FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson

Office of the Mayor, City Hall
Deputy Chief of Staff of Public Safety
San Francisco, CA, USA


Paul Henderson was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff & Public Safety Director by the Mayor of the City of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee, in March, 2011. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Henderson serves as a principal advisor to the Mayor and is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic policy and administration among various cabinet and supervisory officials of the local government. The City of San Francisco has over 27,000 employees, and Mr. Henderson is responsible for managing the various city departments that provide direct support to the Mayor on major issues affecting the city with an emphasis on the criminal justice system and local, state and federal partners.

Prior to joining the Mayor’s office, Mr. Henderson served as Chief of Administration and prosecutor for the District Attorney of San Francisco.  As a trial attorney with nearly two decades of courtroom experience, Mr. Henderson successfully handled all types of cases in the criminal justice system, ranging from nonviolent misdemeanors to serious felonies, including homicide. In addition to his success in the courtroom as a seasoned prosecutor, Mr. Henderson has years of complex criminal and civil judicial experience in the public service arena. As a leader and innovator, Paul is recognized for introducing numerous cutting-edge programs of national consequence including, a modified approach to 3 strikes, juvenile drug court, juvenile domestic violence court, drug possession court, community justice court and a neighborhood DA program.  Over the years these programs have served as model initiatives of national recognition that have contributed to the reform of the criminal justice system. Mr. Henderson’s service as Chief Administrator constitutes the highest ranking position in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office ever held by either a LGBT or an African-American male attorney.

Mr. Henderson has developed curricula and conducted trainings for legal professionals, public agencies and elected officials across the country. Most notably, Mr. Henderson serves on the national faculty for the Department of Justice where he trains other attorneys and municipalities on how to develop and implement innovative criminal justice models.

Through his success working to protect victims of violent crimes and representing communities without a voice in the courtroom, Mr. Henderson has made many lasting impacts in the San Francisco Bay Area, that have garnered national recognition.  As a speaker and attorney, Paul Henderson has made over 400 televised appearances and he regularly contributes to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and many other media outlets. Paul is currently the on-air legal analyst for CBS News. California Magazine recently identified Paul as "one of the most astute legal minds in the state."

A native of San Francisco, Paul worked his way through his undergraduate studies at UCLA before venturing off to earn his Juris Doctorate from Tulane University, where he also served as class president.
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