DA honors local law enforcement for Cavalcante capture and more

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Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan (second from left) honors various members of law enforcement for their work to keep the people of Chester County safe.

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office held its annual awards ceremony to honor law enforcement, first responders, and others for their contributions and sacrifices in keeping Chester County a safer place for all. Among others, those involved in the two-week manhunt of escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante in September were recognized for their successful efforts.

District Attorney Deb Ryan highlighted the many accomplishments that occurred over the year. Ryan stated, “the individuals who are recognized today are the ones that do the dangerous, challenging, and hard work that most people don’t see but it is the work that really matters. These heroes continue to ensure our community is safe, rules are enforced, and justice is served. It is never about the accolades. You do this work because you care about helping others.”

Ryan stated that throughout the challenging year law enforcement and first responders worked tirelessly to serve and protect our communities, prosecutors remained steadfast in their pursuit of justice, and the support staff kept the office running efficiently and productively.

A big emphasis for this year’s accomplishments was the successful collaboration among law enforcement, specialized task forces, and the integration of advanced technology.

Ryan addressed the unforgettable manhunt that left Chester County at a standstill for two weeks while hundreds of first responders searched for Cavalcante. Ryan said, “Our community was front and center on a national and international stage as we faced one of the greatest challenges law enforcement has seen in this county. Because of their dedicated efforts and outstanding collaboration we brought this fugitive to justice.”

Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police was awarded the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his unflappable, decisive, and collaborative leadership. Bivens brought a long-decorated past into his efforts during the manhunt that resulted in Cavalcante’s capture.

Ryan stressed that effective teamwork was critical during this mission. She said, “The was absolutely a team effort. All of our agencies worked professionally together and this high level of coordination and expertise was exactly what was required during a time of crisis.”

Bivens and PSP worked alongside the Chester County Detectives, U.S. Marshals,

U.S. Border Control Tactical Unit, FBI, Department of Emergency Services, SWAT, Sheriff’s Department, and other local, state, and federal agencies. The search involved canvassing large areas of rough terrain in exhaustive heat throughout Pocopson Township and northern Chester County. Every resource available was utilized including K9 search teams, thermal imaging technology, helicopters, and DEA fixed-wing aircrafts.

Ryan also noted the unprecedented number of arrests and convictions of child abuse cases over the past year. Assistant District Attorney Zachary Yurick, one of the prosecutors assigned to the child abuse unit, won the Prosecutor of the Year for his relentless efforts in keeping our most vulnerable population safe through his skilled and compassionate talent.

Lieutenant Robert Dougherty was the recipient of the Chester County Detective of the Year. Chester County Chief David Sassa described Dougherty as “detailed, methodical, hardworking, and a consummate team player. With over 45 years in law enforcement he has consistently demonstrated his commitment and

dedication to a job he sincerely loves.”

Elizabeth DiFilippo received the Administrative Assistant of the Year for her tenacity and persistence in helping victims, prosecutors, and detectives.

The award recipients were:

  • Law Enforcement Officer of the Year – Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens
  • Prosecutor of the Year – Assistant District Attorney Zachary Yurick
  • Chester County Detective of the Year – Lieutenant Bob Dougherty
  • Administrative Professional of the Year – Elizabeth DiFilippo
  • DAO Commendation: Pennsylvania State Police
  • DAO Commendation: United States Marshals
  • DAO Commendation: United States Customs and Border Patrol Protection
  • DAO Commendation: Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • DAO Commendation: Chester County Emergency Response Team
  • DAO Commendation: West Chester Emergency Response Team
  • DAO Commendation: Chester County Department of Emergency Services
  • DAO Commendation: Chester County Detectives

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