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.