Though she tried to stay away, Anne Jackson could not help but be a prosecutor.
The mother of three had quit the job to take care of her young children. Working in a career where child abuse and family violence are encountered often bothered her as well.
But when she came back to Bell County in 2007, everything seemed to line up.
Now a prosecutor in District Attorney Henry Garza’s office, Jackson has helped bring together numerous resources and organization to attack family violence.
She helped assemble a task force of law enforcement, mental health professionals, advocates and government employees that meets every month to explore different elements of family violence.
She coordinated with Fort Hood, and now speaks across the state and country at conferences dedicated to the social problem.
So, when speaking with Jackson, the conversation naturally gravitates toward the subject that has become a career issue for the small-town Texas native.
“Literally, when I hear people talk about domestic violence, I get fired up,” Jackson said.
In law school at Baylor University, Jackson quickly realized she wanted to be a prosecutor. She worked in several offices until she quit in 2001 to take care of her children full time.
Jackson never intended to return to the profession. But when they moved back to Bell County in 2007, Jackson stopped by the Bell County Attorney’s Office to say hello.
Then County Attorney Rick Miller offered her a job. Miller has since retired.
Jackson said she almost immediately noticed that something had changed.
When she quit, the military had yet to embark on two foreign wars. Things were now much different.
“I could see how the police reports had changed,” she said. “There just seemed to be all this drama.”
Reports of physical altercations between spouses had risen. She questioned why she kept seeing reports of women breaking video game consoles, televisions, computers and other electric devices.
As a military spouse, Jackson has an insight into the typical military family. She now can see the stresses of deployments being played out when she reads police reports. “When I read a police report, I can see it coming,” she said.
But at first, Jackson thought something had changed with the culture and electronic devices. She soon learned she was seeing a symptom of the toll combat was having on soldiers.
They would return home, and escape into the worlds of video games or television.
Spouses starved for attention and exhausted from taking care of a household by themselves during a deployment would become angry at their partners for having become distant.
Tensions would rise. Nonviolent individuals would snap, and take out their anger on what they saw as the problem, the Xbox or the Playstation.
Her experience also contributed to being named Belton Citizen of the Year in 2012 for her work with connecting local businesses, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and military families.
Jackson now works as a screener for the DA’s office, looking at evidence and police reports and deciding whether the county will accept a case for felony prosecution.
She said she hopes to get into the courtroom again soon.
“The ambiguous, amorphous idea that I can decide what justice is feels really good,” Jackson said.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553