The U.S. Senate Thursday confirmed Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Eileen Decker as the top federal prosecutor in Southern California. She’ll serve as the United States Attorney for the Central District, which includes seven counties and 19 million people.
The confirmation makes her one of the most powerful federal prosecutors in the U.S.
She will take charge of the investigation into corruption in the L.A. Sheriff's Department and the county jails. She will also run the investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing at L.A. Unified School District in connection with the award of a lucrative iPad equipment and instruction program.
Decker will replace former U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, who is now a federal judge. Birotte has known Decker since the mid 1990s, when they worked together as prosecutors in the office.
“She is extraordinarily bright and disciplined,” Birotte said.
Birotte said the job is high-pressure, in part because it’s the largest U.S. Attorney’s office in the nation and handles everything from major welfare fraud to racketeering cases against street gangs from Riverside to San Luis Obispo.
“She is very no-nonsense, a good fit for the job,” he said.
President Obama nominated Decker at the recommendation of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“Simply put, Eileen Decker’s qualifications are impeccable,” Feinstein said in a statement. "The breadth of experience Ms. Decker will bring to the position is impressive, and she has earned the respect of the legal community and law enforcement alike.”
Since 2009, Decker has served as Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety under mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti. She oversaw the LAPD, fire department and emergency management department.
As a federal prosecutor, she specialized in national security matters. She served as chief of the National Security Section from 2007 until 2009 and deputy chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Section from 2002 until 2007.
From 1990 to 1991, and again from 1992 until 1995, she worked in private practice in Los Angeles at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Decker graduated from New York University in 1982. She earned her law degree from New York University School of Law in 1990.
This story has been updated.