Goals and Initiatives

As District Attorney, Jackie Lacey set the following goals for the largest local prosecutorial agency in the nation:

Develop effective ways to improve how the criminal justice system addresses individuals living with mental illness

District Attorney Lacey has led a groundbreaking effort to develop a comprehensive mental health diversion program. She founded and led the Criminal Justice Mental Health Advisory Board, which issued “A Blueprint for Change” to the Board of Supervisors. The 41-page report provided an inventory of existing resources and set priorities that include expanding training for law enforcement personnel and adding community-based beds to house and treat individuals with mental illness, particularly those with criminal records.

The District Attorney’s Office has undertaken one of the top priorities listed in the report: training law enforcement personnel on how to safely and effectively interact with individuals in a mental health crisis. The free two-day training targeted first responders from 45 local police agencies throughout the county.

By the end of 2016, more than 650 patrol officers and dispatchers were trained on tactics and tools needed to successfully interact with individuals living with mental illness. The training program for law enforcement officers was recognized by the National Association of Counties in 2017.

Enhance strategies to protect children from abuse and neglect, including sex trafficking

District Attorney Lacey created a specialized unit within the Family Violence Division to address the growing number of legal challenges to medical evidence in child abuse prosecutions. These cases involve abusive head trauma and medically complex child deaths, and they often have no eyewitnesses to explain how the injuries occurred.

She also established the Electronic Suspected Child Abuse Reporting System (ESCARS) Unit, which brought additional personnel to monitor the sharing of these reports between law enforcement agencies and the county’s Department of Children and Family Services. The staffing increase significantly bolstered the number of report audits completed by the unit.

District Attorney Lacey created the Human Sex Trafficking Section, which prosecutes criminals who are in the business of sexually exploiting women and children – some as young 12 years old. With heightened sensitivity to these crimes and new laws to toughen the punishment of human traffickers, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases filed by the office.

Dedicate more resources to investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes

District Attorney Lacey created the office’s Environmental Crimes Division, raising the profile of this unit in the office.  She also launched a program that dispatches LADA prosecutors and investigators to industrial incidents involving occupational deaths and environmental threats. The Environmental Crimes OSHA Rollout Program is designed to enhance the preservation of evidence during the early stages of an investigation and ensure that witness accounts are documented. The office assists investigations led by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), local fire departments and other governmental agencies. Read more about the prosecution of environmental crimes.

Increase efforts to address the proliferation of identity theft and cybercrimes

The District Attorney’s Office has created two teams of high tech crime experts to address the growing threat of cybercrime. The Community Cyber Investigation Response Team (Community CIRT) investigates and prosecutes high tech crimes committed against businesses in the county. It also educates local businesses on ways to protect themselves from becoming victims. A separate County CIRT addresses attacks on county government resources. The team of District Attorney investigators has helped apprehend defendants who hacked into the county’s information infrastructure. Besides investigating cases, the team provides cybersecurity training and technical guidance to county departments. Read more about the office’s Cyber Crime Division.

Educate and protect seniors from financial scams

District Attorney Lacey introduced a campaign that helps safeguard seniors from fraud. She initiated the office’s twice-monthly Fraud Alerts to educate the public about common fraud schemes. At least once a month, the alerts focus on scams targeting seniors, such as counterfeit drug scams and Medicare rip-offs. The alerts are distributed on the District Attorney’s website, emailed to more than 500 news reporters and editors and shared on Twitter and Instagram. Fraud Alert handouts also are sent across the county to agencies serving older adults. The fraud education initiative for seniors was recognized in 2017 by the National Association of Counties. There also is a clearinghouse of information on frauds aimed at seniors on the office’s website. Read more about financial elder abuse.

Bolster ethical conduct through elimination of bias training

The District Attorney’s Office is the first department in Los Angeles County to offer implicit bias training to employees. The decisions made by prosecutors affect people’s lives and their liberty. The training encourages employees to look inward and examine their biases and how they may affect the decisions they make. District Attorney Lacey said that she believes the training will help employees perform better at their jobs and better serve the diverse population of Los Angeles County.

The District Attorney also created the position of Professional Responsibility Advisor who works to advise, teach and advance a better understanding and practice of ethics and professional conduct throughout the office. 

Provide greater focus on opioid abuse

Opioid addiction is driving the number of accidental drug overdose deaths in the United States. More than half of those deaths were attributed to either prescription pain relievers or heroin. The office has worked to prosecute those who are illegally distributing prescription pain relievers. District Attorney Lacey asked the office to use its expertise in prosecuting major narcotics dealers to address those who illegally supply opioids.