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Broome County Has a New D.A. For the First Time Since 1987

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By Kerry Longobucco.
On New Year's Day, Steve Cornwell got to claim his spot as Broome County's top prosecutor. He earned the coveted seat by ousting 28-year incumbent Gerry Mollen in the November election.

Cornwell stood alongside his wife as he was sworn in by federal Judge Thomas McAvoy during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn. Their seven children were also in attendance.

Throughout his campaign, Cornwell vowed to take an aggressive approach to the area's heroin epidemic -- even taking time on Election Night to issue drug dealers a warning to get out of Broome County before he took office.

"I will say, to the drug dealers who didn't get my message, and didn't get out, we're going to take you out," Cornwell said. "We're going to get you out. The district attorney's office is coming for you."

Cornwell says he will show compassion by establishing treatment programs for users -- but says those who supply drugs will receive no leniency from his office.

"I'm going to be aggressive. I'm a compassionate guy too, and on the demand side of these drug cases, we have to be compassionate," Cornwell said. "But we have to send a message. This is our county. This county doesn't belong to the criminals."

Cornwell's decade of legal experience includes practicing criminal law on both sides of the courtroom. He spent two years as an assistant district attorney, and several more as a private practice defense lawyer.

Cornwell's new lead investigator, Jason Ellis, and six new assistant district attorneys also took oaths of office Friday. The group wasted no time getting to work -- shortly after being sworn in, they headed into the office to get started.