New Rogers County DA Sworn In; Promises Change
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - A new district attorney is now in charge in Rogers, Mayes and Craig Counties.
Matt Ballard said he's rebuilt the office from the ground-up and is ready to shake off the last few years of controversy that's engulfed the office.
Former D.A., Janice Steidley, had a contentious relationship with law enforcement, had citizens sign a petition for a grand jury investigation into her office and was voted out of office after just one term.
6/25/2014 Related Story: Janice Steidley Ousted As District Attorney For Rogers, Mayes, Craig Counties
Ballard promised all the controversy from that era is about to change.
"It's been a tough few years in District 12. We've had unprecedented disharmony and discord and I'm proud to say today that ends," Ballard said.
He said he will be a district attorney who works with law enforcement, stands up for victims of crime and will have the heart of a servant.
"These offices don't belong to the people who hold them. They belong to the people who put them there. I firmly believe that," Ballad said.
The courtroom was packed for his swearing-in ceremony, many people saying they are ready to move on from the Steidley era of being at odds with law enforcement and suing other elected officials and citizens.
Even Judge Terry McBride, administering the oath, took a minute to talk about the role of a prosecutor.
"His primary client and responsibility is the public. Because of this very awesome task, there's no room for unethical behavior or dishonesty, no harm, no foul does not apply to the D.A.'s office and his staff," McBride said.
Ballard's new first assistant D.A. is Brian Surber, who's a former state narcotics agent and awarded both, officer of the year and prosecutor of the year in the past.
The new supervising attorney in Rogers County is Tony Evans, who's known for his gang and drug prosecutions in Tulsa and Wagoner counties, and was awarded prosecutor of the year in 2012.
Ballard said he's making changes and means it. There are 11 attorneys in Rogers, Mayes and Craig Counties and ten of them are now new under his watch.