District Attorney-elect Cynthia Zimmer says her experience leading the gang unit will serve her well as she prepares to take on Kern County crime as District Attorney.
Zimmer has worked at the Kern County's District Attorney's Office for 33 years prior to being elected to DA in June.
'The East Side Rapist' Billy Ray Johnson, East Side Crip Kerry Hastings, Country Boy Crip Corey Johnson are some of the most notorious gang members prosecuted by Zimmer.
Thursday she spoke to students at Taft College about gang crimes, their consequences and how she hopes to address them head on in her new role.
"The interaction with law enforcement that we have in the gang unit is something that I would like to have translated to the other units in the office," said Zimmer.
Zimmer says at 101 homicides, 2017 was the deadliest year on record in Kern- most of those deaths gang related. That's the type of crime she says she will start addressing, specifically by working closely with law enforcement.
"You have to work hand in hand with law enforcement. You have to be there, you have to be available," she said. "Answer their calls, answer their questions, go out on crime scenes and do that kind of thing. We need to work together and have a lot of communication."
Zimmer says by getting ahead of the problem, young people can be prevented from getting involved with criminal activity to begin with.
"Mentorship, civic organization, that kind of thing. Everyone can play a part in doing something about violent crime in this community," said Zimmer.
She says come January, Kern County can expect to see more opportunities to get involved in helping the DA's office be part of solutions.
"Well they are going to see a lot of accessibility," said Zimmer. "I intend to talk to the public about some of our problems and what the public can do to help if they want to step in."
After she was elected, The Fair Political Practice Commission announced they were investigating complaints made about Zimmer's campaign.
She declined to comment on the investigation.
Zimmer will be sworn in as Kern County District Attorney on January 11.