Susan Dueñas joined the City in 2017 as the City’s first Public Safety Manager and, in 2022, was promoted to Public Safety Director when the Public Safety Office was converted to a Department. She has worked in the field of emergency management and public safety for over 25 years, accumulating a significant depth of knowledge and experience. Over the years Susan has responded to earthquakes, floods, an airline crash, a train crash, landslides, winter storms, numerous fires, and terrorism. Some of the more well-known incidents include the 1998 El Niño floods, 2000 Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash, 2005 La Conchita landslide, 2007 Zaca Fire, 2015 Metrolink crash, 2017 Tubbs Fire, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire. She has worked for the cities of Oxnard, El Segundo, and West Hollywood, as well as the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services for 15 years. Each position provided new and different opportunities and perspectives in emergency management and public safety.
While working for the Ventura County Office of Emergency Management, she spearheaded the County’s Homeland Security Program, which entailed working with fire, police and public health agencies throughout the County and managing millions of dollars in federal grants. In 2008, she was chosen by the cities of Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo to lead the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), a Homeland Security program for high-risk areas. A key project of the Oxnard Area UASI was a Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource Protection Program where she worked with a local team of first responders to conduct critical infrastructure assessments. She was also responsible for leading the County’s implementation of the Buffer Zone Protection Program, which sought to harden locations deemed as high-risk targets by the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to her professional experience, Susan has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration. In 2016, she was certified as an Outreach Instructor for the California Specialized Training Institute, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. She currently serves on the California Contract Cities Association’s Public Safety Committee and has also served on the Board of Directors of the California Emergency Services Association and the National Grants Management Association.