HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor-elect Josh Shapiro announced five nominations for public safety leaders in Pennsylvania, including the first woman ever to be appointed as Secretary of Corrections.
On Friday, Shapiro announced the nominations of Laurel Harry to be Secretary of Corrections, Randy Padfield to be the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Major General Mark Schindler to be Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, Tom Cook to be State Fire Commissioner, and Christopher Paris to be State Police Commissioner.
“As Attorney General, I worked with first responders and fellow law enforcement leaders every day to make our communities safer – and Laurel Harry, Randy Padfield, Mark Schindler, Tom Cook, and Christopher Paris are exemplary public servants who have put their health and safety on the line to serve to our Commonwealth,” said Governor-Elect Shapiro.
Dr. Harry has been serving as the Acting Western Region Deputy Secretary since July 10, 2022, and has 24 years of Commonwealth experience in the Department of Corrections. She previously was a Superintendent at SCI Camp Hill and has worked at six institutions in Pennsylvania. She was also recognized by the PA Prison Wardens Association as the 2019 Warden of the Year.
“I am proud to serve in Governor-Elect Shapiro’s cabinet and I look forward to working with him to enhance public safety across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Harry.
PEMA Director Randy Padfield was nominated to continue leading the commonwealth’s emergency response unit. Appointed Director in 2019, he previously served as Deputy Director of PEMA and was Director of the Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Training Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to lead the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency under Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro,” said PEMA Director Padfield.
Major General Mark J. Schindler assumed duties as Adjutant General of Pennsylvania on December 5, 2020, and was confirmed by the Senate of Pennsylvania as the 54th Adjutant General of Pennsylvania on June 21, 2021. General Schindler oversees a combined state and federal budget of over $966 million and is responsible for the command of over 18,000 Army and Air National Guard members.
“I am honored Governor-Elect Shapiro has entrusted me with continuing to serve the Commonwealth as Adjutant General of Military and Veterans Affairs,” said Major General Schindler.
Acting Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook has served in his current role since 2021 after previously overseeing the day-to-day operations of 700 personnel as Assistant Fire Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. Cook has received awards as Fire Instructor of the Year, Fire Officer of the Year, and Letters of Commendation. He earned a Unit Citation for rescues made from an Apartment Fire in Mt. Lebanon, and the Red Cross Hero Medal, for the rescue of a civilian prior to the arrival of suppression units in Pittsburgh.
“Pennsylvania has the largest number of fire departments in the nation and is a national leader in the number of career and paid personnel providing emergency services – underscoring the critical importance of the Commonwealth’s fire and emergency service community,” said Acting Fire Commissioner Cook.
Major Christopher L. Paris enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police in 1999 and served in Troop K, Skippack and Philadelphia, the Bureau of Training and Education, the Department Discipline Office, Troop R Dunmore and Blooming Grove, and Department Headquarters. He was promoted to Corporal in 2005, Sergeant in 2006, Lieutenant in 2010, Captain in 2015, Major in 2018, and Lieutenant Colonel in 2020.
“I am grateful for the trust that Governor-Elect Shapiro has placed in me to lead my fellow law enforcement officers, and I look forward to working with him to hire more police officers in our communities, hold criminals accountable, and make our communities safer,” said Major Paris.
Shapiro will be sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 48th Governor on Jan. 17, 2023, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
abc27 will live stream the Shapiro inauguration on Jan. 17.