Prosecutors Are 'Under Attack,' Texas District Attorney Says
Texas DA believes security will become a way of life for prosecutors.
DALLAS, Texas April 1, 2013— -- Prosecutors around the country are "under attack" and should consider having a security detail as a way of life, the Dallas County district attorney told ABC News.
The exclusive interview with DA Craig Watkins came days after Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland and his wife were murdered in their home. Weeks earlier, McLelland's top assistant was also gunned down. Police have few clues to either killing.
In addition, Colorado's prison chief was shot to death in his home.
"Obviously we're under attack," Watkins said. "We've had two district attorneys lose their lives and we've had one law enforcement official in Colorado who lost their lives because of the job that they do. I think one time may cause questions, two times may cause concern, but three? This is the opportunity for us to advocate for adequate security for all individuals who are in the law enforcement realm."
Watkins, who is the first African-American DA in the history of the state of Texas, said he's received death threats in the past.
"We've been dealing with issues since I got elected," said Watkins who won the job in 2006. "We didn't take them seriously, but after what we've seen in the last month or so it's time for us to take a position that we need to look at this and take it seriously."
Watkins has decided to beef up security measures to make sure he and his staff are now protected.
"My wife actually is very concerned about it," said Watkins. "I have three kids that are also concerned because they saw the news coverage and they're starting to ask questions of me and what am I going to do to make sure that they're protected."
'''Dad, what are you going to do to make sure we get to school and we get home safely?'" Watkins said his kids ask him. "'Because if they would do it in small Kaufman County you're the second largest district attorney's office in the state of Texas so why wouldn't they do it to you?'"
Watkins said he's assured his kids they will be safe, but wouldn't go into the specific details about what measures he's now taking to protect his family and his staff.
He believes going forward security will become a way of life.
"I was always amazed when I first took office that you would have the mayor of the city of Dallas with a security detail but there was not one for the DA," said Watkins. "So I would imagine that these security details would be put in place for the duration of the existence of the district attorney's office in Dallas County and throughout the state of Texas."