Veteran prosecutor Sally Moreno has decided Madera County needs a new chief law enforcement officer.
Moreno on Thursday told an audience of more than 200 Central Valley leaders that she will run for Madera County district attorney in 2018.
Moreno is a prosecutor with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. She was one of the speakers at a breakfast fund-raiser at Pardini’s for her boss, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.
Smittcamp’s early start on her 2018 re-election campaign briefly took a backseat to politics just a short drive to the north.
Smittcamp supporters were still working on their eggs when Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer went to the microphone to introduce Moreno. He noted that Moreno is a military veteran who worked early in her career for the Los Angeles police department. Dyer said she sent bad guys to prison while working in the Madera County DA’s office. He said she’s now doing the same in the Fresno County DA’s office.
“She is somebody I have grown to respect, somebody who has an incredible work ethic and someone who is extremely diligent in what she does,” Dyer said of Moreno. “We are very grateful.”
Moreno said her task on this morning was to explain to audience members exactly how much the Fresno County DA appreciates their support.
“Lisa and I go back at least three decades,” Moreno said. “If you’re from this Valley, if you’re from this community, you know, regardless of the numbers and how big it can look on paper, it’s a very small Valley. Lisa and I have been bumping into each other and working together for over 30 years.”
Moreno said she saw firsthand Smittcamp’s commitment to justice when they were paired on a domestic violence law enforcement team.
“That was the first time I got to truly understand the depth her compassion and caring for victims,” Moreno said. “And her dedication – when she got an idea on what was a just result on a case, nothing was going to get in her way.”
Justice is complex both in concept and execution, Moreno said. Using a local example involving a troubled Iraq War veteran, Moreno showed how Smittcamp goes the extra mile to make the legal system work as fairly as possible.
“This community is safer because of the efforts she has made,” Moreno said. “And when I talk about ‘this community,’ I mean the community of the Valley. I mentioned it earlier, this is a small Valley. Lisa puts out into the world every day goodwill, her best efforts, her achievements. She gives to this community everything she can. And she has no idea when and where that’s going to come back to her.”
It was here that Moreno shifted her focus.
“I, however, am from Madera,” Moreno said. “I live in Madera. And I’ve watched her – her moxie, her compassion and her desire for justice, her dedication and her work ethic. And I thought to myself, ‘If we could have a district attorney in Madera County who was half the DA that Lisa Smittcamp would be….’ And then I stopped. I’ve been a DA for a long time. I’ve prosecuted sexual assaults and homicides. I think I’m half the DA that Lisa Smittcamp is. And that’s why I’ve decided, based in part on the mentorship that she’s provided me, that I’m going to run to be the DA in Madera County in 2018.”
The audience applauded.