Hancock announces changes at Denver safety department

Stephanie O’Malley, the Denver Department of Public Safety’s executive director, is stepping down from the role to become a special assistant to Mayor Michael Hancock.
4 min. read
Mayor Michael Hancock speaks at a press conference concerning new leadership for Denver’s Department of Public Safety, Feb. 5, 2018. New director Troy Riggs is immediately left of Hancock, while former director Stephanie O’Malley is at right. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Mayor Michael Hancock stands at center. New public safety director Troy Riggs is immediately left of Hancock, while former director Stephanie O'Malley is at right. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Stephanie O'Malley, the Denver Department of Public Safety's executive director, is stepping down from her role to become a special assistant to Mayor Michael Hancock, officials announced today.

She will be replaced by Troy Riggs, who joined the department late last year as deputy director. At a press conference, Riggs promised a "light at the end of the tunnel" for ongoing reforms at the sheriff's department.

O'Malley's transition:

O'Malley had overseen the police, sheriff's and fire departments since December 2013. She'll now work as special assistant to the mayor focused on minority- and women-owned businesses.

Hancock said that staying on the safety job for four years was an "amazing" feat. "In fact, it's one of the hardest jobs in city government," he said, adding that her leadership had benefited the department.

O'Malley was recently inquiring about new jobs at Denver International Airport and as a judge, according to CBS4 reporter Brian Maass.

In her new role, she'll work to maximize women- and minority-owned businesses' opportunities to benefit from the city's massive wave of infrastructure investment.

"We should not let this era pass," without maximizing community benefits, Hancock said.

O'Malley will be working alongside existing city staff in the Office of Economic Development, who are tasked with a similar mission. Her job will be to "continue to remind everyone of the priorities we've set," acting as an advocate for the mayor's goals of economic inclusion, the mayor said.

O'Malley is a graduate of Howard University and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Previously, she was elected as the county clerk and subsequently served as deputy chief of staff to Hancock. She is daughter of former mayor Wellington Webb and previously served on the board of the Denver Urban Redevelopment Authority among other duties.

O'Malley thanked Hancock and the city's safety staff. Her new salary will be $145,000 per year, compared to the $168,861 she was making as public safety director, according to the mayor's office. Her new salary will be paid from the mayor's office budget.

Riggs will make $168,861 in his new role as public safety director.

Stephanie O’Malley. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
The new guy:

"This happening this soon is sort of a surprise to me," Troy Riggs told reporters on Monday, adding that he didn't actually know his new salary.

He's been at the department for about three months. His previous roles included director of public safety for Indianapolis. In Denver, he'll oversee continued efforts to review and reform the sheriff's department.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel," he said. " ... We think our city will become safer and we think our city will become a place where all our citizens have an opportunity to succeed."

Troy Riggs. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

He also will deal with the fallout -- if there is any -- of the current independent investigation into Chief Robert White and deputy chief Matt Murray's handling of an internal-affairs investigation and subsequent open records request.

Riggs previously worked as chief of staff for Robert White in Louisville, but he said his judgment would be impartial. And the mayor will handle the decision about any punishment of White, if it comes to that, Hancock said. The investigation had no relation to O'Malley's change of jobs, Hancock said.

"Our process is long and laborious," Hancock said. "We hope that it concludes very soon."

Mayor Michael Hancock (right) answer questions about an investigation of Chief Robert White (left). (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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