CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. has announced his candidacy for re-election.
Shaw first joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1997 as an assistant district attorney. He was appointed first assistant district attorney in 2001 by the Honorable Paul E. Cherry, a position he held until being elected district attorney in 2003.
Before his career as a prosecutor, he was employed as a judicial law clerk for then-President Judge John K. Reilly Jr. and Judge Fredric J. Ammerman.
During his tenure with the District Attorney’s Office, Shaw has successfully prosecuted a wide range of criminal cases. These include murder, rape, burglary, child pornography, assault, white-collar crime and multiple drug-related offenses.
As district attorney, he oversees the prosecution of all criminal cases filed in Clearfield County. He also personally handles the prosecution of major felony cases.
As district attorney, Shaw is “extremely proud” of the advancements made to identify and prosecute cases of elder abuse.
He said his office works closely with investigators from the county’s Area Agency on Aging to identify and investigate reports of suspected elder abuse.
He said the collaboration on the part of his office, the CCAAA and local law enforcement has enabled the successful prosecution of those who victimize seniors.
According to Shaw, he’s “worked tirelessly” to establish the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Thanks to a partnership with Cen-Clear Child Services, the county’s center is “fully-functioning.”
He said the CAC has enhanced law enforcement’s ability to identify and prosecute child molesters, and it strives to minimize trauma to child victims.
He said he’s “extremely proud of the professionals who staff the CAC and the advancements we have made to identify and prosecute those who victimize our children.”
Shaw’s office has also been initiating plans to implement a drug diversion court in Clearfield County.
He’s taken part in meetings with the county judges and local service providers to work on developing a program that would identify drug users early on and divert them from criminal activity through intense counseling and supervision.
However, Shaw emphasized that a drug court/division program must be implemented with caution in order to guarantee its success.
Over the past several years, he said he’s worked “very hard” to bring a fully-functioning central booking center to the county jail, and he noted it was constructed at no cost to the taxpayers.
According to Shaw, the booking center serves every police agency in the county and enables officers to quickly house offenders and then resume their patrol duties.
“The process [not only] saves time and money for police departments, [but also] enables officers to spend time protecting our communities,” he said.
Upon becoming district attorney, Shaw embarked upon an effort to improve the quality of law enforcement and prosecutions in Clearfield County.
Among other things, he saw to it that Clearfield County gained access to the Commonwealth Justice Network (JNET).
JNET is a law enforcement computer network that provides instant access to important criminal history information used to investigate and prosecute crimes.
He said that every municipal police department in Clearfield County now has access to this “extremely valuable law enforcement tool.”
Shaw is also responsible for bringing JNET to the Clearfield County Courthouse. Prosecutors, probation officers, judges, sheriff’s deputies, domestic relations officers and Children & Youth Services caseworkers can now quickly access vital information that otherwise would have taken days to obtain.
Technology is an important tool for prosecutors, and Shaw said, he’s utilized the latest advancements including computer programs to track criminal cases.
With the use of imaging and scanning technology, he’s minimized the amount of space needed to store files and reduced the cost of maintaining records.
Prosecuting crime can be costly and to save tax dollars, Shaw has created the District Attorney’s Web site, and this too was done at no cost to the county’s taxpayers.
He said information is now provided to defense attorneys electronically. Also, defense attorneys and police officers are able to access secure portions of the DA’s Web site to obtain digital documents.
He said measures he’s taken have reduced the costs relating to postage, paper and copying and in turn saved thousands of tax dollars.
Shaw is a 1985 graduate of the Clearfield Area High School. Following his graduation, he served four years on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.
He was stationed in south Florida where he served as a Coast Guard law enforcement officer. During his enlistment, he received extensive training in federal law enforcement and investigation.
Shaw made multiple felony arrests, including for drug smuggling and alien immigration. He also assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office with preparations for criminal prosecution and has testified as a Coast Guard law enforcement officer in various federal courts.
Following his initial enlistment, he worked his way through college and law school by serving in the Coast Guard Reserves.
As a reservist, he served on active duty during the summer months and was stationed on the Great Lakes and the Coast Guard’s District Headquarters located on Governor’s Island, N.Y.
During his final year of law school, Shaw served as an active duty intern for the Coast Guard’s legal division.
He returned to Clearfield County following his initial service in the Coast Guard and enrolled in the first class of students attending the Clearfield campus of Lock Haven University.
He graduated summa cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in criminology. Then, he went on to earn his law degree from the Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island.
Shaw is a life-long resident of Clearfield County and he and his wife, Jennifer make their home in Pine Township. He’s also the son of retired Clearfield County Prothonotary William Shaw and Jeannie Shaw.
He’s an avid outdoorsman, a member of various sporting clubs and civic organizations. He’s also a member of the St. Francis Catholic Church.