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SWEARING IN CEREMONY
Office of Justice Programs

Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson - Remarks
December 11, 2009

        Senators Reid and Sessions, I'm so pleased you could be here. Attorney General Holder. Judge Garland - with whom I used to work in the Deputy's Office back in the 1990s. My wonderful colleagues David Ogden and Tom Perrelli. Friends and colleagues. Thank you all - so much - for being with us today.

        I'm thrilled to have so many family members here, especially my wonderful husband Sheldon. And I want to thank my special assistant Rhea Walker for her beautiful singing, and recognize our OJP Deputy Assistant Attorneys General, Mary Lou Leary and Beth McGarry.

        And I'm so delighted to be sharing this occasion with my friend of 20 years, Ron Weich.

* * * *

        I do feel some sense of deja vu being sworn in as Assistant Attorney General for OJP. Haven't I been here before? I'm asked over and over - "Why were you willing to return to the Justice Department and OJP?" So I thought it probably made sense to answer that question today.

* * * *

        Why did I come back? I came back because when Eric Holder and I stood last fall - in the midst of the campaign - before police chiefs at the Police Executive Research Forum, we said that if Barack Obama were elected he would reestablish strong partnerships with state and local law enforcement - and I wanted to play a part.

* * * *

        Why did I come back? I came back because I wanted to help make respect for science a priority at the Justice Department and OJP, and with the leadership of this Attorney General - thank you, Eric - that is happening, and we now have leading scientists nominated to head BJS and NIJ, and we now have an ambitious Evidence Integration Initiative underway at the Office of Justice Programs.

* * * *

        Why did I come back? I came back because I wanted to make sure that OJP's grants are awarded fairly and without political favoritism - and I wanted to ensure that the grant process at OJP is transparent - and managed with integrity.

* * * *

        Why did I come back? I came back because - I think - we are uniquely poised to make great leaps forward now in public safety - and in criminal and JUVENILE justice - in America. We've learned a tremendous amount over the last decade from research - and from the on-the-ground experience of practitioners - about how to address crime, whether it's Bill Bratton's "predictive policing" or the kind of risk analysis work my former Penn colleagues are doing with Philadelphia probation or the advances the MacArthur Foundation has supported on juveniles - or other innovations - that can have a tangible impact - block-by-block - on urban neighborhoods in Boston, rural areas of North Dakota, tribal communities in New Mexico - and that list can go on.

* * * *

        Why did I come back? I came back, because when Eric Holder asks you to serve, it's hard to say "no." Eric, we are all SO honored to have the chance to work for you and be part of your team - although I'm still not sure you've finally settled this issue with my husband!

* * * *

        Why did I come back? My son Ted - who couldn't be here today because he's in the midst of grad school exams at Harvard - said to me recently, "Mom, I don't think you're a sidelines person." I guess that's true, Teddy.

* * * *

        So why did I come back? I came back because there's work to be done.

* * * *

        Thank you.

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