State Appoints 1st Community Violence Intervention Chief

Jennifer DeLaCruz

LANSING – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Jennifer DeLaCruz as the director of the newly created Office of Community Violence Intervention Services. 

“As a former prosecutor, protecting public safety is a top priority for me,” Whitmer said. “In this new role, (deLaCruz) will lead our statewide efforts to reduce gun violence and save lives. Jennifer’s extensive background in community violence prevention and proactive approach to building partnerships will let us create a safer Michigan where every Michigander can thrive.” 

This office was created through an investment in Whitmer’s 2024 budget and is designed to partner with community-based organizations working to reduce violent incidents by providing grants and other resources to community violence prevention agencies. DeLaCruz will oversee a staff of four. 

“Jennifer is passionate about preventing community violence and has extensive knowledge of intervention strategies designed to prevent violence and reduce its adverse outcomes,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “She has long-established partnerships with local, state and national community violence intervention leaders and practitioners, which will help our department work together with communities to develop and implement programs designed to make communities safer.” 

DeLaCruz has been the state administrative manager in MDHHS’ Injury and Violence Prevention Section since 2015, serving as subject matter expert in overdose, suicide, sexual violence, and community violence intervention. Previously, she worked for Michigan State University’s School of Social Work, monitoring the educational progress of master’s level social work students, and as an MDHHS public health consultant, where she led diabetes and dementia policy and strategic planning through a contract with the Michigan Public Health Institute. 

She holds a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University.