PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 12, 2014

Crenshaw takes oath as DA

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Jefferson County Criminal District Attorney Cory Crenshaw has earned a reputation for cleaning up crimes.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Baylor University and a law degree from Texas Tech University, the Beaumont native became a state felony prosecutor in the Bryan/College Station area in 2005, where he focused primarily on crimes against children and gang members.

“We had several proactive tools that were extremely effective with the gangs,” Crenshaw said in a Jan. 31 phone interview. “I already have some plans in mind for what I’d like to do to enhance what the DA’s office has done in the past, specifically when it comes to criminal street gangs in the Port Arthur area.”

When Crenshaw became an Assistant United States Attorney in McAllen in 2010, he continued that work, concentrating on narcotics, immigration and firearm offenses.

Crenshaw returned to his hometown in 2012 as an assistant U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice. During his stint there, he prosecuted complex drug trafficking crimes as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Now, Crenshaw, 34 — who was sworn in by Justice Leanne Johnson in the Jefferson County Courthouse’s jury impaneling room on Tuesday afternoon — hopes to utilize that knowledge to unify a community he says has stagnated due to corruption.

“When I returned to Beaumont, I unfortunately found a community that had gone backwards,” Crenshaw, a 1997 graduate of Kelly High School, said, addressing the crowd that packed the jury impaneling room to witness his swearing in. “Beaumont should be a shining star on the map. Instead, we find many aspects of this community divided by crime and corruption.”

Crenshaw replaces longtime DA Tom Maness, who retired at the end of 2013 after holding the position for 27 years.

Although he has only one year at the helm of the DA’s office, Crenshaw said he did not intend to squander it.

“We can ill afford to wait any longer,” he said. “And I am here to do everything that I possibly can in the next 11 months to right this ship, and to make sure the criminal justice issues no longer hold back this community that we love.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA