By GRACE GADDY
PALESTINE — Incumbent Criminal District Attorney Doug Lowe said he plans to seek re-election for his fifth term in Anderson County and continue with progressive efforts he has made in the community — progress he's been building on for the past 15 years.
“It's been my pleasure to be the district attorney for those many years and an honor to serve this county, but I feel that my job is not done as district attorney,” Lowe told the Herald-Press Tuesday. “There's more work that I can do to make this county a better place. And I think that my leadership abilities, my experience at being district attorney, plus my legal experience makes me the very best choice to be district attorney the next term.”
Lowe, a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, started working as DA in Anderson County in 1999. Since then, he has worked in a number of capacities to institute programs benefitting the county and serve with the prosecution of criminal offenses.
“We have a very busy trial schedule,” Lowe said, naming off examples of misdemeanors, DWIs, family violence cases, murder cases and more. He said the district attorney office represents and advises the Anderson County Commissioners Court, the Anderson County Bail Bond Board and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, as well as other federal and county agencies.
“In the first six months of this year, 2013, we tried six murders to juries, and we got six guilty verdicts,” Lowe said. “I'm not aware of many other jurisdictions that — if a county were this small — that can say that they did that.”
In the coming term, Lowe said he wants to continue with efforts focusing on organized crime, “whether it's drug dealers or human trafficking cases — those cases in which it takes more than one criminal to do those things.”
Lowe gave the Herald-Press examples of his involvement in such cases, which included a number of specialized operations targeted at bringing down perpetrators of organized crime. In cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, Lowe has participated in efforts to bring down multimillion-dollar illegal gambling operations, embezzlement fraud activities, drug rings, human trafficking cases and more.
“In this last term, we had focused on joint operations with other agencies to attack organized criminal activities,” Lowe said. “What we've learned from that experience [is that] our agencies, even though they're small, if we collaborate, we can take these organizations down.”
Lowe also emphasized his passion for helping crime victims, explaining that this was the reason he spearheaded the Violence Against Women program, in which a government grant helps women who have been abused.
To change things up a bit — as well as to be more efficient — Lowe is looking to bring technology to local law enforcement in the coming years.
“As far as my plans for the coming term, we have been fairly fortunate just this last year to seize a great deal of money from criminals through a joint project,” Lowe said.
The county would purchase iPads for street-level officers to communicate with judges via video in order to expedite the process of obtaining a legal search warrant.
“The crooks are pretty smart these days, and they use technology, so we need to be smarter,” Lowe noted. “We need to use fusion centers, which are collaborative efforts that gather intelligence. We need to be able to use those things... to use technology to attack crime.”
Lowe said local law enforcement and district judges were excited to try it.
“I think it will make a big difference,” he said.
Lowe supervises a staff of five assistant district attorneys, three investigators (one also serving as women's case manager), two paralegals, an office administrator, a criminal victims coordinator, and others. He said diversity was important to him, as evidenced by his staff of both men and women, and various ethnicities.
“I value diversity in our office,” Lowe said. “It's important to have people that are not just like you, because you need to have different viewpoints,” Lowe said.
Lowe reflected on his commitment to diversity in earlier years, when he employed Daphne Session, the first African American to work as a prosecutor in Anderson County. Today, Session serves as the County Attorney in Houston County.
“I'm proud of her, and what she did,” Lowe said.
Lowe serves as presiding officer on the executive committee for the Special Victims Prosecution Unit and sits on the board of directors for the Anderson County Juvenile Board and the Crisis Center, where he is a member of the center-sponsored Multidisciplinary Team. He also train lawyers for the Texas Children's Commission and is a member of the Child Fatality Review Team. He participates in the Rotary Club and the local YMCA, where he serves as treasurer and soccer coach. He is the vice president elect for the Anderson County Republican Club.
Lowe filed to run for re-election on Nov. 12.