Prosecutors and investigators are being stretched thin by demands from Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley as he more aggressively prosecutes public corruption, rogue cops, hate crimes and nuisance crimes during his first year in office. He is also seeking more money when county supervisors parcel out scarce dollars, and the supervisors should seriously weigh his request.
Cooley's new public integrity division has fingered who was behind the automated phone messages that falsely suggested Supervisor Gloria Molina supported James K. Hahn's campaign. The office has also beefed up "rollout teams," a prosecutor and investigator who go to every police shooting.
Cooley has said he wants go after organized crime and prepare for more hate crime prosecutions due to greater enforcement by the Sheriff's Department. He has said he would like to dedicate prosecutors to nuisances like partying neighbors, barking dogs and loud bars in unincorporated areas where the district attorney has jurisdiction.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has adopted a $16-billion budget for the coming fiscal year, but $8.2 million remains to be divided among several departments. At the state level, more funds could be delivered to county governments.
Cooley has asked for $9.5 million, not quite a 4% increase. Many hands will be out, but the supervisors should evaluate the new burdens on Cooley's office in deciding final numbers.