Houston Mayor Appoints New Deputy Inspector General for Policing Reform and Accountability

Houston Mayor Appoints New Deputy Inspector General for Policing Reform and Accountability
Christina Nowak

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed Christina Nowak as the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Office of Policing Reform and Accountability for the City of Houston. Nowak, a native of Houston’s Alief neighborhood, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the South Texas College of Law. She takes over the position from Crystal Okorafor, who was initially appointed by Mayor Turner as the city’s first DIG in 2021 but subsequently resigned to pursue a private sector opportunity.

In her new role, Nowak will be responsible for investigating complaints and collaborating closely with the Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB). Additionally, she will play a vital role in coordinating gun buyback programs and other initiatives under the One Safe Houston campaign, aimed at reducing crime in the city. Nowak will also serve as an ombudsman for the citizens of Houston, contributing to efforts to restore and maintain public confidence in law enforcement.

Mayor Turner expressed confidence in Nowak’s ability to excel in her new role, saying, “The Deputy Inspector General will help organize gun buybacks and other aspects of the One Safe Houston initiative, which has reduced crime. Nowak also will serve as an ombudsman for the citizens of Houston, which is key to restoring and maintaining the public’s confidence. I look forward to working with her. She has the background and experience to take this role to the next level.”

Christina Nowak brings a wealth of experience to her position. She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County, New York City, where she specialized in prosecuting narcotics cases, gang-related crimes, and homicides. Following a decade in prosecution, she joined the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigations as Deputy Director, overseeing complaint investigations in one of the nation’s largest school districts. She later assumed the role of Deputy Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at the New York City Fire Department, where she worked in an oversight capacity under a federal monitor.

After returning to Houston in 2021, Nowak joined the City of Houston as a Senior Investigative Attorney in the Office of Inspector General, focusing on investigating complaints within the Houston Fire Department.

“I want to thank Mayor Turner for entrusting me with this role,” said Nowak. “My predecessor was able to take huge strides in achieving the mayor’s goals of making Houston a safer place. I look forward to continuing to break ground with One Safe Houston to increase trust, fairness, justice, and mutual respect between our police department and the community.”