Meet the Chief of the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division Victor Ou

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet the Chief of the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division Victor Ou, who has been a Deputy District Attorney for the San Diego County DA’s Office since 2002. As Chief of the Insurance and Workplace Justice Division, Victor supervises a group of over 50 Deputy DAs, DA Investigators, paralegals and support staff and work with several partnering agencies to fight insurance fraud, complex auto theft, wage theft, and labor trafficking.  The California Insurance Code and Vehicle Code require the collection of certain fees to be set aside to support the investigation and prosecution of these types of cases, and the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division manages the San Diego County DA’s Office’s allotment of such funds and directs those resources towards the effective prosecution of all forms of insurance fraud to protect workers, victims of auto theft and auto insurance fraud, and promote fair competition in the workplace. Read more about what inspired Victor to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“As with most people, my personal beliefs and values have been shaped by my upbringing and personal experiences. When I was very young, my parents immigrated to the US, and they opened a small restaurant. Their dedication to making an honest living taught me the virtues of hard work and integrity. They were robbed multiple times at gunpoint, and the restaurant was burglarized; however, they worked with local law enforcement, installed various burglar alarms and cameras, and they were resilient, continuing to work hard to support the family and teach their kids the importance of education and hard work. After law school, I initially joined the DA’s Office to get some trial experience, and as I handled cases and worked with crime victims, I immediately found that pursuit of justice and helping victims meshed with my own personal values. Prosecutors have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable persons in society and to do so fairly and ethically, and I have cherished the opportunity to serve the community in this role for the past 22 years.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

“San Diego is a wonderfully diverse community, and in our cases, there are times when victims and witnesses better communicate and identify with people from similar backgrounds and cultures. This is why diversity is important in the legal community and it is certainly valued within the DA’s Office. AAPI Month holds a profound significance for me as a Taiwanese American who grew up in a small town in California that, in the late 70’s and 80’s, could not be described as ‘diverse’ in the slightest. Having to navigate this intersection of my heritage and upbringing has given me a unique perspective and has deepened my appreciation of the diverse cultural tapestry that AAPI month celebrates. It is a time to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of AAPI individuals who have helped shape the legal landscape and the broader society. This month is not just a personal celebration of heritage; it’s a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength that diversity brings to our communities and the justice system. It reinforces my commitment to equity and justice, honoring the legacy of those who paved the way and inspiring a more inclusive future for all.”

Read more AAPI stories from the DA’s Office, here.

DA Honors 6 ‘Citizens of Courage’

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan honored six brave individuals today during the DA’s 34th annual Citizens of Courage Awards, held as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year, National Crime Victim’s Rights Week was observed the week of April 21-27 and the theme is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.” As part of this annual event, the DA not only highlights the courageous individuals who survived or witnessed a crime, but also the important services that are offered through the DA’s Victim Assistance program. The DA’s Office is the largest provider of victim services in the county.

 “The six individuals we are honoring today were placed in dangerous or trying circumstances and responded with courage,” DA Stephan said. “By recognizing them, we’re also shining a light on the many courageous crime victims our office serves in the pursuit of justice every year, and the importance of supporting victims’ rights, which is an integral part of our mission at the District Attorney’s Office. I am very proud and grateful for the tireless service performed by our Victim Advocates on behalf of crime victims.”

The DA’s Victim Services Division strives to reduce the trauma, fear and pain experienced by victims, witnesses, and family members affected by crime. The Victim Assistance Program provides comprehensive services to all crime victims, while Victim Advocates are focused on providing assistance to victims of violent crimes. In 2023, they assisted 9,942 new crime victims. This assistance included 814 crisis interventions and 11,865 resources and referrals. Thousands of additional victims and survivors are also served by our North County Family Justice Center: One Safe Place.

This year, the Citizens of Courage Awards ceremony was held at the Liberty Station Conference Center in front of more than 300 invited dignitaries, elected officials, community leaders and guests. Below are the 2024 Citizens of Courage recipients and links to videos telling their stories, just click on their names to watch their video:

MELISSA SPINELLI

She witnessed a neighbor being attacked, called police, and stayed with the victim to help, passing along his dying words to his family. Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim prosecuted this case.

ANTONIO JASSO

A witness to a deadly hit and run incident who followed the driver at his own peril, leading police to arrest him. Deputy District Attorney Hailey Williams prosecuted this case.

TIFFANY MURPHY

A security guard who endangered her life by putting herself in between a stabber and his victim. Deputy District Attorney Yoni Fraenkel prosecuted this case.

NATALIE ORTIZ, RACHEL and SOPHIE MARTINEZ

A mother and her two daughters who were shot by her boyfriend, called 911, ran for help, and testified against the shooter at trial. Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Lorens prosecuted this case.

Grand Jury Indicts 51 Defendants in East Village Open-Air Drug Market Case

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that 51 defendants have been indicted by a grand jury for their roles in selling cocaine base at an open-air drug market in East Village, an area that over a two-year period received 56,000 calls for police service. [WATCH COMPLETE NEWS CONFERENCE]

After three-and-a-half-weeks of presenting evidence, the grand jury returned indictments on April 24, against 51 defendants on hundreds of felony drug sales charges, drug manufacturing, weapons offenses, child abuse, resisting arrest, and gang allegations. Twenty-seven defendants were arrested during a day-long sweep involving over 100 officers on April 23. The defendants were arraigned in San Diego Superior Court on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Based on the charges and their criminal records, the defendants are facing prison sentences between one year and life in prison.

“I refuse to allow San Diego streets to turn into open-air drug markets controlled by gangs like you see in other areas of the country,” DA Summer Stephan said. “Our streets and neighborhoods belong to the community and not to criminal organizations that line their pockets from the sale of addictive drugs that result in rampant overdoses and incubate violence and destruction. When a criminal street gang controls an entire neighborhood and specifically a known intersection, every person who drives, walks, does business or runs errands in the area is victimized.”

The calls for service in the East Village area near 16th and K Streets kicked off a large-scale investigation by the San Diego Police Department and the District Attorney’s Gang Unit. Deputy District Attorney Miriam Hemming and Deputy District Attorney Michelle Sellwood worked relentlessly with SDPD and the DEA’s Narcotics Task Force to identify the defendants and convene a grand jury. The one-year operation consisted of undercover officers purchasing drugs directly from dealers, surveillance, and the execution of multiple search warrants.

“The San Diego Police Department is constantly monitoring areas that may become hot spots for crime,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “Calls for service and resident complaints in this area showed that something had to be done. This operation represents more than a year of dedicated work by investigators and prosecutors to disrupt the history of drugs and violence that plagued the East Village community. We are grateful to all of our partners for their help in holding these criminals accountable and will keep a close watch on this area to maintain the great progress we’ve made.”

It became clear during the operation that the impetus behind the success of this particular drug market was that it was largely operated and directed by gang members working in concert to benefit from rampant illegal drug sales at all times of day or night. After officers would arrive to arrest suspects on smaller scale offenses to curb the rising crime, the illegal activity would resume as soon as police left the area. In addition, officers discovered that gang members were conducting countersurveillance on law enforcement.

Over a two-year period from April 2021 through April 2023, there were nearly 56,000 calls for service to the San Diego Police Department, of which 6,187 were for violent acts. In addition, there were at least 6,500 arrests in the gang-controlled East Village open air-drug market.

In addition to the 51 indictments, 42 additional defendants have been charged with drug, gun, and violence cases, 16 of which included gang allegations. Law enforcement recovered a significant amount of contraband, including over 30 firearms, 3 pounds of cocaine base, nearly 8 pounds of cocaine powder, 350 grams of methamphetamine, 726 fentanyl pills, and over $79,000 in cash.

The dangers of this open-air drug market were so grave that there were over 1,000 overdose calls to police, multiple shootings, stabbings and assaults. Two of the intended indictees were shot and one of them was killed.

“This indictment is a testament to the cooperation and coordination of our law enforcement partners at SDPD and the Narcotics Task Force, working closely with our Gangs Division, that these defendants were identified and will now face justice,” Stephan said.

[WATCH COMPLETE NEWS CONFERENCE]

New Task Force Has Early Success Focusing on Chronic Crime Among the Homeless

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, City Attorney Mara Elliott, and San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit announced successful felony prosecutions today stemming from a recently-formed task force to address the issue of chronic criminal offenders within the unhoused population in the City of San Diego. The San Diego Accountability Renewal and Community Health Task Force (SD ARCH) was formed late last year to focus on criminal offenses most negatively impacting unhoused individuals and surrounding communities. These offenses include repeated drug sales, drug use, theft and vandalism.

[WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE HERE]

Four defendants have been convicted and sentenced in connection with the task force’s work. They include Frederick Johnson, 59, who was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale after officers found an ounce of methamphetamine plus an additional 13 vials of the drug in his van. Johnson was later re-arrested after he failed to appear in court and officers found more meth and five cell phones in a tent he was living in at Linda Vista Park.

In a second case, defendants Della Infante, 59, Angel Bernardo Reyes, 55, and Ramon Julio Byars, 44, were all convicted of sales of a controlled substance after undercover officers repeatedly bought methamphetamine from them. In the months prior to the incidents, there were more than 21 narcotics-related crime cases and over 25 arrests and citations for narcotics related incidents in the area around Sports Arena Blvd.

“It is unacceptable to allow blatant and repeated criminal activity to continue unabated without consequences,” said DA Stephan. “Offenders who commit the types of crime negatively impacting residents, business owners and other unsheltered individuals are a small but active percentage of the homeless population. Our goal is not to simply incarcerate members of that community but, instead, compel them to accept the treatment and services they need and thus, assist them in ending the cycle of crime and homelessness.”

“San Diegans have the right to expect us to use our powers as prosecutors wisely, focusing our resources of the most serious crimes, such as drug trafficking,” said City Attorney Elliott. “The progress we are announcing today reflects our commitment to that approach.”

“The San Diego Police Department is committed to addressing crime on our streets, particularly when it involves drug activity,” said Chief Nisleit. “The SD ARCH Task Force brings together a collective group to make an even greater impact. We are proud to be a part of this task force that will hold criminals accountable, provide resources to those in need and reduce crime in our communities.”

Two years of data show the overdose rate for people experiencing homelessness is 118 times higher than the general population. Being a victim of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking are found to high factors contributing to a person becoming homeless— especially for women and children.

“If we want our community to improve, we can’t allow open-air drug markets to rule homeless encampments,” DA Stephan said. “Unhoused people are already vulnerable and to further keep them in the clutches of addiction is cruel.”

“I want to strongly support the statement from our District Attorney that we cannot and will not allow open air drug markets on the streets of our city,” said Elliott. “Those experiencing homelessness or suffering from addiction are entitled to our compassion, but that does not give anyone a license to commit crimes in our community. We take drug offenses very seriously in San Diego because drug offenses often lead to the commission of more serious crimes.”

The SD ARCH Task Force is comprised of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office and San Diego Police Department and it meets at least once a month.

[WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE HERE]

Signatures for Ballot Initiative Announced

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that Californians for Safer Communities is submitting over 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-0017A1) to qualify for the November General Election ballot. To qualify the measure for the November 2024 ballot, the law requires 546,651valid signatures.

Today, DA Stephan joined small business owners, as well as diverse community organizations and associations to thank them for their efforts in gathering signatures and marking this milestone of submitting signatures to qualify this initiative for the November ballot.

In February, Stephan was joined by the mayors of 15 cities across San Diego County as well as business leaders, crime victims, parents of children poisoned by fentanyl dealers, and other concerned citizens in an effort to inform the public and boost signature gathering for the initiative. The measure would make communities, businesses, and streets safer and healthier by restoring the rule of law, holding repeat retail thieves and fentanyl dealers better accountable, and incentivizing individuals who are addicted and homeless to accept life-saving treatment.

The mayors of Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Escondido, Coronado, Chula Vista, National City, Oceanside, Poway, El Cajon, La Mesa, and Santee all supported the signature gathering effort.

“This is a balanced, commonsense initiative that addresses the fentanyl crisis by going after drug dealers who are killing our loved ones and imposes stronger penalties for repeat offenders of organized retail theft, which is hurting far too many families and local businesses,” said DA Stephan. “We need responsible reform that allows judges to incentivize life-saving treatment for those struggling with severe addiction, holds repeat offenders accountable but also gives first, second, and even third chances for those who commit theft or possess hard drugs to be treated for addiction or mental illness. Voters should have the opportunity to debate and weigh in on this important initiative.”

The bipartisan measure is focused on improving safety in every community and neighborhood in California. It focuses narrowly on accountability measures for repeat offenders of theft and drug traffickers of serious drugs like fentanyl, while incentivizing and encouraging more individuals to participate in and complete drug treatment programs. The measure creates a deterrent for repeat offenders and redirects addicts towards treatment rather than incarceration.

Passed in 2014, Prop 47 had a goal of reclassifying several felony offenses as misdemeanors in order to make California’s criminal justice system more equitable. However, it led to unintended consequences of increased homelessness driven by addiction and increased overdose deaths. It also harmed small and large businesses and their employees over the past decade through repeat and often organized retail theft, store closings, and difficulty convincing people to seek drug and mental health treatment. These issues can be corrected by the voters at the ballot box with commonsense changes to Prop 47.

The proposed ballot measure will:

  • Hold those who are committing repeated retail theft and fentanyl sales crimes accountable, for the safety and health of our communities.
  • Create accountability for repeat smash and grab offenders who are driving up costs for all Californians and chasing retailers out of the state.
  • Bring back incentives and accountability that are needed for individuals to get into necessary drug treatment and job training programs — helping them begin new lives. Currently those arrested multiple times for hard drug possession currently have no incentive to choose treatment with no consequences.

For more information, go to www.CASafeCommunities.com.

Political Consultant Jesus Cardenas Sentenced on Grand Theft Charges

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that defendant Jesus Cardenas, 41, has been sentenced to 45 days in work furlough, 135 days in home detention and two years formal probation for committing two felony counts of grand theft. Should he violate the terms of his probation, Cardenas could be ordered to serve up to two years and eight months in custody. Cardenas pleaded guilty to fraud related to funds obtained from the federal Paycheck Protection Program and the state Employment Development Department. Cardenas acknowledged cheating the U.S. government out of $176,000 in COVID-19 relief funds which he laundered and used to pay for personal expenses. He also unlawfully applied for over $26,000 in unemployment benefits.

As part of his probation, Superior Court Judge Rachel Cano ordered Cardenas must submit to search and seizure, must operate any business legally and comply with all rules and regulations of such business including being licensed, paying taxes, and comply with any campaign finance laws. He must also pay back the full amount of the funds he stole including $176,227 to the Small Business Administration joint and several with the co-defendant Andrea Cardenas, $26,700 to the Employment Development Department, and an amount to be determined to the Franchise Tax Board.

“Our dedicated prosecution team conducted a thorough investigation resulting in the service of 27 search warrants to examine financial and email accounts,” DA Stephan said. “They uncovered and proved that Cardenas had engaged in multiple fraud schemes over several years. In these types of cases, we often rely on the public, the media, or people who suspect wrongdoing to report potential public integrity crimes to our office so we can investigate. Members of the public, and members of local media outlets like La Prensa deserve recognition for their reporting, which helped bring this case to light.”

Cardenas began operating a political consulting firm called Grassroots Resources in 2016. In 2019, Grassroots Resources began acting as a payroll service for one of their clients, Harbor Collective, a marijuana dispensary. In early 2021, Grassroots Resources was being pressured to pay off debts including money owed to TMC Direct, a political mailing company.

In February 2021, Cardenas filed for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan from the Small Business Administration via PayPal. He misrepresented multiple items on the application, including: that Grassroots had 34 employees, when in reality these 30 of these individuals worked for Harbor Collective; that they were not engaged in activity illegal under federal law (marijuana dispensaries are not legal under federal law); that they were not a business engaged in political consulting; and that the loan funds would be used to cover payroll expenses. The loan was approved for $176,227.

On May 3, 2021, the $176,227 of PPP loan funds were deposited into a Grassroots Business account. Over the course of the next two weeks, the money was transferred between two different Grassroots accounts. From there, Cardenas used the PPP funds to pay off multiple personal expenses including $21,000 owed to American Express and he transferred $35,000 to his sister’s personal Wells Fargo account where much of it was used to pay of campaign debt she owed.

In a separate fraud scheme, in 2020, Cardenas unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits and received $26,700 from the Employment Development Department. He misrepresented on applications that he was not working and not receiving any income. However, his political consulting business was fully operational during that election year, handling the campaigns of multiple candidates and other entities.

This case was prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit. Team members included Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Boyce, Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez, Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr, District Attorney Investigator James Hawksley, District Attorney Investigator Justin Bostic, and Forensic Accountant Kevin Boyne. The investigation was also assisted by the Department of Homeland Security COVID Fraud Unit.

Disgruntled Patient Charged with Murder, Attempted Murder in El Cajon Dental Office Shooting

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced murder and attempted murder charges today against a 29-year-old El Cajon, California man who opened fire at a dental office on February 29, killing one and injuring two others.

Mohammed Abdulkareem, 29, has been charged with one count of murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder with gun and great bodily injury allegations. He was arraigned this afternoon in San Diego Superior Court. He faces life in prison if he is convicted of all charges.

“Today is the first step in seeking justice for the victims, their families, friends, and community in this tragic case,” DA Stephan said. “We grieve the loss of Dr. Benjamin Harouni along with his family. I am grateful for the thorough and professional work by El Cajon Police Chief Mike Moulton and his team that led to a swift arrest, and to our own DA team of experienced prosecutors and investigators who are working every angle of this case.”

In a motion filed today with the court, prosecutors argued against bail, saying in part the defendant burst into the dental office and immediately opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun. At least 23 rounds were fired over the course of about one minute. After the shooting, Abdulkareem ran from the scene and fled in a rented truck parked nearby.

The defendant is a former patient of the dental office. He was well-known at that dental office, having repeatedly shown up over the last six months to complain about his dental work. The Defendant was apprehended in the Balboa Park area on the evening of February 29, near the rented truck. He was found in possession of a loaded semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, and multiple handgun magazines. A handgun consistent with the shooting had been recently legally purchased by the Abdulkareem and was received by him on February 24.

This is an ongoing investigation, and the DA’s hate crimes team is assisting in thoroughly reviewing all possible motives. In the event evidence develops, it is possible additional charges could be added in the future.

The defendant pleaded not guilty and is being held on no bail. His next court date is March 12 for a readiness hearing.

 

Photo of gavel and scales of justice.

Oceanside Man Sentenced to Prison for Animal Cruelty

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a 31-year-old Oceanside man was sentenced to eight years in prison for torturing and killing at least 10 cats that he adopted from the San Diego Humane Society and Craigslist.

Joshua Boyer, who had previously been ordered to stand trial, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty on August 2, 2023.

“This was an egregious and extremely disturbing case of animal abuse,” DA Stephan said. “Our specialized Animal Cruelty Unit brings its expertise working with other agencies in order to investigate and prosecute these difficult cases and bring justice to those can’t speak for themselves. Let this case be a warning that those who abuse animals will be held accountable.”

To report animal abuse, call 619-299-7012.

To report domestic violence, call 1-800-DV-LINKS

On May 24, 2019, a GPS tracker on a cat who was reported missing led to the discovery of 10 deceased animals, and other partial remains, on Joshua Boyer’s family property. Humane Society Officers seized more than 125 pieces of evidence, including firearms and tools to inflict harm, that linked Boyer’s fingerprints and DNA to the feline victims.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Eva Kilamyan, who works in the DA’s Animal Cruelty Unit. Specialty units provide countywide, prosecutorial and investigative support along with dedicated expertise. This case included collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies, including Escondido Police, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI.

Assistant District Attorney Dwain Woodley Receives Bayard Rustin Award

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that Dwain Woodley, the Assistant District Attorney, was honored Wednesday night with the San Diego Human Relations Commission’s Bayard Rustin Honors award at a ceremony at City Hall.

The Bayard Rustin Honors awards celebrates San Diegans who work tirelessly as advocates or activists for equality and equity, social justice and community. Bayard Rustin was an American civil rights activist who was an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr., and who was the main organizer of the March on Washington in 1963.

Woodley was recognized for his continued and tireless efforts in enhancing the equity, safety, and overall wellbeing of San Diego communities.

 “Dwain Woodley treats everyone with dignity and respect, giving a voice to the entire team and to the People of San Diego County,” DA Stephan said. “His leadership focuses on internal accountability and community-based partnerships. He has worked tirelessly to deliver fair and equal justice, support victims of crime, build trust with the public and develop direct access to our office for all the diverse communities we serve. I am proud to work alongside Assistant DA Dwain Woodley to continue to build a model prosecutor’s office that balances public safety and responsible criminal justice reform.”

Assistant DA Woodley helped develop and lead the DA’s Community Partnership Prosecutors program which has been especially successful connecting the public with much-needed services around domestic violence, child abuse and hate crimes. He also works with the advocacy organization “For the People” on reviewing cases that might qualify for prosecutor-initiated resentencings.

A former public defender, Woodley joined the DA’s Office as a Deputy DA in 2001. He began his management track in 2008 serving as Assistant Chief of Central Pretrial and Disposition Division, Assistant Chief of Superior Court Division, Chief of Superior Court Division, Chief of the Juvenile Branch, and Chief of the South Bay Branch. In 2018, DA Stephan named Woodley Chief Deputy DA and in 2021 he was selected as the Assistant District Attorney.

Woodley served honorably in the United States Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1989-1995, where he was both a prosecutor and defense counsel. His last assignment in the military was a staff attorney for Office of General Counsel at the National Security Agency. He then served as a San Diego Deputy Public Defender before joining the District Attorney’s Office in 2001.

“Dwain has been instrumental in further developing our office as one that reflects the diversity of the community we serve by striving to recruit and retain the most talented, diverse and inclusive workforce in order to improve our pursuit of a fair and equal justice for all,” DA Stephan said.

Woodley grew up in Baltimore Maryland and graduated from McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) and University of Maryland Law School and completed the Prosecutors for Now course at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Meet District Attorney Investigator Jovanna Derrough

In honor of Black History Month, which is celebrated throughout the month of February, the DA’s Office is featuring stories of employees and what inspired them to pursue a career in public service.

Meet District Attorney Investigator Jovanna Derrough. Her job is to support the Deputy District Attorneys in an investigative capacity with the cases they bring forth to trial. This can range from interviewing victims and witnesses and following up on investigative leads to writing search warrants, serving subpoenas or collecting evidence. Read more about what inspired her to pursue a career at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“It probably sounds cliché, but I pursued a career in law enforcement because I wanted to help people. Everyone wants to belong to something… I joined the San Diego Police Department and became a part of a law enforcement brotherhood/sisterhood. At SDPD, I had the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge and investigative experience in the areas of narcotics, gangs, de-escalation, missing persons and cold case homicide and retired after 27+ years. I wanted to extend my law enforcement career and continue to serve the community by helping pursue justice for crime victims. Joining the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office gave me the opportunity to do just that.”

Why is Black History Month important to you?

Black History Month is an opportunity to spotlight the countless contributions African Americans have made to our country, and to show pride in our achievements past and present. Representation matters. I believe educating, acknowledging, and accepting African American accomplishments provides all Americans the opportunity to celebrate African American achievements and see how they are woven into the fabric of building our country. ‘Knowing the past, opens the door to the future.’ -Carter G. Woodson.”