Standing before a crowd of family, friends, co-workers and former district attorneys, Jackie Lacey was sworn in as Los Angeles County's first female and first Black district attorney this week.
Outgoing District Attorney Steve Cooley administered the oath of office and former District Attorney John Van de Kamp presented Lacey with her badge at the USC's Galen Center.
Cooley told her, "You are the leader of the unarguably largest prosecutorial office in the country."
Gil Garcetti and Robert Philibosian, two of the three other living former district attorneys, also joined the presentation.
Wearing a purple suit and joined by her family, Lacey said, "It hardly seems real, and I praise God for the journey as well as the victory."
She noted that her birthday, Feb. 27, coincides with the day the district attorney's office opened in 1850.
"I just don't believe in coincidences," she said. "I believe we all have a date with destiny."
She told the crowd she would weigh in on issues without regard to politics or partisanship, while "never, ever, ever forgetting that I work for you."
Lee Smalley Edmon, the first female presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, gave the commendation.
Lacey grew up in the Crenshaw District. She graduated from Dorsey High School and UC Irvine and holds a degree from the USC Law Center. She joined the district attorney's office in 1986 and worked her way up through the ranks from front-line prosecutor to Cooley's second-in-command.
She was elected to a four-year term with about 55 percent of the vote in a Nov. 6 race against Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson. During the campaign, Lacey emphasized her management skills as critical to running the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation, with nearly 1,000 attorneys, 300 peace officers and 800 support staff members.