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Mayor Johnson Elevates Garien Gatewood to Groundbreaking Role of Deputy Mayor for Community Safety

Gatewood to lead efforts addressing root causes of crime and violence in Chicago


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Garien Gatewood

CHICAGO , IL Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the appointment of Garien Gatewood as the City of Chicago’s Deputy Mayor of Community Safety. Gatewood, the first-ever Deputy Mayor of Community Safety, will lead cross-government initiatives to eliminate the underlying causes of crime and violence, while promoting a comprehensive and healing-centered approach to public safety.


According to Mayor Johnson, “Building a safer Chicago means addressing the root causes of crime with a comprehensive approach. As my Deputy Mayor for Community Safety, Garien Gatewood will help advance that vision and create safer neighborhoods throughout our city by investing in people, especially our youth. Garien’s extensive experience in supporting at-risk young Chicagoans will be vital in achieving our goal of a safer city and in fostering a holistic and healing-centered government response to violence.”

Gatewood expressed his gratitude for the opportunity, stating, “I am humbled by this opportunity to promote a holistic and comprehensive approach to community safety. Having worked with the young people of Chicago for years, I am confident that together we can realize a vision of a stronger, safer city that addresses the root causes of violence, offers support to both youth and adults, and uplifts every neighborhood.”

Gatewood currently serves as the Director of the Illinois Justice Project, where he has played a central role in developing strategies to empower youth and adults, provide support for returning residents, and shape policies in line with the Illinois SAFE-T Act. In his new role, he will play a critical part in implementing Mayor Johnson’s public safety vision, with a specific focus on community engagement and diversion programs.

Additionally, Gatewood was appointed by Governor J.B. Pritzker to serve on the board of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a state agency responsible for directing the development and coordination of programs aimed at enhancing public safety.

Prior to his position as Director of the Illinois Justice Project, Gatewood served as the Director of Policy at the Juvenile Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to legislation and policy reform for youth in Illinois.

Gatewood holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Jackson State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The role of Deputy Mayor for Community Safety was established by Mayor Johnson on his first day in office through his initial four executive orders. EO 2023-17 specifically designates the Deputy Mayor as responsible for coordinating and facilitating communication among all relevant City departments and officials in relation to the City’s endeavors to eliminate the root causes of crime, violence, and harm, while promoting a holistic and comprehensive approach to community safety.



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