OPED: DA candidate touts record, responds to criticism

Dave Sunday
York County

During my service in the United States Navy I learned that “smooth seas never made a skilled mariner” and that when a storm is coming you sail right into it. After the Navy, I came home and worked at United Parcel Service (UPS) through college and law school. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in finance, UPS hired me as a corporate finance analyst where I did the cost planning for a nearly $200 million budget. I was rewarded based on hard work, perseverance and integrity. These principles of life and leadership I learned during my four years in the Navy and eight years in private industry have served me well.

York County District Attorney candidate Dave Sunday speaks during a debate with fellow Republican candidate Jonelle Eshbach, center, while moderator and York Rotary Club Chair Mike Summers looks on during the York Rotary Club meeting at Country Club of York in Spring Garden Township, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

I have been a lawyer for 10 years and every day I thank God for the first 12 years of my pre-law professional career, because those lessons in life and leadership gave me the tools to do what was right for the people of York County.

As a prosecutor, I know that we are truly blessed to have some of the hardest working, honorable law enforcement officers anywhere, and it is my privilege to work with them on a daily basis including the very talented men and women of the York County Drug Task Force.

Over time it became abundantly clear that the scourge of illegal drugs could be found in any neighborhood, within any municipality, anywhere in York County. After consultation with numerous chiefs of police, District Attorney Tom Kearney made the decision to expand narcotics enforcement activities by creating a countywide Drug Task Force serving all 911 square miles of York County, not just primarily the five square miles making up York City.

This could only occur through the adoption of a uniform policy and procedures manual to govern the organizational structure and operational procedures of the Drug Task Force. Policy manuals are not only commonplace, but considered statewide best practice for a multi-jurisdictional task force. It is widely known in any organization that properly developed policies and guidelines increases communication, promotes group cohesion and defines job roles and expectations. Policies of this nature are essential for officer safety.

This policy change represented a divergence of eras where accountability became paramount and resource re-allocation became a reality. Not everyone was ready for that change. Progress is difficult, but the community deserves public servants who have the courage to make the tough decisions.

Let’s look at the facts: Since the expansion of the Drug Task Force and implementation of the policy manual, felony drug arrests in York County have increased on average by 26 percent annually. That equates to an average of 220 additional felony drugs arrests countywide per year.

Data is an amazing thing. It can support truths and expose lies. And the data indisputably shows the simple truth. Expansion of the Drug Task Force and implementation of the policy manual worked, and the data shows that anyone who says it didn’t work lacks any and all credibility.

Recently, an ex-York City police officer, Ron Camacho, who no longer works in our community, wrote an opinion essay in the York Dispatch about me. It is my opinion that his remarks are purposefully misleading and are only a continued attempt to divide, rather than unite, the York County law enforcement community.

Oped: Drug task force dysfunction key issue in DA race

We must move forward as a team, and we cannot placate the few who desire for us to live in the past. The mission of stopping drug dealers must succeed. At the district attorney’s office, we believed it was essential to press on and take the fight to every corner of York County, from Dillsburg to Delta and Hanover to Wrightsville. And because we did, we now have 880 additional drug dealers arrested since the expansion of the Drug Task Force and the adoption of the necessary policies and procedures.

During my military service, I served our Nation throughout the world, including the Persian Gulf during Desert Strike and Central and South America for counter-narcotics interdiction operations. During my service I learned lessons in life and leadership that few encounter. These experiences taught me that there is only one way to win: as a team.

Under my watch, I will do what it takes to unite all law enforcement in York County to be an even greater force for good.

— Dave Sunday is York County chief deputy prosecutor. He is running for York County district attorney.