By Steve Pickett

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DALLAS (CBS11) – The newly appointed Dallas County District Attorney told a standing room only audience Monday morning, she will prosecute criminals and fight to free those wrongfully convicted.

Faith Johnson is fulfilling the term vacated by Susan Hawk.

Hawk struggled to maintain her elected post, because of continued in-patient treatment for mental illness and depression. She officially resigned for the job in September.

Johnson was announced as the state appointee for the job by Governor Greg Abbott.

“I pledge to you, I will do everything in my power to promote healing in our county. There will be no bias in my administration,” Johnson said after her swearing in ceremony.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(Faith Johnson is sworn in Monday (CBS11)

Johnson spent seven years in the Dallas County District Attorneys office, including holding the position of Chief Felony Prosecutor. She served as an elected felony court judge for 17 years.

“Today we mark a new day,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings touted in his prepared remarks during the ceremony.

Johnson becomes Dallas County’s first black female District Attorney. Hawk was the first woman elected, and former DA Craig Watkins became the first African-American elected to the chief law enforcement post in Dallas County.

Johnson said she will move to reestablish the Conviction Integrity Unit, a department in the DA’s office focused on exonerating wrongful convictions.

She also wants to create neighborhood locales for prosecutors to assist citizens in the areas they live. Johnson voiced support for police, particularly for Dallas Police after the July 7 ambush killings. But she also added that many still do not trust police officers, and a divide is real. “I pledge to you I will do everything in my power to promote healing in our county,” she said.

Johnson’s Republican Party ties are an asset for the DA appointment, but Democrats are dominant in Dallas County politics today.

Johnson’s predecessor, Hawk, was the only Republican to win a Dallas County election in 2014.

Democrats, including St. Rep. Helen Giddings, Dallas County Commissioners Theresa Daniel and John Wiley Price were in attendance of Johnson’s swearing-in. All voiced congratulations for the new District Attorney, but one political insider with ties to the operation of the DA’s office said Monday, Johnson has one year to build success or voters will look elsewhere.

At least three Democrats have already publicly stated plans to run for the office in 2018.

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