Reggie Moore speaks at a January 2021 press conference. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Reggie Moore speaks at a January 2021 press conference. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The head of the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) is stepping down.

Reggie Moore is taking a new job at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).

He’s led the city office since 2016, overseeing its growth from a two-person division of the Milwaukee Health Department to a nine-person team with connections across many city departments.

His impact in and outside of city government is notable. Under his leadership, the city developed the Blueprint for Peace, a strategic action plan of violence prevention measures intended to guide funding decisions, create benchmarks and coordinate action. With partners such as his new employer, Moore has also developed the 10-member 414Life violence interrupter team, which brings a public health focus to gun violence.

He’ll serve in the newly-created role of director of violence prevention policy and engagement within MCW’s Comprehensive Injury Center. The job includes a focus beyond just the city of Milwaukee.

“I’m excited about the impact we can have in our partnership with the city to elevate the health of our residents, as well as having an impact at the state and national level,” said Terri deRoon-Cassini, head of the injury center, in a press conference announcing the transitioning.

“Without a doubt, the work that Reggie has done throughout his entire career will continue,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. He praised Moore for giving his heart and soul to the city. “No mere mortal could do it.”

“This definitely has been a journey,” said Moore. “One year at OVP is like three.”

Moore was a near-constant presence at the large racial equity marches last summer, walking outside the group and helping defuse tense moments, and could be regularly spotted at anti-violence rallies and vigils.

“It’s been some of the most challenging I have done in my life,” said Moore. “The thing that gives me the most pride is that violence prevention has become a movement.”

Prior to his current role, Moore founded the Center for Youth Engagement in 2012 and, with his wife Sharlen Moore in 2000, Urban Underground. He served as executive director at both organizations for multiple years, with a stint as national director of youth activism & engagement at the Truth Initiative from 2007 to 2012.

“I am sad to see him leave, but I understand this an opportunity for him to elevate his work to another level,” said new health commissioner Kirsten Johnson. She pledged to uphold the work of the office.

“I think it’s in a very strong place,” said Moore of OVP. He said the timing was right to make the move given President Joe Biden‘s commitment to providing $5 billion for community-based violence prevention programs in the broader infrastructure bill. “I wouldn’t be transitioning if I didn’t have full faith in the city, the council, the mayor, the commissioner and team that’s in place.”

“I think we are on a pathway to transformation,” said Moore.

“We are going to miss you Reggie, but know you are not going far and that your heart and soul are in this community,” said Barrett.

The mayor declined to provide a timeline for naming Moore’s replacement. “This is a position that’s important to the community,” said Barrett, who noted he has already discussed possible replacements.

Moore succeeded Terry Perry in leading OVP. Perry was the founding director in 2008 and retired in 2016.

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