Tuesday, December 2, 2008
District Attorney Takes Historic Third Oath of Office
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Three was the magic number yesterday for Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who was sworn in for his third term at a 3 p.m. ceremony, becoming the third person to serve three consecutive terms in the office’s history.
A standing-room only crowd gathered at the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to fete Cooley, 61, who entered the room to a standing ovation and the theme song to the television show “Peter Gunn.”
Assistant District Attorney Jacquelyn Lacey, who served as mistress of ceremonies, praised Cooley as a “leader who leads by listening,” before making decisions, as well as “incredibly loyal” and “incredibly supportive” of his staff.
Following Lacey’s introduction, a brief video montage summarized Cooley’s background—an old photograph of Cooley in his Los Angeles Police uniform drew hearty laughs from the crowd—and initiatives developed during his tenure, which included the creation of the office’s Public Integrity Division, Justice System Integrity Division, and Forensic Science Section.
Although Cooley acknowledged these accomplishments in his inaugural address, he said the greatest triumph for his office was that the crime rate is at a 50-year low, due to a “team effort” between law enforcement and the courts.
“Let me assure you, we’re not going to rest on our laurels,” he declared, drawing applause. “We’re going to go from there.”
Cooley said that the 14 new-hire classes of deputy district attorneys in the past three years would be the people who carry the office into the future, emphasizing his efforts to make the hiring process “as inclusive as could be,” so that “no gender, no nationality, no ethnicity, and no partisan group, has a monopoly on justice.”
The district attorney added that the new attorneys in the office “represent the face of L.A. County,” and predicted that his legacy will be his hiring practices.
Even though he admitted “we are so advanced in so many ways that it sometimes scares me,” Cooley vowed to support the development and utilization of digital technology to run a more efficient office, beginning with an electronic case filing system.
He also pledged to devote more resources to combating electronic crimes and identity theft, proposing the creation of four to five regional task forces with labs who can take on these sorts of crimes.
“If we don’t,” he warned, “the crooks are going to win this battle.”
He also called for the expansion of the Criminal Justice Institute, a regional training program for criminal justice professionals Cooley called “my baby,” remarking that collaboration, cooperation and training are the only way stay ahead of the criminal element.
Closing his speech with a paraphrased quote by Abraham Lincoln, Cooley declared, “I do the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing it,” promising, “and so will the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.”
A native of Los Angeles, Cooley attended college at California State University, Los Angeles and obtained his law degree from the USC Law Center.
He joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1973, and was elected District Attorney in 2000. He was re-elected four years later, and again in June.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company