They got ‘im! In the early morning hours of Day 14, a collection of law enforcement and K-9 units captured double-murdering illegal immigrant Danelo Cavalcante. We must offer our heartfelt thanks to those who risked their lives to capture this butcher.

Any politician wanting to take a victory lap had better sit down and think about what happened and what they should’ve done differently. And they had better be prepared to answer questions — and to fix this.

Any citizens who simply breathe a sigh of relief and go about their business without holding accountable the politicians who let us down are simply allowing politicians to set us up for this again.

READ MORE — Guy Ciarrocchi: This time, Democrats’ law enforcement failures hit home

We are duty-bound to demand accountability from our elected officials and to demand safety over feel-good ideology. And we should kick out the politicians who put their progressive ideology above our safety. We need serious elected officials who understand that job one is to keep the “bad guys” away from the “good guys.”

These things don’t “just happen.” Bad policies and the wrong priorities caused this escape and the fourteen-day manhunt to happen — the Commissioners, the DA, and the Sheriff — in their individual roles and as our Chester County Prison Board. And the politicians supporting open, unsecured borders — and a lack of seriousness in sending back hardened criminals when they’re captured.

They failed us.

Worse, the Democratic Commissioners are running for re-election, and the DA and Sheriff want us to elect them to lifetime jobs as judges. Thanks, but no thanks.

During his escape, schools in multiple school districts closed. West Chester University and Longwood Gardens closed. Small businesses closed or closed early. School sports events were canceled. 911 text alerts warned residents to shelter in place and lock their doors. Almost every Chester County resident heard helicopters racing across our skies. Roads were blocked off. And officers — necessarily clothed in body armor, and armed with assault rifles — conducted checkpoints searching cars and minivans.  

How did this happen? Why did it take so long? How do we make sure it never happens again?

Those who say that “these things happen” or that it’s “political” to be critical: respectfully, you’re wrong. It’s that mindset that allows politicians to radically change policies, upend our lives, and then pretend that actions don’t have consequences or pass the buck and blame others.

We elect politicians to do their jobs. We expect them to be serious about our safety. No silliness about “de-funding the police” or about cutting back on police. No lectures about “understanding” violent criminals. And when you change policies and practices and bad things happen, admit it. “You break it, you buy it.” 

Over the past fourteen days, my neighbors and I in Chester County have experienced a range of emotions. Hopefully, we will channel those emotions into action.

How does accountability begin? Here are questions challenging the flawed policy decisions — to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We know that Cavalcante escaped from Chester County prison on August 31 the same way another prisoner escaped in May of this year: “crab-crawling” up the walls, onto a roof, and over the fences. During his escape, he robbed homes; stole a rifle and bullets, stole cars, and changed his appearance — until he was captured 27 miles from the prison.

Local politicians have been whining about being short-staffed. It’s also been reported that the K-9 unit has been reduced to two dogs. That the long-time warden left. That there have been other escapes besides the other “crab crawler” in May.

  • Do the Commissioners pledge to make full staffing a top priority? Perhaps reach out to retired police, sheriffs, or military personnel?
  • Does the Sheriff pledge to increase the K-9 unit? Be an active participant in the Prison Board? Apologize for holding a fundraiser and posing for pictures while a murderer terrorized our neighbors?
  • Does the DA recognize that she should have alerted the public sooner? Sent out Cavalcante’s picture sooner? Asked for State Police help sooner than Day 5? Shouldn’t she have urged the judge to send him to a prison with more security, if Chester County was short-staffed and had had a recent escape? Does she regret not turning him over to ICE when he was first apprehended for domestic violence, prior to committing murder?
  • Do these officials — as members of the Prison Board — pledge to not accept another murderer or rapist until they are fully staffed? Will they pledge to change policies and put armed guards on convicted murderers and rapists until they’re safely sent to a state penitentiary? Do they pledge to no longer allow murderers to roam freely for recreation?

These are reasonable, actionable questions. Each contributed both to Cavalcante’s escape and to the fourteen-day manhunt.

Furthermore, do these politicians understand that marching in “de-fund the police” rallies and supporting left-wing allies and their legislation contributes to law enforcement retirements and difficulty recruiting replacements?

Do they understand that leaving our border unsecured and not deporting people like this endangers lives and livelihoods?

In America — in Chester County — we hold elections. Candidates run on platforms. And, when elected, they vote on or institute their policies. Their actions, inactions, and priorities have consequences.

If they don’t, why have elections? It is our duty to ask questions and to demand answers and accountability.

Over the past fourteen days, my neighbors and I in Chester County have experienced a range of emotions: uncertainty, fear, and anger. Hopefully, we will channel those emotions into action. If we do, change will happen. If we do not, it’s only a matter of time until another one of “these things” happens again.

Guy Ciarrocchi is a former Deputy Attorney General. He is a Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation, and writes for Broad + Liberty and RealClear Pennsylvania. @PaSuburbsGuy

2 thoughts on “Guy Ciarrocchi: They got ‘im! Now what?”

  1. This is a great article by Guy. He highlights the poor thinking of this illegal murder from start to finish. I heard none of the facts behind the prolonged “man hunt” from the media as the murder escaped one shrinking perimeter after another. Thanks for your diligence and willingness to hold leadership accountable.

  2. Nice article highlighting the deficiencies of our county leadership who continue shirking their responsibilities for what has happened. Takes me back to the 2020/2021 time frame when trying to understand how our county commissioners could enter in a $20 million contract to purchase Covid test kits with no cancellation provisions in the contract. I’ve not been around any public entity that did not have multiple levels of approval before signing. So I filed a FOIA request with the county, and was told they did not keep records and I needed to go to the Commonwealth. So, I filed a request with the Commonwealth only to find they had no information (what a big surprise!). As you will recall, the commissioners hired a Philly law firm to review things and come up with new procurement procedures for $86k. I asked for a copy of the report. The commissioners did not ask for a report! Wow! I was told they only asked for a presentation of the new policy. The only way to fix a process is to conduct a root cause analysis so that the root of a problem is known and can be addressed. This, like the contract the commissioners entered into does not pass the smell test. It is hard to believe that county policy, if followed, would have resulted in such a lopsided contract favoring the supplier to be approved by the commissioners being signed. And no attorney would recommend the signing of a contract without a termination for clause, whether for cause or convenience. While I still wonder today what really happened, I have given up.

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