Blanks seeks 11th term as DADouglas County District Attorney Dan Blank announced Tuesday he will seek an 11th term in office.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Twenty-one years isn’t enough. Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank announced Tuesday he will seek an 11th term.
“It’s a great job, and it’s a great headache, but at the end of the day you feel like you rolled up your sleeves and you got dirty with the community’s problems,” Blank said. “And we think if people look objectively, the community’s a better place because of the work that’s being done.”
After a succession of turnovers, the office is celebrating an anniversary of sorts. They have gone a year with a full roster of three assistant district attorneys, one of whom holds a half-time position.
“Right now my sense is that we have got a good, solid team, that are motivated and happy in their positions and I’m not anticipating changes in the near future,” Blank said. “That’s a good feeling for the first time in several years.”
Drugs, especially alcohol and prescription medications, have been a factor in most of the cases the office has dealt with over the past few years, Blank said. Theft and burglary cases are on the rise, in part because of the tough economy. And synthetic marijuana is a growing problem.
Whatever the case, Blank approaches it with a “smart on crime” philosophy. Prosecutors make decisions based on what’s best for the community.
“The role of prosecutor is to look at the bigger picture, what is justice under all the circumstances,” Blank said. That approach starts with picking and choosing his battles. Then he balances public safety with the underlying factors such as drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues. Often, that means mixing jail time with probation, treatment and other options.
“We strike a lot of balances and that’s what plea bargaining is for,” Blank said. “We’re trying to find what’s going to address our community interest and specific victim interests, and it’s a tremendous challenge.”
The district attorney is also a firm believer in working together, whether it’s on the county’s drug court or the Coordinated Community Response Team, which focuses on domestic violence.
“I think it’s real important to be at the table with multi-agency committees. Having your finger on the pulse of what’s going on with others that you need to work with,” Blank said. “The working relationships, the day-to-day communication, the level of communication, is so much better when you’re at the table regularly, and I think that pays a lot of dividends when you’ve got to make quick decisions or you’ve got to know somebody to call for some assistance or for some teamwork.”
If re-elected, he promised to continue giving back to the community working with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, the Police Citizens Academy and the Superior-Douglas County Leadership Program. Blank also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of Superior, Cathedral School and St. Francis Xavier Church.
“If re-elected, Douglas county can expect honesty, integrity, hard work and common sense justice from the District Attorney’s Office,” Blank said. “It would be my privilege to continue my public service career as Douglas County district attorney.”
He said part of the appeal of the Douglas County position is that the system is small enough to keep the human element intact.
“People are people, not just case numbers and that’s how I’ve operated for 21 years and I’m going to continue to give cases and people individual attention,” Blank said. “That’s my mission.”
Along with the district attorney position, three county constitutional officers will be on the ballot Nov. 6. They include the county clerk, county treasurer and register of deeds.
The deadline to file nomination papers for these offices is June 5.