Bill Gibbons


Bill Gibbons became Executive Director of the Public Safety Institute (PSI) at The University of Memphis in September of 2016, as well as President of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.

Prior to joining the PSI and Crime Commission, from 2011 through August of 2016, Gibbons served in Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as Commissioner for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and chaired a subcabinet of all state executive branch departments and agencies involved in public safety to develop a single, consistent state agenda to combat crime.

Gibbons began his state government career in 1979 as a special policy assistant to former Governor Lamar Alexander and then returned to private law practice in 1981. He rejoined state government in 1996, when then Governor Don Sundquist named him District Attorney General for Shelby County in order to fill an unexpired term. Gibbons was then elected to a pair of eight-year terms in 1998 and 2006 and served a total of approximately 14 years.

Prior to serving as District Attorney, Gibbons was a partner in the law firm of Evans & Petree.

Gibbons chaired Operation: Safe Community from 2009-2015. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), and the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), as well as the U. S. Department of Justice’s Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, Gibbons holds both undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt University. He is married to United States Court of Appeals Judge Julia S. Gibbons. They have two children.

She has held senior roles in public affairs and government affairs at Gilead Sciences, focusing on patient access. As the first Chief of Staff for President Clinton’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, she partnered with African and Caribbean governments and bilateral aid agencies.   

Polly earned her BA from Wake Forest University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. She serves as co-chair of the WITNESS Board, co-chair of the ATLAS Institute’s Advisory Board, member of the Board of the Colorado Chautauqua Association, and member of the Board of Visitors at Wake Forest University. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and two sons.

Bill Gibbons
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