Office of Violence Prevention

Group with chief of police rep Dontavius Jarrells

The Office of Violence Prevention is the city’s coordination center for violence prevention resources and activities. As the first office of its kind in the state of Ohio, it evaluates existing programming, collects data and conducts research in collaboration with city departments, public- and private-sector partners and members of the Columbus community.


Spring Break Events - Starting March 29

In partnership with Columbus Public Health and Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, OVP is offering Columbus youth a week of free events at area community centers during Spring Break.


Meet the Director 

Shak-Rena-Photo Rena is a native of the Youngstown, Ohio area. She is a second generation Greek-American, raised in a bilingual household. She currently resides in Central Ohio with her husband, young son, and two rescue dogs.

Rena went to The Ohio State University, where she studied Political Science and International Studies. She was a Morrill Scholar, receiving a full-tuition scholarship through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Rena was heavily involved in community engagement during her time at OSU, working for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and for the American Cancer Society in government relations and advocacy.

Ms. Shak then attended Capital University Law School. Rena was a program coordinator for the Criminal Law Association, legal intern for the Legal Clinic, member of the Women’s Law Association, and a writer and editor for the Capital University Law Review. During this time, Ms. Shak also spent a summer in Florence, Italy studying international human trafficking and criminal law.

Rena graduated Capital University Law School and began her career as an attorney at the office of the Franklin County Public Defender. Rena represented individuals in every type of criminal matter, ranging from traffic offenses to aggravated murder. She has worked with the specialty dockets, including the human trafficking and drug courts. Rena Shak spent the majority of the last decade in at least one of the Franklin County courthouses advocating on behalf of indigent clients in need of legal representation and connecting them to resources.

In 2021, Rena was a judicial candidate for the Franklin County Municipal Court. Ms. Shak then began working for the office of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther as In-House Counsel and Assistant Policy Director in June of 2022. In that role, Rena led efforts to strengthen Columbus gun laws and worked on other public safety-related issues including juvenile justice.

In March of 2023, Mayor Ginther appointed Ms. Shak to be the Director of the Columbus Office of Violence Prevention, the first office of its kind in the City and the State of Ohio. Rena is honored to have been entrusted by Mayor Ginther to lead the Office of Violence Prevention. She is committed to working collaboratively with city departments, community partners and residents to reduce violence and enhance safety initiatives in Columbus.