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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


07/14 - Defining “Dangerous”

How does Louisiana determine if someone is a danger to themselves or others?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


08/14 - Down the Road: Our Transportation Future

What should the state’s transportation priorities be?

Recent Topics


06/14 - Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate (Encore Presentation)

Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization?


05/14 - Job Market 2014

What does Louisiana’s employment market look like for job hunters in 2014?


04/14 - State Contracts 101

Will proposed legislation help rein in costs or create arbitrary caps that hinder agencies in delivering services?


03/14 - Louisiana and The Minimum Wage

Should Louisiana develop its own minimum wage?

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