partners on significant investigations concerning the United States and West African countries. Prior to this assignment, he spent over a decade in various roles at the FBI. From managing the FBI’s relationships with many of its oversight committees in the U.S. Congress as the Unit Chief in the Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) to leading high-priority criminal and national security investigations, Williams has been instrumental in protecting our country at one of the top federal law enforcement agencies in the United States.
While in the OCA, Williams was detailed to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee as Counsel, where he advised Members of Congress on effective methods to combat public corruption, terrorism, and color of law violations. Additionally, he worked with staff to advance legislation concerning criminal justice reform, international data sharing, and the provision of protective gear for first responders.
Williams is a Colorado native who grew up in the Denver metro area. He is a licensed attorney and U.S. Navy veteran who earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado, School of Law, Boulder, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Williams and his wife, Erin, have two children.
The Executive Director is the highest authority in the Department of Safety. Similar to a “Board of Directors,” Mr. Riggs and his deputies provide oversight, leadership and guidance to the Department’s individual Chiefs and Directors. They require accountability, guide policy decisions, assist in developing long-term goals, and improve public safety service delivery throughout the Department’s entire spectrum of services. In addition, the Director’s Office is responsible for issuing fair and unbiased discipline decisions on behalf of the Fire, Police and Sheriff Departments.