New 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office investigator settling into role | CraigDailyPress.com

New 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office investigator settling into role

Scott Schlaufman

Doug Winters stands inside a courtroom Tuesday at the Moffat County Courthouse. Winters, a Craig native and 1991 Moffat County High School graduate, started working as investigator for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in mid-January.

Doug Winters stands inside a courtroom Tuesday at the Moffat County Courthouse. Winters, a Craig native and 1991 Moffat County High School graduate, started working as investigator for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in mid-January.Brian Smith

Doug Winters concedes solving crimes is best suited for a team of people rather than an individual.

"In my eyes, if you go through your law enforcement career just trying to do it all yourself and not working as a team, success is going to be hard to come by," said Winters, the new investigator for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

He used the case of Ian Ranney, a Carbondale man that was convicted last year in Eagle County on five counts, including first-degree attempted murder, as an example."That was a very fulfilling case in that everything came together," he said. "Officers did outstanding work dealing with the victims, and even interviewing the suspect. It showed a matter of teamwork that went into it that put the case together."

Winters recently gained a new set of teammates when he took over as investigator for the district attorney's office. He joined the office in mid-January from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, and replaces Joe DeAngelo, who left the 14th in October 2010 to work as a criminal investigator for the Colorado State Attorney General's Office in Denver.

The position is a homecoming of sorts for Winters, a 1991 Moffat County High School graduate.

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"It's been great to be back," he said. “I love a new, challenging opportunity, and coming back home to see the changes, the growths, just everything in general. It's been exciting to have this opportunity."

He said the transition to his new job has largely gone well.

The tricky part, he said, has been adjusting to covering the three counties —Moffat, Routt and Grand — within the 14th Judicial District.

"That's been quite the transition right now, but believe me, I'm loving doing that," he said. "I like to travel and help where help needs to be."

He said each of the three counties present different challenges.

"What I've noticed among the three counties is that there's three unique, dynamic, different communities in them all," he said. "Just learning from those perspectives the different dynamics of each community has been a fun and interesting part of my job so far."

Winters lives in Moffat County. He makes trips to the other counties several times a month and also when called upon.

"Obviously if a major case comes in or something of that nature, I'll be spending my time wherever it needs to go," Winters said.

Throughout his career, Winters said he's dealt with numerous sexual assault cases, including the 2003 prosecution of NBA player Kobe Bryant in Eagle. The case was later dismissed in criminal court and was settled out of court after a civil suit.

Winters said sexual assaults present challenges because victims aren't always eager to talk with investigators. However, it's left to authorities to remain compassionate.

"The most important part of that, especially in that interview, is listening and picking up on what they tell you to really take the investigation to the next level," he said.

Winters said he's been able to learn his craft from numerous people and trainings over the years. He completed Colorado Northwestern Community College's police training academy in 1996.

Rather than trying to emulate someone else, Winters said he's taken the training he's undergone and found techniques that work for him.

"There probably are certain investigations where there is a certain protocol or method that you need to follow, but generally speaking, you take the experiences and the education you've received and you apply them to each individual case," Winters said.

"It's OK to have idols, but I think ultimately you need to be who you are. That's when you become the most effective."

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