MEDIA COURTHOUSE — Though the decision has already been all but made, voters will still select their nominees Tuesday for Delaware County district attorney.
The choices on the ballot are between incumbent Republican Katayoun Copeland, who was appointed in January 2018 to serve out the remainder of former District Attorney Jack Whelan’s term when he was elected to the Delaware County Common Pleas Court, and Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, a former assistant United States attorney and assistant district attorney in Delaware County.
Copeland, a graduate of Temple University’s Beasley Law School graduate and a longtime Radnor resident, previously served for 19 years in the Delaware County District Attorney’s office, stepping down as deputy district attorney in 2011 to take a post with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia.
She pointed to efforts her office has undertaken since she was sworn in to combat the opioid epidemic, aggressively pursue child predators and improve community safety, including an increased police presence in the Sun Village section of Chester.
Copeland said her office has also stepped up its senior exploitation initiatives in a two-pronged approach by not only prosecuting crimes, but also educating seniors about scams targeting them.
Her office has additionally worked to educate parents, teachers and children about school safety through workshops, and partnered with law enforcement, local elected officials and community organizations to reduce street violence by literally cleaning up neighborhoods to remove debris that could be used to facilitate crimes.
Since coming into office, Copeland noted homicide rates dropped more than 20 percent and opioid overdoses are now declining for the first time in years. She has also taken on larger issues, including an investigation into the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline with Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the Glen Mills Schools, which is accused of fostering a culture of abuse for decades.
Stollsteimer, who also holds a law degree from the Beasley School, stepped away from his position as deputy treasurer of consumer programs and public engagement to run his campaign.
In addition to his prior positions as a prosecutor, Stollsteimer was appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell as the Safe Schools Advocate for the Philadelphia School District in 2006, currently serves on the board of directors of the Delaware County Bar Association and is a founding member of the Delco Coalition for Prison Reform.
Stollsteimer, who also ran for state attorney general in 2015 before endorsing Shapiro for the position, said he hopes to make specific reforms to the administration of criminal justice in Delaware County if elected in November.
He referred to a “10-point plan” he released earlier this year that includes returning the county prison to county control rather than have it run by a for-profit corporation, reforming the cash bail system for defendants and reducing penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
Stollsteimer, who refers to himself as an independent candidate, said he would also like to expand the drug treatment court and establish an “Underground Economy Unit” aimed at prosecuting unscrupulous employers who exploit their workers.