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Panelist Bio


Mark Cooper
Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana

Mark Cooper, formerly of Bossier City, was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal as Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in January of this year after spending almost 20 years in California.

Previously, he served as a Deputy Fire Chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department since 2003 and has over 18 years of public safety and emergency management experience. While with the Fire Department, he served as the department’s Emergency Coordinator and managed a one billion dollar budget, human resources for 4,200 personnel, and provided IT support for the department’s dispatch center. The Los Angeles County Fire Department is one of the largest in the nation and provides fire protection and lifeguard services to over three million residents, 165 fire stations, and 72 miles of coastline.

While with Los Angeles County, Cooper developed emergency plans and programs to support the Department's role in the County's Emergency Operations Center while serving as a member of the Emergency Management Council subcommittee and representing the Fire Chief. He also helped lead an LA County team deployed to New Orleans for four weeks in response to Hurricane Katrina to assist with continuity of Government and mass fatality management. From 2002 to 2003, Cooper served as the Division Chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors over their business operations. He also served as the Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles County Police Department from 1998 to 2002, establishing their emergency operations center and developing emergency management plans for the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Cooper previously served as the executive assistant to the Fire Chief of Los Angeles County from 1993 to 1998, developing fire safety recommendations for the county following the 1993 wildfires, coordinating demobilization and support of the Urban Search and Rescue team deployed to the Oklahoma City Bombing and managing employee assistance following the Northridge earthquake.

From 1991 to 1993, Cooper served as a Division Chief for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department, serving as their first department emergency manager and coordinating response efforts to the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest. He also developed emergency management training programs for Universal Studios, NBC Studios, the California Specialized Training Institute, as well as local government in Los Angeles County.

In 2006, Cooper was named LSU Distinguished Alumni of the Year for the E.J. Ourso School of Business and Public Administration. He has also been recognized in Los Angeles County for his emergency management contributions including the 2000 Inaugural Award of Excellence in Emergency Management. In 2001, he received his Professional Development Certificate in Emergency Management from the Federal Emergency Management Association and has a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Masters in Public Administration from LSU.

He has been married for fourteen years. He and his wife, Sandra, have four children, Sarah, Sam, Seth, and Sophie.

Current Topic


     02/17 - Black & the Blue

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?
Last year’s shooting of an African-American male in Baton Rouge by two white police officers re-ignited a national debate on how law enforcement interacts with minority communities. Nationwide demonstrations were ultimately marred by the targeted ambush of 12 white officers in Dallas and the killing of three members of law enforcement in Baton Rouge. What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve? How can Louisiana’s Capital City productively move beyond these events? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on a special town hall edition, “Black & the Blue” Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm; Sunday, February 26 at 1pm and Tuesday, February 28 at 10pm after the State of the Union address on LPB HD. In New Orleans on WLAE, Wednesday, February 22 at 7 PM. (Recorded Monday, February 20)

Our panelists will be:
• Fr. Rick Andrus, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together BR
• Darrell Basco, state president of Fraternal Order of Police
• Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President of Baton Rouge
• Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Public Safety Task Force
• Stephanie Riegel; Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Reverend Raymond Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church host the program. Robyn Merrick with the Southern University System and Bob Mann with LSU’s Manship School will moderate the discussion.
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     03/17 - Fiscal Reform 2017

Is it time to reform Louisiana’s tax code?

Recent Topics


     01/17 - Healthy New Year!

What is the best approach to shedding pounds in a state where cuisine is part of its culture?

     12/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home (Encore Presentation)

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

     11/16- Beyond the Flood

What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

     10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?
»»» View all Topics!
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