Not much is known of Stanton's past, other than that he became a lawman and met the detective Robert Milano, believing him to be crooked after he was framed for murders, when he was innocent. He later rose to the rank lieutenant and headed his department, becoming a friend of Detective John Hobbes.
Lieutenant Stanton made his debut in the film at a prison. bringing Detective John Hobbes a cup of coffee while telling him that the governor unaproval of serial killer Edgar Reese's execution only made people want it more, before asking him if this was his sixth catch, and later witnessing Reese's death by Hobbes' side. The next day, Stanton greeted Hobbes when he arrived at the station. Later, while discussing a new murder done in Reese's style, Stanton was shocked to learn the dead killer might have had an accomplice, before afterwards stating that at least 50 people must have seen Reese's new documentary by that point, later learning from Hobbes that Reese's riddle pointed to a plaque in the basement with a name removed, which Stanton said needed to be learned. The next day, when Hobbes revealed it was Robert Milano, Stanton revealed he had met him once and that he was crooked, before stating that he couldn't help him on this subject and giving him a tape of Reese's documentary tape. Whe Hobbes told him someone died on his watch, Stanton replied to let him know when the world was perfect. After another murder in Reese's style, Stanton stated that someone must have a thing for Hobbes and asked his partner, Jonesey how he was, asking him to let him know if this starts to get to him. Some time later, Stanton brought Hobbes records of the two victims phone calls, revealing the killer called Hobbes' house from the scene of the murders about the time they were killed, before they discussed the possibility that it could be a cop. Later, he called Hobbes into the station asking him if murder had gotten him all wound up and where he was when the two murders happened. Denying the phone records were why he asked this, Stanton told Hobbes that his lucky coin, covered with his fingerprints, had been found at the second victim's house.
Revealing that he knew Hobbes knew more than he was saying, Stanton asked Hobbes to tell him, but when he brought up Robert Milano again, he simply told him to take a couple hours offs and see is family. After Hobbes had killed a teacher in a shootout, Stanton revealed his gun was full of blanks and that he'd got it from a stolen car, being displeased when the latter then revealed his notion that it was a setup. After Jonesey showed him some letters on the teacher's chest and revealed what he thought they were, Stanton, responding to Hobbes, told him he was killer now and that he would now return to the station. When he came in his office, Stanton, hanging up the phone, told Hobbes that the teacher and his wife had just been married four months earlier, that she was pregnant, and that he'd just got a raise, thereby dismissing the notion of suicide by cop. Stating that arresting Hobbes was the only way he could get the world to make sense for him, Stanton told Hobbes to go home, before leaving. The next day, after "a witness" gave testaments that the teacher's killing was unproked, Stanton sent a couple men to pick up Hobbes, and later asked Jonesey if they had him when he saw him on the phone, being answered not yet. The next day, as Jonesey talked with Hobbes on the phone, Stanton tapped the conversation on his own phone and learned what he would do. He and Jonesey later followed him to Robert Milano's mountain cabin to arrest him. After Hobbes called out and made accusation(intended for the demon Azazel), Stanton revealed himself and said he did none of those things and that he'd been sent up to bring him in. Drawing his gun and telling him to drop his, he was joined by Jonesey, afterwards declaring they were alone. When Jonesey, however, exclaimed he didn't iknow if he could bring him in and proposed they make him disappear, Stanton talked him down, saying it was not their job to decide anything. After Hobbes put down his gun, Jonesey stated that life always seemed to give one more surprise, with Stanton agreeing, only to be shot through the head and killed almost instantly by Jonesey, who was at that moment possessed by Azazel.
Given his rank as lieutenant and position as head of his department, Stanton was doubtlessly highly skilled at his job, and very experienced given his long career.
Stanton was a man with a considerable rude streak in him, and was at times, quite vulgar, using highly profane language. He did, however, have a sense of humor, and was respectful at most times to fellow lawmen, especially if they were very good at their job. Stanton appeared to be friends with Detective John Hobbes, hinted when he refused to arrest him after saying he would have a hearing, simply allowing him to return home.