In honor of Black History Month, which is celebrated throughout the month of February, the DA’s Office is featuring stories of employees and their contributions to our community. Meet Executive Secretary Norlice Smith, who has been working at the DA’s Office since 1997. Read more about what inspired her to pursue a career at the DA’s Office, below.
Why did you choose a career at the DA’s Office?
“In 1994, I started working for the County of San Diego because I wanted to do something in Community Service. I was working as an Office Assistant in Forensic Mental Health. At that time, my only knowledge of a prosecutor’s office was what I had seen on television. I thought it would be a depressing place to work because employees dealt with crime all the time. One of my tasks was picking up DA files from the DA’s office for the psychologists and psychiatrists to review before they evaluated the defendants. Contrary to my belief, I discovered the office actually had high morale. The employees I met had been working there for several years and had no plans to leave. I decided I wanted to serve our community by doing my small part of assisting the Deputy District Attorneys get justice for victims of crime. A bonus would be that I would have a more secure job because this was during the time when our country was supporting Public Safety and doing budget cuts in the mental health field. As soon as I found out there was an opening, I applied and got the job. It has been very fulfilling to have a career that has purpose.”
Why is Black History Month important to you?
“Black History Month is important to me because all Americans should be reminded of the contributions our Black citizens have made to this country. We should never forget the sacrifices they have made to make this country a better place for everyone. It is a reminder that we should not take our rights for granted. They can be taken away. We saw examples of this in 2013, when the Voting Rights Act was changed, and in 2022 when Roe v. Wade was overturned. When Black Americans fought for civil rights, all underrepresented groups benefited.”