In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, we are highlighting stories from DA employees and what inspired them to pursue a career in public service. Meet Deputy District Attorney Laura Palacios.
Laura was born in South Lake Tahoe, California and grew up in Reno, Nevada, where she lived up until moving to San Diego for law school. Throughout high school and college she worked part-time and full-time jobs at restaurants. She became an intern at the DA’s Office during the summer of 2018, then she joined the Graduate Law Clerk program at the DA’s Office in 2019 and was officially hired as a Deputy District Attorney in January 2020. Laura is currently a Deputy District Attorney III in the Family Protection Division of the North County branch. As part of her current position, she is on the felony trial team and she vertically handles cases that are assigned to her, which range from domestic violence against family members or significant others, physical and sexual child abuse, and elder abuse.
In her spare time, she likes to try new restaurants around San Diego and be with her family. She likes being active and is currently training for her third marathon in December. She runs on the weekends and enjoys tennis, volleyball, cooking, doing crafts, and being a dog mom. She also serves on the board of the Deputy District Attorney’s Association where she oversees planning the events that are held by the association every year including Hail and Farewell, the New Deputy Happy Hour, and the Holiday Party.
What inspired you to choose a career in law enforcement/at the DA’s Office?
“Being a prosecutor is one of the most fulfilling and purposeful jobs a person can choose. It is a job that is not easy, and can beat you down mentally and physically, but that is so rewarding because of the victims you help. I always wanted to be in a career that allowed me to use my voice to stand up for people who couldn’t or wouldn’t stand up for themselves. I wanted to be able to tell myself every day that I was doing the right thing and seeking justice for our most vulnerable population in family protection: children, the elderly, and those suffering in their own homes at the hands of their family members.”
What is your favorite part of the job?
“My favorite part of the job is the people I work with who make the hard subject matter manageable. The knowledge and mentorship I gain from my colleagues is invaluable and I am so grateful to be surrounded by people who are so good at their craft, and to be able to learn from them.”
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? Why is it important?
“Hispanic Heritage Month to me is a celebration of our culture and a recognition that people from different backgrounds and cultures exist amongst each other. It’s important to me because I feel that being relatable and approachable is extremely important to our community and our victims. It is special being able to serve our Latino community and speak Spanish to victims and witnesses when they are going through the criminal justice system and experiencing trauma and uncomfortable situations. I feel great joy when someone asks me if I speak Spanish and I see a wave of relief come across their face. I feel like they can be comfortable and feel more heard and seen when we can show them we are their equal.”