Civilian Oversight

The Executive Director is the highest authority in the Department of Safety. Similar to a “Board of Directors,” Ms. O'Malley and her deputies provide civilian 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.

About Executive Director of Safety, Stephanie O'Malley

Stephanie Y. O’Malley is a Denver native who grew up in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood.  She is a licensed attorney in the State of Colorado and received her law degree from the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law.  Ms. O’Malley graduated with honors from Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director of the Department of Safety, Ms. O’Malley served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Michael B. Hancock, after serving as Denver’s first elected Denver County Clerk and Recorder. 

As Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Michael B. Hancock, she served as an executive advisor to the Mayor and on his behalf engaged in a host of matters of public concern including direct engagement with Denver’s Police, Fire, and Sheriff’s departments, direct engagement with the Office of the Independent Monitor, collective bargaining, M/WBE considerations, arts and culture, homelessness, business operations and community engagement.  In her support to Mayor Hancock, Ms. O’Malley additionally strongly encouraged Mayor Hancock to advance considerations which ultimately became part of Denver’s successful Ballot Measure 2A. 

As Clerk and Recorder, Ms. O’Malley was solely responsible for oversight of all fiscal, operational, and policy driven responsibilities concerning Denver County elections, recordings, foreclosures, and city clerk functions.  In this role, she managed a multimillion dollar budget, a host of full time and temporary city employees, and created and successfully implemented “Denver Votes”, Denver’s current successful election platform that eliminated long lines and voting challenges for Denver voters.  In addition to her role as a Denver elected official, Ms. O’Malley has served the city of Denver as the Director of the Department of Excise and Licenses as an appointee of former Mayor John Hicklenlooper.

Ms. O’Malley currently serves on the Denver Urban Redevelopment Authority Board, the Zion Baptist Church Trustee Board, the Steering Committee for Forest Street Compassionate Care Center, and the advisory committee for the Denver School of Science and Technology.  She has previously served as a founding board member of DSST, the Denver Public School Citizens Bond Committee, and the Colorado Election Reform Commission.  Ms. O’Malley is the mother of two teenage sons, Patrick and Steven.

Jess Vigil joined the Department of Safety as Deputy Manager of Police Discipline on April 1, 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 the Manager of Safety’s Office in November 2011 as Deputy Manager 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.
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