County Executive David Crowley
Press Release

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley Announces Resignation of Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director Christine Westrich

Director Westrich to resign from the Office of Emergency Management effective Monday, August 3

By - Jul 17th, 2020 05:04 pm

MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley announced the resignation of Milwaukee County Emergency Management (OEM) Director Christine Westrich.

“I cannot thank Director Westrich enough for her tireless service, commitment, and leadership at the Office of Emergency Management. Her guidance has been a key part of moving Milwaukee County’s collective COVID-19 response forward,” said County Executive David Crowley. “As the first OEM Director, Christine made great strides in overhauling our emergency response systems and helped lead the way in collaborative emergency preparations for Milwaukee County.” Since the creation of OEM five years ago, Westrich has served as the departments first and only director and played a central role in merging four separate divisions of county government into one, centralized department, paving the way for coordinated radio and 911 response systems. OEM reached several milestones under Westrich’s leadership including, but not limited to:

  • Providing mission-critical and interoperable communications for first responders in Milwaukee County by deploying the County’s digital upgrade to 800MHz public safety radio, implementing a collaborative fee agreement and negotiating a savings of $960,000;
  • Authoring and sponsoring a $1.3M capital project integrating 911 dispatch data amongst 12 centers in the County while also creating the County 911 Governance Committee to address next generation tech;
  • Leading a current study as it relates to unconscious racial bias in Emergency Medical Services and finding solutions to problems created by underlying biases; and
  • Creating a unified emergency operations center to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis and serve as the cooperative body amongst 19 municipalities in the County.

Westrich leaves the OEM after a successful seven years at Milwaukee County, leading OEM for the last five and a half. Before her time at Milwaukee County, Westrich served in the United States Marine Corps as F/A-18D Hornet system operator—the first to fill the position of Air Combat Instructor in the Marines. After leaving the military in 2005 and serving as a defense contractor for four years, Westrich enrolled in the Art Center College of Design to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

“My time as Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director has been extraordinary and I am proud to say I’ve been a Milwaukee County employee and steward for the past seven years, but I believe the time is right for me to make use of my fine art degree and business masters to pursue sole proprietorship of my LLC in fine art and illustration,” said Westrich. “I leave the role with the complete confidence that Milwaukee County remains in good hands with our capable, confident, and talented leadership team at OEM.”

Director Westrich will transition her role over the next two weeks, departing officially on Monday, August 3. Deputy Director Cassandra Libal will fill the role as interim director of OEM.

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