At heart of York DA race, a question of how to fight drug crime

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 10, 2017 2:30 PM

(Harrisburg) -- One issue is popping up over and over in the race for York County District Attorney: how the area is managing to fight drug-related crime.

Years of in-fighting among law enforcement has led to a divide between York City and County.


Jonelle Harter Esbach is arguing her opponent York County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dave Sunday drove a wedge between the York County and York City drug task forces, when he implemented some policy changes.

She says as the wife of a retired police chief, with friends who are police officers, she'll reunite the law enforcement teams.

"Those relationships and my understanding of the way the mind of law enforcement works, enables me, and puts me in the position to be the person who can mend these fences," she says.

Harter Esbach says she also has a wider set of experiences than Sunday, working for the state Attorney General.

"My concern is that even though some time has passed, given the nature of the wounds, that Mr. Sunday is not in the best position to reunite the task force because of remaining ill feelings," she adds.

Harter Esbach's been endorsed by the York City FOP.


But Dave Sunday says she's off-base.

"What my opponent fails to understand is sometimes change is necessary. Change is vital, and when it's in the best interest of the community as a whole, it must be done, regardless as to whether or not one or two people don't want to move into the future," he counters.

Sunday has gotten endorsements from the State Troopers Association and York County Fraternal Order of Police.

He says: "We've had a increase of 26% in York County for felony drug arrests. That equates to over 200 additional felony drug arrests per year in York County."

He also points to his experience in the private sector before working for the York County District Attorney, arguing he'll know how to effectively manage the operations of the office.

The primary is next Tuesday.

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