"And I thought God, I can do this, and I can serve Dallas County in a magnificent way," says Faith Johnson. They were some of her very first words Johnson shared publicly since being announced as Dallas County's new district attorney.

"I'll put my hat in the ring because it was important for Dallas County," Johnson says. "I saw the history of what was happening in Dallas County from DA to DA to DA."

The former judge and prosecutor is taking the reins of a department in need. The Dallas County DA's office has had some tumultuous years lately. Most recently, former District Attorney Susan Hawk stepped down after a very public battle with depression.

"She needs to restore stability," says attorney Toby Shook.

Shook has known Johnson since the 80s, when they worked together in the district attorney's office. Shook says one of the first items of business Johnson will face is restoring morale.

"They're in desperate need of leadership, someone... they can follow, and I think Faith Johnson is the type of person that can do that," Shook says.

With Johnson's appointment also comes a moment for the history books.

"Well, it's exciting," says former judge John Creuzot.

Along with Johnson, Creuzot was among just a handful of local African American judges when he first took the bench. Johnson has now gone on to become the county's first-ever African American female district attorney.

"She has been very active in the African American community," Creuzot says. "She's fairly well-known, I think, and I'm excited for those who will have an opportunity to look up to her, just as for example we looked up to President Obama and his leadership."

DA Johnson acknowledges the historic moment, but would rather focus on the work ahead.

"It doesn't matter who you are. I want to serve all of Dallas county," Johnson says.