Oped: City police chief: Leaders failed at 'pivotal time'

Wes Kahley
York City police chief

Recent elections have brought to the surface past discrepancies between the York County District Attorney’s Office and the York City Police Dept. with regards to the York County Drug Task Force.

In this file photo, York City Police Chief Wes Kahley comments during the mayor's news conference on the spike in violent crime in York City, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (John A. Pavoncello - The York Dispatch)

A day has not gone by where I have not been asked about what occurred.

Opening old wounds does not serve a positive purpose and both sides see the event slightly differently.

The simplest answer to what occurred is that Dave Sunday and I failed as leaders during a pivotal time. The public is not interested in petty differences between entities or personalities. The public expects and should receive the best service possible from those entrusted to serve them.

As leaders of both organizations, it was our responsibility to provide great public service, ensure public safety and reduce the amount of drugs and violence deteriorating our way of life. We failed at finding a solution that met these goals and we should take ownership of that.

The blame lies within us as leaders and we are only human.

The York City Police Department continues to serve as partners on task forces with many organizations Federal, State and Local without issue. Our detectives are second to none bringing many large scale prosecutions to include most recently the largest Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case in the history of the US Middle District of Pennsylvania. These very accomplished detectives are at their best when they are working cooperatively with others as the concept of team is a very strong within law enforcement.

It’s vitally important that the York City Police Department and the York County District Attorney’s Office rebuild our cooperative effort regarding the York County Drug Task Force. This is not a foreign concept as we still work cooperatively on other projects such as the York County Quick Response Team, Group Violence Intervention Initiative and the York County Forensic Team. What is best for the citizens whose taxes pay our salary is that we work together as a team.

Leaders must always accept full responsibility of their actions. Ownership of what occurred lies with us and blame does not matter. There is without a doubt things that I could have done to change the outcome of the situation. I can only accept ownership of this failure and move forward to make positive change. It is my hope that the next York County District Attorney and myself will be able to sit down, take ownership of the issue and resolve our discrepancies to better the citizens of York.

Applying blame benefits no one.

— Wes Kahley is York City police chief.