Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Chester County DA Candidate Steve Kelly Provides His Comments

Below are comments that I received from Steve Kelly, the third candidate in the Chester County District Attorney race. Mr. Kelly states that he was not given an opportunity to respond for the Daily Local article. If this is accurate, than I am particularly pleased to offer Mr. Kelly the forum for his remarks. Mr. Kelly mentions that the straw poll vote count is incorrect . . . can someone please provide the correct numbers?

There are two remaining Chester County Republican Committee interviews scheduled for the district attorney candidates, tonight and tomorrow nights. I understand the politics of this process but I am hopeful that committee people give all three candidates fair and honest consideration.

Dear Pattye,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the newspaper article in the Daily Local. I am disappointed that I was not given an opportunity to respond by the author of the article. I saw that the reporter stated that he made an attempt to reach me but I never received a telephone message or email from the reporter and so I question whether there was a sincere attempt to reach me. I am also disappointed that the article incorrectly reported my straw vote total although I am told there was a correction in the newspaper today.

At this point, I believe that the District Attorney and First Assistant adequately addressed the substantive issues raised by the newspaper reporter. It is my desire to refrain from criticism of the other candidates and to focus on the positive message offered by my campaign. I believe the other candidates are fine gentleman and are certainly qualified to be DA. I am as well.

I graduated from the National College of District Attorney’s Career Prosecutors Course in 1993 and was one of a few prosecutors in the nation to be invited back to teach on the faculty. I have over twenty years under my belt as a prosecutor and wear many hats in the office. I supervise a team of prosecutors, run the grand jury and help direct most of the major investigations in the county, oversee our HIDTA drug task force and oversee all major drug trafficking investigations, act as director of police training and I maintain a trial caseload. I tried two murder trials last year and since 1990, I have tried more jury trials in our courthouse than any other attorney. I have also litigated death penalty cases and won record setting sentences.

My goals are influenced by my training in the field of economics and I want to start with the recognition that we have to do a better job of preventing crime. Most crimes are committed at night and are committed by repeat offenders so I want to lead an effort to place curfews on felons who are on probation or parole. Such curfews should be enforced by probation officers partnering with police. The current model of supervision that relies on probation officers working 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. simply is not sufficiently effective. I also want a strong prisoner re-entry program. Because we know that idle time is the devil’s workshop, if a parolee is not working, looking for a job or going to school, then he or she should be performing community service. At the same time, I want the justice system to collaborate with church groups to enlist their help with mentoring parolees. I want a renewed emphasis on addressing truancy. If we can keep kids in school, they have a better chance of graduating and becoming contributing crime-free members of society. I want to partner with our secondary schools and colleges to help identify and address common problems.

There are many community-policing concepts that help save lives and money and I have the experience to implement them. Using many of these same ideas, I led a highly praised effort from 2001 to 2003 that earned Coatesville the Pennsylvania award for the “Weed and Seed Community of the Year.”

Another goal I have concerns training. Our police officers risk their lives every day as they respond to crime and they do a fantastic job. They would agree with me however that better training of police and prosecutors will lead to improved service to our community. What is more, better training can lead to cost savings in the criminal justice system. With travel and overnight accommodation expenses, outside training can be expensive. Therefore, we need to provide high quality in-house training for attorneys and detectives. I have had tremendous success in providing training to local members of the Pennsylvania State Police. I also started a police-training unit three years ago that designed and implemented an accredited CSI training program for local and federal agents. Graduates receive certificates as certified crime scene technicians. We just had a graduation ceremony this past Friday and I was proud to see over twenty officers and FBI agents complete this intensive ten-month program.

Thank you again for this opportunity and please know that I will continue the fight to keep Chester County a safe and welcoming community.

Steve Kelly

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  1. Since you asked – Straw Poll Final Counts, county wide, for DA race.

    Pat Carmody – 156
    Tom Hogan – 154
    Steve Kelly – 42

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