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Undersheriff Jim Cooke to Retire from San Diego County Sheriff's Department

His last day on the job is Friday, Dec. 2. Assistant Sheriff Ed Prendergast is taking his place.

After 31 years of service to the county of San Diego, Undersheriff Jim Cooke is calling it a career. His last day on the job is Friday, Dec. 2. Assistant Sheriff Ed Prendergast is taking his place.

Undersheriff Cooke plans to spend more time with his wife, Joyce, two adult daughters and four grandchildren. Reflecting on his time with the department, Cooke said he truly enjoyed his job.

“I have had the remarkable good fortune of working a wide variety of interesting and exciting assignments at every possible level in the organization, while serving the community I love. And best of all, I got to do it with the finest people in the business. I'm very proud to be a deputy sheriff and am grateful for the opportunities this career has brought my way,” he said.

Sheriff Bill Gore says Undersheriff Cooke will be greatly missed.

“Over my law enforcement career I have worked with many excellent men and women, individuals who are knowledgeable, ethical and extremely dedicated. But I can honestly say I’ve worked with none better than Undersheriff Jim Cooke," said Gore. "Over the past few years this department has accomplished some amazing things, all while going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We experienced an historic policy shift with realignment, numerous major high profile investigations, the tragic loss of a dear colleague, and much more. Throughout all of this Jim has been at the center with a steady hand and a cool head. He is an exceptional leader and an exceptional man.”

Cooke is leaving a legacy of outstanding public service and leadership having served more than three decades in several capacities. He began his career with the department as a Deputy Sheriff in 1980. He moved up through the department, occupying the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Commander.

In 2006, he was appointed Assistant Sheriff of the Court Services Bureau. In 2008, he was assigned to oversee the Law Enforcement Services Bureau, and in 2009, was appointed Undersheriff to Sheriff Bill Gore.

In this capacity, he oversees the day‐to‐day operations of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. In 1989, he was assigned to the Public Affairs Division where he served as a spokesman for Sheriff John Duffy, media and international liaison.

Undersheriff Cooke supervised a team of investigators at the multi‐jurisdictional Metropolitan Homicide Task Force in 1991. The Task Force investigated and made arrests in the murders of prostitutes and transients whose bodies were found in East County. He was among the detectives at the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail who investigated high profile cases such as the murder‐suicide of Ian Spiro in Rancho Santa Fe and the murder of Vickie Eddington in Jamul.

In 2000, he was transferred to the Special Enforcement Detail where he served as the commanding officer of the department’s full‐time SWAT Team, Canine Unit, Bomb‐Arson Unit, and Crisis Negotiation Team. The team saw a lot of action with the Santana High School shooting in Santee, Granite Hills High School shooting in El Cajon and Congregational Tower shooting in Chula Vista.

Undersheriff Cooke also served as Incident Commander in Lakeside during the 2003 wildfires.

–Taken from a press release from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Kevin George November 22, 2011 at 11:23 PM
A little bit sensitive about pensions Fiona? I said "Yes Mr Cook gets his pension for years of faithful service. " It's not like I was attacking Cook. My comment was pointed at guy who is receiving a pension while serving time for crimes committed in the performance of his job. Are you in favor of him getting his pension as well? I think the time fo r" a simple change in the law" is way overdue
Doug Curlee November 22, 2011 at 11:51 PM
i'd agree with that..cops have to be held to a higher standard of behavior becdause of the position of trust they automatically hold when they pin on the badge.. if they violate that trust, and commit felonies while doing so, then they should have to pay a much higher price for doing so.. i'm sorry for arevalos' family..but he should have thought of them before he voluntarily went off the deep end.. the law should be changed.. it wouldn't affec t him, because changes like that are never retroactive.. but it's a warning for the future possible miscreants, isn't it? doug
Becky November 23, 2011 at 04:47 PM
A co-worker sent me this article about my fathers retirement; a wonderful article of all his accomplishments throughout his career. However, when I started reading some of the comments that were posted it disheartened me to know that people would make judgments and comments without even knowing him or the challenges he faced and overcame within his career. You can say that he knew what he was getting into when he signed up and you can make snide comments about his pension but you have know idea about all the wonderful things he not only did for the people he works with, but for the community and the department in a whole. Don’t think for a second that he hasn’t missed many family gatherings, holidays and birthdays, while also spending many days and nights in a row seeing and doing things you can’t even imagine. Yes, he will get a WELL deserved pension and if you had signed up to serve your community you would have been given the opportunity too. Congratulations Daddy you have been the most amazing role model for our family and so many others. Enjoy some stress free living for once and the love of your grandkids. We love you and wish you the best! Congratulations to you too Ed!
Tom Yarnall November 23, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Becky, I hope my children feel the same about me as you do about you dad. You must know that public officials are always in the verbal cross hairs of the public. It's too bad your dad got coupled to the corrupt retirement system in our county and others throughout the state and country, but facts are facts. This does not diminish the contributions he made to our community throughout his career. so don't take it personal. Go about enjoying the fruits of his labor with him, as I know you will.
Becky November 23, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Thank you Tom!

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