COATESVILLE, PA — On February 22, 2019, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office hosted the annual Law Enforcement Officers Awards. Coatesville City Police Chief John “Jack” Laufer was named the 2018 Chester County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (the “LEO Award”).
The ceremony started with South Coatesville Police Chief Kevin Pierce singing the national anthem before a standing-room-only crowd in Courtroom 1 of the Chester County Justice Center.
In honoring Chief Laufer, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan cited three outstanding accomplishments that merited the LEO Award. First, Chief Laufer was a key leader in Operation Silent Night, a complex anti-crime initiative that led to zero homicides in Coatesville over the summer and reduced overall violent crime. Second, Chief Laufer has fostered an atmosphere of community policing in Coatesville, engendering a sense of trust between the residents and the police. Third, Chief Laufer embodies the future of law enforcement, as he has fully embraced an ethos of teamwork among law enforcement agencies, understanding that the police are most effective when they work together
Chief Laufer gave a stirring speech about how he strives to fulfill the goals of “servant leadership.” Under servant leadership, leaders understand that their role is to serve the people they lead, finding ways to make their jobs and lives better. As Chief Laufer noted, “The role of the king is to serve his citizens.”
Chief Laufer thanked his Coatesville police officers, many of whom attended the ceremony. The Chief also thanked the Coatesville City Council for their support, including Council President Linda Lavender-Norris, who was in attendance. Finally, Chief Laufer gave heartfelt thanks to his wife Vickie, who he noted “has suffered from being a cop’s wife for 33 years”; his daughter Lauren, who is a special education teacher in the Avon Grove School District; and his daughter Emily, who served as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps and currently is a Trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police – Avondale Barracks.
Deputy District Attorney Andrea Cardamone was honored as the Prosecutor of the Year. Ms. Cardamone led the team that convicted the former Superintendent of the Coatesville Area School District of corruption charges. She also prosecuted a complex homicide case and works with First Assistant Mike Noone to coordinate the sexual assault investigations and prosecutions in Chester County.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Cardamone thanked her colleagues in the District Attorney’s Office, her friends, and her family, including her father and brother who were in attendance.
District Attorney Hogan also used the occasion to announce that Chief Deputy of Trials Ron Yen was stepping down, moving to part-time status beginning March 2, 2019. In honor of Mr. Yen’s outstanding service, the Prosecutor of the year award now will bear Ron Yen’s name.
Chester County Detective Roy Calarese was named Detective of the Year. Detective Calarese is the head of the Computer Forensics Unit for the District Attorney’s Office. Detective Chief Kevin Dykes pointed out that almost every crime these days involves digital evidence from phones or computers, and every piece of that evidence gets analyzed by the unit led by Detective Calarese. District Attorney Hogan noted that while the rest of the world plays a constant game of “technological catch-up,” Detective Calarese always keeps the District Attorney’s Office years ahead of the game.
Detective Calarese spoke about the incredible explosion of computer forensics work in the past decade. He thanked his fellow detectives, as well as the Chester County Commissioners for building a state-of-the-art computer forensics laboratory in the District Attorney’s Office. Finally, he thanked his wife Lisa, who also has worked in the computer forensics field for law enforcement.
District Attorney Chief of Staff Charles Gaza introduced the agencies who had received District Attorney Commendations over the course of the year. These awards included:
- the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team for bravery and professionalism in executing high-risk search warrants to support Operation Silent Night
- Chester County Fire Marshal John Weer and the West Chester Fire Department for their response to and investigation of the Barclay Friends fire
- the West Goshen Police Department for the investigation and conviction of David Desper for the road-rage murder of Bianca Roberson
- the West Chester Police Department for the arrest and conviction of Barry Baker, who mocked and sucker-punched a victim with a disability
- the West Caln Police Department for the investigation and convictions of the defendants who tortured and killed three-year-old Scotty McMillan
In addition, District Attorney Hogan awarded a special commendation to the Chester County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (“CJAB”) for their role in creating a Central Booking Facility for Chester County. A Central Booking Facility allows police officers who have made an arrest to drop the defendant at one location for processing and preliminary arraignment, allowing the police officer to get back to work protecting the public instead of babysitting a defendant on-station for hours. East Pikeland Police Chief Shane Clark and West Vincent Police Chief William Mossman, the past and current Presidents of the Chester County Police Chiefs Association, accepted the award on behalf of CJAB. Chief Clark noted that the police in Chester County had been seeking a Central Booking Facility “for the last 30 years, and finally we got it done.”
The ceremony concluded with a memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty. Sergeant Pat Mark of the Phoenixville Police Department played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes to a silent crowd. District Attorney Hogan offered his thanks to all of law enforcement for their accomplishments in the past year and instructed everyone to “be safe” for the upcoming year.
Source: Chester County District Attorney’s Office