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The Factors That Point to Why Cacace Should Be Westchester’s Next D.A.

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By Keith Olson

Over the last few years our nation has seen a dramatic spike in crime, particularly in many of our larger cities. Impressively, Westchester County has been an exception to this crime wave.

For those of us who call Westchester home, we should be thankful. While crime has surged across the country, including in neighboring New York City, we have held it at bay. This accomplishment did not happen by accident. Our law enforcement professionals have worked tirelessly, partnering together to keep Westchester one of the safest counties in the country.

When we consider the tremendous efforts of our local law enforcement, we automatically think of the police officers who risk their lives protecting our communities. Yes, our police officers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their courage and commitment, but we must not forget the role that the district attorney’s office plays in maintaining law and order. In keeping our county safe, a healthy partnership between police and the prosecutor’s office is paramount.

We cannot understate the importance of the D.A. when it comes to maintaining public safety. Sadly, far too many U.S. cities have learned this lesson the hard way. In recent years we’ve seen a wave of district attorneys elected across the country who seem far more concerned with criminals’ rights than the rights of law-abiding citizens and victims. These same D.A.s have arbitrarily decided to pick and choose which crimes they will prosecute, have recklessly watered down felonies and have refused to ask for bail. The results have been disastrous with crime rates exploding in their cities.

Marilyn Mosby of Baltimore, Chesa Boudin of San Francisco, George Gascon of Los Angeles, Michael Schmidt of Portland, Ore., Kim Gardner of St. Louis and Rachael Rollins of Boston are all district attorneys cut from this mold and each turned out to be a disaster once they were elected. Mosby was ultimately convicted for mortgage fraud by the Department of Justice, voters recalled Boudin while Gardner and Rollins resigned in disgrace. Gascon barely survived two recall attempts, and most recently, Schmidt was ousted in his bid for re-election. In each case, these activist D.A.s left their communities a much less safe place.

In Westchester, we have a similar reform-minded candidate running for district attorney. William Wagstaff, who was once under federal house arrest after a criminal conviction for credit card fraud, wears his arrest like a badge of honor while failing to fully explain the details of his crime or what became of his victims. Like the aforementioned failed D.A.s, he constantly talks about “reimagining the system” but he fails to recognize the role that this same “system” has played in keeping Westchester safe.

Wagstaff often says that as D.A. “you should not make decisions without looking at the data.” This is ironic considering Wagstaff ignores this same crime data when he frequently claims that some neighborhoods are “largely targeted and over-policed.” Wagstaff’s oft-repeated claim of “over-policing” is not only an insult to the police officers who risk their lives in these impoverished neighborhoods but also to the citizens who are grateful for a robust police presence.

Mr. Wagstaff seeks to become the chief law enforcement officer in Westchester County. But the reality is that because of his past conduct it is highly unlikely that he could pass the background check to get hired as a probationary police officer. This, combined with the fact that he has no experience whatsoever as a prosecutor, should tell voters that he is unfit and unprepared to be our next district attorney.

Thankfully, Westchester has an excellent candidate for district attorney in Democrat Susan Cacace. Having spent 19 years as a Westchester County Court judge, 14 years in the D.A.’s office as a prosecutor and several years as a criminal defense attorney, Cacace has the perfect blend of experience and temperament to continue to keep Westchester safe as our chief law enforcement officer. She’s also built a solid working relationship with local law enforcement, a key factor in being an effective D.A. As our next D.A., Susan Cacace will seek “justice with compassion.” She will work tirelessly to keep Westchester safe while making our criminal justice system fairer and stronger.

Westchester voters must heed the hard lessons learned in embattled cities like Baltimore, San Francisco, Portland, St. Louis and Los Angeles. Let’s keep Westchester safe! Vote for Susan Cacace for Westchester County District Attorney.

Keith Olson is the president of the Affiliated Police Associations of Westchester, is the founder and CEO of KO Solutions & Strategies and is currently working with the Cacace for DA campaign.

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