Mayor picks Holly Joshi to be chief of Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention

OAKLAND, Calif. - The mayor on Monday introduced the community to the new chief of the Department of Violence Prevention, Holly Joshi, an East Oakland native with experience in racial justice and policing, whose most public role was being the spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department.

Joshi will be the department’s second permanent chief since it was established in 2017. Her first day is Dec. 11.

The department applies a public health approach to violence prevention focused on community-led intervention strategies to realize sustained safety and stability of the families and communities most impacted by violence, the city said.

"Dr. Holly Joshi is the right person at the right time to lead Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention," Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said at a news conference. "Strengthening violence prevention initiatives is essential to promoting a strong, safe, and thriving Oakland. Along with a robust police department and technology solutions that disrupt criminal networks, violence prevention initiatives form the core elements of Oakland’s comprehensive community safety strategy."

For her part, Joshi said she wants to implement best practices and "cutting-edge strategies to prevent and intervene in violence and create an Oakland that feels safe for everyone."

Most recently, Joshi served as Senior Director at GLIDE, a nationally recognized center for social justice. She led the Center for Social Justice, a department focused on improving housing access, community health and safety, and gender and racial equity.

Joshi also served as director at Bright Research Group, leading a team of community-centered research and leadership consultants, working on organizational change and capacity building projects for government, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations throughout the Bay Area.

For three years, she led criminal legal system reform work and partnerships with local government agencies working to increase their impact in youth development, violence prevention and intervention, and community-driven alternatives to policing.

She also served as the lead consultant to Oakland's DVP.

Joshi has also served as the chief executive MISSSEY, an Oakland-based community-based organization providing trauma informed, healing centered, direct services to survivors of gender-based violence in Oakland.

She is also no stranger to the police department, and held many public roles, there.

From 2001-2015, Joshi worked for the Oakland Police Department, including child exploitation unit supervisor, Internal Affairs division investigator, crime reduction team Investigator, public information officer and chief of staff.

She is married to Nishant Joshi, chief of police for the Alameda Police Department.