South Central TTA Team

TTA LIAISON: DEP. Commissioner (RET.) Nola Joyce

Ms. Nola Joyce has over thirty years of leadership experience in public safety agencies at the state and local levels.  She retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2016 as Deputy Commissioner of Organizational Services, Strategy, and Innovation. Throughout her career, she led major organizational change efforts using research and analysis to advance public policy and the use of technology to improve program impacts.  Since 2016, she has worked with police departments throughout the country in the areas of violence reduction, constitutional policing, strategic planning, and community engagement.

From 1998 to 2007, she led the change efforts for Chief Charles H. Ramsey as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC (MPDC). This included the expansion of MPDC’s community-policing model, the alignment of the budget with strategic initiatives, and the establishment of the homeland security function within MPDC. Prior to MPDC, Deputy Commissioner Joyce spent six years as the Deputy Director of the Research and Development Division for the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department. She was essential in developing and implementing the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy. She also directed the development and implementation of one of the first automated crime-mapping systems for police officers. Throughout her career, Deputy Commissioner Joyce has served on a number of interagency task forces, boards, and commissions and has served in an advisory capacity for many national criminal justice initiatives.

Deputy Commissioner Joyce holds three master’s degrees and was completed classroom work toward a Ph.D. program in criminal justice at Temple University. Her most current master’s degree is in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate School. She has two master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University: a master-of-science degree in urban affairs and public policy, with a specialization in public finance, and a master of arts degree in sociology, with a specialization in research methodology and statistics.

Contact Ms. Joyce at: or 202-427-7575

Analyst: Heather Perez

Heather Perez is a Training and Technical Coordinator for the School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University (MSU).  Over the past 15 years at MSU, Ms. Perez has worked on the Project Safe Neighborhoods National Evaluation and Training and Technical Assistance team, Drug Market Intervention Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, Innovations Suite Training and Technical Assistance team, various National Training and Technical Assistance requests and an international exchange with Chile. Ms. Perez has contributed to various independent research projects as well as served as a Department of Justice Peer Reviewer for eight years.  In most recent efforts, Ms. Perez has assisted with the development of the Innovations Suite Researcher-Practitioner Fellows Academy, Violence Reduction Assessment Tool, and Violent Crime Reduction Course.

Prior to joining the research faculty at MSU, Ms. Perez has worked for the Institute for Law and Justice and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.  With a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska Omaha, Ms. Perez has over 25 years experience with evaluation research and design and training and technical assistance.