Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf names new public safety director

Venus Johnson (Photo: City)

OAKLAND (KTVU) -- Mayor Libby Schaaf on Tuesday announced that she has hired Venus D. Johnson as director of the city's Public Safety office, which works to curb violence in Oakland through crime prevention and policing strategy.

Johnson, who begins the job on Jan. 9, most recently served as a senior legal and policy advisor to former Attorney General Kamala Harris. In that role, Johnson represented the state justice department when dealing with California lawmakers.

"Venus has been one of Oakland’s finest champions in the legal and public safety community," Schaaf said in a written statement. "She brings significant experience with law enforcement at the local and state level, as well having as deep roots in communities across Oakland."

Johnson also previously worked as an Alameda County prosecutor who worked with crime victims.

The city's statement said Johnson will help implement the mayor's Comprehensive Community Safety Plan and work as the mayor's representative to other governmental agencies, including civic groups, Oakland school board and other city agencies.

The position is part of the mayor's cabinet and is the first public safety director appointed in Schaaf's administration.