Wayne S. McKenzie is General Counsel for the NYC Department of Probation (DOP). He is the primary advisor to the Commissioner on all legal, legislative and compliance matters; ensures that the DOP is operating within the law at all times; is a member of the governing cabinet and Labor-Management Committee; and manages all agency attorneys and legal staff. He is also actively involved in key reform efforts and special projects in DOP’s Adult and Juvenile Operations.
Prior to joining DOP, Wayne was the founding Director of the Prosecution & Racial Justice Program at the Vera Institute of Justice. The program, the first of its kind and national in scope, has partnered with district attorneys around the nation to pilot an internal assessment and management procedure that is helping supervisors identify evidence of possible racial or ethnic bias in their staff’s aggregate decision making and respond appropriately when it is found. Before joining Vera, he was a prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY where he held several supervisory positions and prosecuted high profile cases in several specialized bureaus. He is nationally viewed as an expert in prosecutorial discretion and racial justice issues and has been a presenter and panelist at numerous legal and other professional conferences, community events and in Congress and state commissions.
Mr. McKenzie is a Vice-President-At-Large on the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Council, which is the governing body of the CJS. He is a past chair of the CJS Committee on Racial & Ethnic Justice & Diversity; and is a former member of the ABA Council on Racial & Ethnic Justice and the Standing Committee on Gun Violence. He also serves on the advisory boards of two CJS projects geared towards improving the fair delivery of justice in the courts and legal community and was a key participant in the development of a cultural competency curriculum designed for criminal justice practitioners. Wayne is also a commissioner on the ABA Center for Racial & Ethnic Diversity, the "umbrella" entity for the primary entities within the ABA that address racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion. He is past Chair and current Board member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the 2012 recipient of MBBA’s Public Servant of the Year Award. Wayne is also a Past President of the National Black Prosecutors Association and a two time recipient of the Association’s Presidential Award of Excellence. Other recognitions include the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives’ Lloyd Sealy Award for Service in the Area of Criminal Justice and the FEDCAP 2014 Community Impact Award.
Wayne is an active participant in community outreach programs and has a special interest in criminal justice reform and public safety, and in programs that focus on youth. He serves on the Board of Directors of GreenHope Services for Women, a not-for-profit treatment, rehabilitation and alternative to incarceration program for women with narcotics-related criminal histories; the Caribbean American Center of New York, a non-profit that focuses on services for youth of immigrant communities in New York City; and the NYC Criminal Justice Agency, a not-for-profit with the mission to assist the courts and the City in reducing unnecessary pretrial detention.
His media involvement includes appearances as a legal analyst on Court TV and Fox TV cable news and as a featured prosecutor in an A&E TV series on the Criminal Justice System. Mr. McKenzie received his Juris Doctorate degree from the George Washington University School of Law, Washington, D.C. where he served as chairperson of the Black Law Students Association; was a member of the Moot Court Board; and a member of the Admissions Diversity Recruitment Committee. He is a graduate of the City College of New York where he received a B.S. in Biology and majored in Microbiology in the M.S. program.