Tel: (404) 635-7000
Smartphone QR Scan
Donna Burns is the current Deputy Director of Administration for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Office of Homeland Security (GEMA/OHS). In that capacity, she oversees the Finance Division as well as the Information Technology and Public Affairs Sections of the Agency. She has worked 15 Presidentially Declared Disasters, two Presidential Emergency Declarations, and five Fire Management Assistance Declarations during her tenure with GEMA.
Burns began her public safety career in 1978 as a Deputy Sheriff with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office in Marietta, Georgia. She later became the Training Coordinator for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association during the 1980’s. She has subsequently worked for three state agencies for the last 20 years, primarily in the area of public safety. She has run the gamut in the public safety field to include governmental and legislative affairs, planning, policy, accreditation, training and general criminal justice consulting. She has been working in the “terrorism-related” field since the pre-planning days of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Burns worked for GEMA during the active weather decade of the 1990’s as the Director of the Special Projects Division working through 10 presidentially declared disasters and 40 Governor declared states of emergency during that decade. She also served as the executive assistant to the Chief of Staff of the State Olympic Law Enforcement Command during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She left in 1999 to head up the Special Projects Division at the Department of Public Safety. Following the events of September 11, 2001, she was permanently assigned to homeland security duties and responsibilities as Chief of Staff for the Commissioner of Public Safety in 2002 and later the Chief of Staff for the Director of Homeland Security in 2003 when the Office of Homeland Security was created by Governor Perdue. She served in this capacity for the 2004 G-8 Summit in St. Simons, Georgia. Burns also served as the Point of Contact (POC) for former Homeland Security Task Force member and Cobb County Fire Chief, Rebecca Denlinger, who was a presidential appointee to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in 2007. Her homeland security duties now include oversight of a personal resilience campaign initiative on behalf of the Georgia Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) and the national Ready Campaign.
Burns was a faculty member with the University of Phoenix (Atlanta Campus) from April 2003-2006 where she taught six on-site and online criminal justice courses. She was one of ten faculty nationwide selected to serve on the UOP Advisory Council for Criminal Justice to examine and update the current curriculum for Criminal Justice for the University. In addition she was selected to develop a curriculum for Homeland Security undergraduate program for the University.
Burns has a BA in Criminal Justice from West Georgia College in Carrollton and a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is a certified peace officer and certified peace officer instructor in the state of Georgia. She is also the recipient of the Annual “Outstanding Women in Public Safety” Award in 2001 by the Georgia Commission on Women. She was also featured in Atlanta Woman Magazine’s, “A Day in the Life Of” column in their November 2004 issue.