Friday, June 8, 2001
Cooley Reports Steps to Close Crime Prevention Foundation
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
District Attorney Steve Cooley told county officials yesterday that he has begun winding up his office’s Crime Prevention Foundation, created by his predecessor, Gil Garcetti.
In a briefing to the Citizens’ Economy and Efficiency Commission yesterday, Cooley reiterated the criticisms he leveled at the program during last year’s campaign against Garcetti.
“It’s just something that we shouldn’t be doing,” Cooley said of the foundation. “There is a lot of political mischief that can go on in these kinds of foundations. You are not going to see any programs funded by the Crime Prevention Foundation anymore.”
Garcetti set up the foundation when he took office in 1993. Cooley said it was diverting money that should have gone to the general fund.
The District Attorney’s Office is conducting an audit to find out which funds have court-ordered restrictions and evaluating how to distribute the remaining money, Cooley said.
Cooley also briefed the county commission on his office’s reorganization over the six months since he took office, and on public protection programs not included in the proposed 2001-2002 county budget.
In May, Cooley asked the Board of Supervisors for $9.55 million for the programs.
“If we get it, you will see the most effective D.A.’s office in decades,” Cooley said.
Cooley said his top priority in finding funding was $900,000 for the so-called rollout team to probe officer-involved shootings. The program has nearly used up its federal funding.
The overall requested budget for the District Attorney’s Office is $246 million.
Cooley also reviewed his well-publicized Public Integrity and Justice System Integrity divisions. The Public Integrity unit is investigating and will prosecute criminal misconduct by elected and appointed officials.
“There are lots of communities out there where not obeying election laws or conflict of interest is the norm,” Cooley said.
The Public Integrity division will also be used to enforce the Brown Act which has been the subject of considerable controversy in the Belmont Learning Center investigation in which allegations have been made against the L.A. Unified School District Board for holding public meetings out of public view.
“When government is conducted in public, you are going to have better government,” Cooley said.
The Justice System Integrity division will investigate and prosecute allegations of criminal misconduct of anyone in the justice system, with the bulk of the investigations dealing with law enforcement agencies.
“When things like this happen, it hurts the system in terms of public trust,” Cooley said.
Cooley also discussed ways in which his office is working to prevent “future Ramparts,” including standards for law enforcement agencies to report internal crimes and for officers and prosecutors to handle Brady requirements that potentially exculpatory data be shared with defendants.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company