By Jack Stollsteimer
January 6, 2023
It hardly seems possible, but three years ago today it was the honor of my lifetime to be sworn in as the Thirty-Third District Attorney of Delaware County. Over the last three years my team, in partnership with our local law enforcement agencies and elected officials, have worked to increase public safety while ensuring our criminal justice system is fair and just to all.
On this anniversary, I want to take a moment to share the accomplishments of the Office of the District Attorney under my leadership:
- We have reduced the gun violence homicide rate in the City of Chester by 60% and the overall number of gun violence incidents by 46%. In October of 2020 I formed the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods to implement a collaborative, community-based strategy to reduce gun violence in Delco’s only City, which has been rated among America’s most violent small cities for the last generation. Two years in, at a time when gun violence is out of control across this nation, we are making Delco a safer place.
- Through collaboration and innovation, my team has spearheaded a 30% reduction in the prison population here in Delaware County. By creating new diversionary programs to keep low level, nonviolent offenders out of jail and the implementation of a central arraignment and bail review process, I’ve worked collaboratively with County Council, the Public Defender and the defense bar, and our Courts, to make lasting, positive changes to our county’s criminal justice system.
- I also worked with County Council to successfully take back management of our county jail from a multinational corporation. Delaware County was the only county in the state that allowed a company to profit from those kept behind bars. Thanks to our County Council’s leadership, those profits are now being invested to support those who work at or are incarcerated at that facility.
- I became the first District Attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to successfully prosecute contractor wage theft. In March of 2020 I brought Governor-elect Josh Shapiro to Laborers Local 413’s hall in Chester to announce that we were teaming up to enforce a criminal statute that had been on the books for 10 years but had never been used anywhere in the Commonwealth. I’m proud to say that Attorney General Shapiro and I have now brought the first successful prosecutions for misclassification in the construction industry. I will continue to use my office to stop contractors from cheating their workers out of what they’ve earned.
- On Day One of my administration, I formed an Environmental Crimes Unit, the first in a DA’s Office anywhere in Pennsylvania. My team collaborated with Attorney General Shapiro’s staff in a successful joint criminal prosecution of Energy Transfer, Inc. for the environmental damage caused by the Mariner 2 pipeline; and has brought civil litigation against multinational chemical companies on behalf of our community of first responders exposed to harm from “forever chemicals.”
- I also brought successful litigation against distributors of opioids who profited by selling these powerful pain killers without warning consumers of the foreseeable harm of overuse leading to addiction. Because of my litigation, Delaware County will receive millions of dollars to invest in people and programs to help our residents who suffer from substance abuse disorders.
- My team has secured more than $3 million in new grant funding from the state to further my efforts to advance public safety.
In summary, through constant collaboration with the law enforcement community, County Council and other elected officials, we’ve been able to do some incredible work. In a time where other communities have seen a surge in violence, we have kept our communities safe, while still ensuring that our criminal justice system not only holds people accountable for their bad acts but also offers them opportunities to find redemption and become productive members of our society.
I wholeheartedly believe that this collaborative approach to public safety should be the model, not just here in Delco, but throughout the Commonwealth. I am confident that in the months and years ahead we will build on this record of accomplishment and do our part to ensure Delco remains the incredible community we all know it to be. Thank you for the honor of serving as your District Attorney.