PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – For the first time since announcing he was stepping down later this month, U.S. Attorney David Hickon talked with KDKA’s Marty Griffin on Monday’s show about his decision to resign.
Hickton, a Democrat, was nominated by President Obama and took office in 2009. He’s served since 2010.
Hickton made waves on the international level, indicting five Chinese army officers for hacking local corporate giants Alcoa, U.S. Steel and Westinghouse. And his office has been on the cutting edge of cyber theft and espionage.
“You have to be committed, you have to be nimble, but we have the best investigators in Pittsburgh and the commitment we’ve made has been unparalleled,” he said.
Hickon said with a new administration entering Washington in January, it was, “best for the district in the long run for a new U.S. Attorney to be in place.”
Closer to home, Hickton also took on the heroin-opioid crisis, deciding that prosecution wasn’t the way to a solution, and enlisting the public health community to get addicts into treatment.
“It was just as important to get dealers off the streets as it was to prevent people from overdosing and getting addicted,” he said.
On KDKA Radio, Hickton defended the use of Narcan despite the resistance of some addicts to get help even after first responders save them.
“I think my legacy in this area is whether we are going to achieve that,” he said. “People don’t wake up one day and decide they’re gong to ruin their lives by going on opioid — it’s a disease.”
A third priority was bridging the gap in police-community relations. After Jordan Miles but before the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, Hickton convened a group of community leaders and law enforcement, opening up a dialogue and finding solutions like having police walk a beat.
“We haven’t been free of problems here, but I think when you look at Western Pennsylvania we’ve been able to deal with our problems better and we haven’t had the problems that have completely fractured the community,” Hickton said.
It is customary for U.S. Attorneys to step down when there’s a change in administrations.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Soo Song will take over as acting U.S. Attorney on Nov. 29 until the Trump Administration nominates a new U.S. Attorney, which will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.