Nichole Tillman, 215-888-2869; [email protected]
PHA Appoints Robert W. Clark as VP of Public Safety, an Inaugural Position Emphasizing Crime Prevention and Well-Being
The agency has reimagined public safety into a collaborative unit
(Philadelphia – April 11, 2023) — Robert W. Clark has been named Vice President of Public Safety at the Philadelphia Housing Authority, an inaugural position that emphasizes crime prevention, social justice, and community well-being.
Reporting to the Senior Executive Vice President, Public Safety, Audit and Compliance, and an advisor to the President & CEO, Clark will lead the transformation of PHA’s reimagined public safety initiative from the current policing model, to a new public safety structure focused on crime prevention, diversion, social justice, and creating and sustaining secure, safe PHA neighborhoods through collaboration with myriad stakeholders, especially residents.
“With help and assistance from our resident leaders, PHA has undertaken an effort to reimagine public safety as a way to serve residents and improve their overall well-being,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, President and CEO of PHA. “We intend to do this by prioritizing their most urgent safety needs and concerns, and by finding ways to prevent crimes, enhance collaborations between the community and officers, and ensure neighborhoods are safe and secure for everyone, especially our youth.”
Clark formerly served as director of the Columbus, Ohio, Department of Public Safety. He brings an impressive track record as a leader in innovative and service-oriented policing, building upon several decades of local, federal and international law enforcement experiences.
Moreover, his own background enables him to understand the challenges and barriers faced by PHA residents. At 13 years old, he lost his father to gun violence. That tragedy and his lived experience have driven his desire to serve others.
“I’m from the inner city, from public housing, from foster care. And having those experiences really allows me to directly relate to our community. I have a servant’s heart and because of where I’m from and where I have been in my career, I have the ability and the passion to listen to the community, and understand their needs and concerns,” he said.
The new VP of Public Safety at PHA is a civilian, managerial position responsible for leadership, coordinating the administrative and operational functions of the office, and guiding the public safety office team to achieve results. PHA has 19 public safety officers, 9 supervisors and 22 civilian personnel who engage with residents on public safety matters and address their concerns.
In 1989, Clark began his career at the Youngstown Police Department where he was assigned to the Special Investigation Unit as a Vice and Narcotics Officer and the Community Police Unit downtown. He trained officers in identifying and investigating gang activity, often collaborating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Next, he went to U.S. Department of Justice FBI field office in Los Angeles, CA, where he served as Assistant Special Agent in Charge. He managed an annual budget of more than $25 million and led more than 350 agents and task force officers from 10 agencies, focusing on gangs, violent crime, drug cartels and crimes against children. He also has worked as the Senior Superintendent for the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service.
Clark received both his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and his Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Youngstown State University. He currently is enrolled at Capital Technology University, in the PhD Cyberpsychology Program.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority’s mission is to open doors to affordable housing, economic opportunity and safe, sustainable communities to benefit Philadelphia residents with low incomes.