ICYMI: Josh Shapiro is Running As A Pro-Police Crime Fighter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2022
SPA Press, Press@joshshapiro.org
ICYMI: Josh Shapiro is Running As A Pro-Police Crime Fighter
Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, leans into his credentials as a crime fighter on the campaign trail and advocates for hiring more cops.
PENNSYLVANIA – Today, new reporting from HuffPost is highlighting Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s track record of supporting law enforcement and fighting to make Pennsylvanians safer. As the campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania enters its final two weeks, Josh Shapiro is continuing to communicate his vision to make our communities safer all across the Commonwealth – because he is the only candidate in this race with the track record and plan to do that.
This story comes after the Shapiro for Pennsylvania campaign has been running a TV ad statewide focused on Josh’s work arresting over 8,000 drug dealers, seizing 3.2 million doses of heroin and 4 million doses of fentanyl, breaking up interstate gun trafficking rings, and leading the fight to close the ghost gun loophole.
In his campaign for Governor, Josh has been endorsed by law enforcement officials from both parties – like Independent Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal and Republican former Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler – and he’s earned the support of organizations who represent tens of thousands of police officers, like the Pennsylvania State Trooper Association. Throughout this campaign, Shapiro has been focused on public safety – routinely calling for more police, more funding, and more training in order to keep PA communities safe.
Read HuffPost‘s major story here and below:
HuffPost: Josh Shapiro, Democrats’ Breakout Star, Is Running As A Pro-Police Crime Fighter
By Daniel Marans
Pennsylvania Republicans have seized on an uptick in crime in Philadelphia to attack Democrats.
It’s an issue on which the GOP has an advantage in polls, and many Democrats would sooner not discuss it.
“Crime in Pennsylvania is a real vulnerability for Democrats across the board,” said a national Republican strategist, who requested anonymity to speak freely.
But Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, leans into his credentials as a crime fighter on the campaign trail and advocates for hiring more cops.
“When I’m governor, we’re going to hire more police for our community, but hang on ― because people both have a right to be safe and feel safe in our community,” the state attorney general told supporters in a speech Oct. 8 at the opening of a campaign office in West Philadelphia.
“Being safe” is Shapiro’s shorthand for using law enforcement to reduce crime. “Feeling safe” is how he describes the complementary need for residents, especially Black residents, to have confidence that they will not suffer violence at the hands of the very police officers sworn to protect them.
“We’re going to see police that are from the community, that are properly trained, that work hand in hand with our community groups to keep us safe, and that understand they’ve got to get out of their patrol cars, walk the beat, learn the names of our children and talk to the people who really run the neighborhood,” he continued, eliciting cries of affirmation from the predominantly Black crowd. “You know who that is: The grandmas on their porches. They run the neighborhoods, and we’ve got to make sure we build safe communities by working together.”
For Democrats in an election cycle when they stand a good chance of losing both the U.S. House and the Senate and are struggling to hold governorships in states as blue as Oregon, Shapiro’s candidacy is a rare bright spot.
His lead over Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano frequently surpasses 10 percentage points in public polls. National Republicans, cowed by Shapiro’s massive fundraising edge over Mastriano, have effectively forfeited the race.
Coverage of the race has understandably focused on Mastriano, a Christian nationalist and participant in the election-denying rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. His hardline right-wing views, comments and associations ― he has sought to organize grassroots support on the Gab platform, a hub for white nationalists ― would make him a useful foil for any Democrat. Pennsylvania’s retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R) has declined to endorse Mastriano, even as he has heartily backed Republican Mehmet Oz to succeed him in the Senate.
But Shapiro’s strengths are equally notable: a record of outperforming other Democrats, a talent for public speaking and, perhaps most important, an ability to turn the issue of public safety into a political advantage.
“He inspires people,” said Jack Stollsteimer, the Democratic district attorney of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. “If he does win this race ― and I hope and pray that he does ― I do think personally that he has the kind of political skills and the governance skills to be president of the United States.”
As attorney general since 2017, Shapiro has earned a reputation as a tough-on-crime moderate.
That label extends to Shapiro’s work combating white-collar crime ― or, in the case of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse, clerical-collar crime. Shapiro’s decision to pursue criminal wage theft charges against Hawbaker, a major construction contractor that does business with the state government, is a particular hit among union members. The $20 million in stolen wages that the company agreed to pay out to more than 1,000 workers is the focus of one of Shapiro’s TV ads.
At the same time, Shapiro is the kind of Democrat who is comfortable ticking off statistics that attest to his success fighting all kinds of lawbreakers. He takes credit for arresting more than 8,000 people for selling illegal drugs, 500 people for child trafficking and 400 people for gun trafficking, as well as seizing 3.2 billion doses of heroin and 4 million doses of fentanyl in his first term alone.
In response to a Fox News reporter’s question about how he would tackle crime, Shapiro emphasized his plan to hire 2,000 more police officers.
“We need more police in our communities, and we need to make sure that the police and the community are working closer together,” he responded to the reporter’s question at a press briefing after an organized labor canvass kickoff in Media earlier on Oct. 8.
It’s not exactly clear how Shapiro plans to achieve his vision of community-police cooperation. He shies away from more progressive ideas like taking on police unions ― many of which are supporting his gubernatorial bid ― and making it easier to impose consequences on police officers accused of misconduct.
Instead, he offers support for broad “carrot”-like incentives for better conduct without getting into too many specific details. He wants to encourage police departments to recruit more officers from the communities they patrol and improve police officers’ training so they are better equipped to de-escalate situations that could result in the use of force. In the name of pursuing the improved training, he suggests he’d expand the state’s accreditation program for state troopers to local police departments.
“It’s not just physical fitness and using a weapon effectively, which is incredibly important, but also making sure that we’re talking to our law enforcement leaders and partners about mental health issues and also about the ways in which they engage with community ― doing so in a way that tries to mitigate violence and the risk of violence and instead wants to defuse different situations,” he told reporters at the Oct. 8 briefing.
Shapiro’s team pointed HuffPost to the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods, an anti-violence initiative in the small, impoverished city of Chester, just a few miles southwest of Philadelphia along the Delaware River, as a potential model for the kind of policing that Shapiro hopes to replicate statewide.
The Chester Partnership, launched in November 2020 and modeled on Boston’s Operation Ceasefire, identifies the fraction of young, gang-involved men most likely to engage in violence and targets them with an approach known as “focused deterrence.”
Under this strategy, the police department concentrates its resources on surveilling those men considered high risk and cracking down on any illicit activities. At the same time, community leaders backed by the government offer the young men help getting jobs, mentorships and access to social services such as mental health care ― should they choose to avail themselves of it.
Stollsteimer credits Shapiro for providing critical support for the Chester Partnership through political leadership and legal expertise, and even prosecuting some cases when necessary.
As a result, Chester is an anti-crime success story at a time when other cities in Pennsylvania struggle under historic spikes in violence. The city has experienced a 60% drop in gun-violence homicides since 2020, according to figures advertised by D.A. Stollsteimer’s office.
“The climate has changed tremendously,” according to Cory Long, a lifelong Chester resident and founder of an anti-violence nonprofit involved in the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods. “It’s given us, as a community, a chance to somewhat heal and continue on the process of rebuilding and keeping our streets safe.” […]