Attorney General Phil Weiser selects Essi Ellis as new director of Safe2Tell Colorado
Mar. 29, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.) — Attorney General Phil Weiser has selected Essi Ellis to serve as the new director of Safe2Tell Colorado. She will begin work full time effective April 1.
Safe2Tell, which is overseen by the Attorney General’s Office, is a successful violence intervention and prevention program that gives young people a mechanism to report threats to their safety or the safety of others. Anonymous tips received through Safe2Tell have helped local school officials and law enforcement agencies respond to threats, prevent tragedy, and save lives.
“Safe2Tell was created in the aftermath of the Columbine High School tragedy to provide an important outlet for potential life-saving information to be shared, and to improve safety in schools and communities. Essi’s background in emergency preparedness and experience with local law enforcement makes her an excellent fit to lead Safe2Tell,” said Weiser. “I know she will be a strong partner with state government, local school districts, and law enforcement in fostering a culture of safety and improving the climate of schools and communities throughout Colorado.”
For the past 11 years, Ellis served as the Director of Emergency Management and Preparedness for the two campuses made up of the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus. In that role, she designed campus-wide emergency preparedness plans and safety policies, and collaborated with state, city, county, and local entities to streamline regional planning efforts. Additionally, Ellis served as a school safety, security, and preparedness advocate and subject matter expert on Denver Public Schools Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment School Advisory Council from 2015-2017.
“I am enthusiastic to extend my career in public safety, preparedness, and prevention as the new Program Director for Safe2Tell Colorado. I am eager to work with the Safe2Tell team to continue building a culture that fosters early intervention, prevention, and information sharing partnerships with K-12, colleges and universities, and communities throughout Colorado,” said Ellis.
Ellis succeeds Susan Payne, who was instrumental in creating the Safe2Tell program in 2003 and served as its executive director from 2006 to 2018. Payne is a nationally recognized school safety expert. Weiser honored her for her service to the State of Colorado.
“From her days as a detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department to becoming a nationally recognized expert in school safety and prevention strategies, Susan has dedicated her life’s work to preventing violence in schools and communities. She has made Safe2Tell a model program for other states, and now there is a greater demand for her expertise nationally. Susan is a tremendous asset to our state and I wish her future success. When she succeeds, lives are saved,” Weiser said.
“It’s has been my honor to advance the efforts of prevention and school safety for the State of Colorado since the tragedy of Columbine. I have had the opportunity to work in collaboration with so many partners and stakeholders to create and grow Safe2Tell into what it is today. I’m proud of all we have done to save lives and to work with those on the front lines that follow up with every report to intervene early in the lives of children that need help,” concluded Payne, who works with the non-profit Safe and Sound Schools to facilitate and expand best practice efforts in prevention and school safety.
Lawrence Pacheco, Director of Communications
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