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WEST CHESTER — Of all the places he could be a district attorney, Tom Hogan is happy he’s here in Chester County.
Though that isn’t to say the county is perfect.
As a guest speaker at the annual League of Women Voters luncheon June 23, Hogan discussed the three worries he has from morning until night.
“Child abuse bothers the heck out of me,” he told the gathered crowd. “It really worries me right now. We are arresting and prosecuting more people for child abuse than ever, but that is not bad news because it does not mean there is more child abuse out there right now. There is the same level of child abuse. We are getting much better at investigating it, discovering it and prosecuting it. We are do programs at schools.”
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Hogan’s goal is to stop the cycle of child abuse because, as he said, majority of the abused will grow up to abuse another.
Another large task is to stop the prescription drug epidemic.
“Oxycodone — synthetic heroin basically,” Hogan said. “In 1998, 11.5 tons were produces worldwide. In 2010, 122.5 tons were produced worldwide. Eighty-seven percent of the worldwide production is used here in the United States.”
Kids may start on oxycodone because it’s prescribed to them after an injury, or maybe they take it from the medicine cabinet because the parent or guardian never disposed of it.
However it happens, these kids may get addicted to it and once their supply runs out, they turn to borrowing from friends, stealing them or buying them on the street.
“On the street, one pill of oxycodone costs about $20 to $30,” Hogan said. “It’s expensive, but they have to support this habit. When they can’t get the oxycodone because it’s costing them $150 to $200 a day, they go to heroin. One hit of heroin costs $5. It’s that much cheaper.”
Hogan reminded the luncheon attendees that there are medication drop-off boxes located all over the county.
He urged them to drop them off at one of the 18 locations instead of just flushing them because Environmental Protection Agency studies have detected pharmaceutical drugs in the water supply.
Hogan’s last worry, which doesn’t seem to be a big concern in the county, is the relationship between the police and citizens, which has been on shaky ground nationwide as of late.
“In Chester County, the police actually generally like the citizens who they are policing for and generally respect the citizens they’re policing for,” he said. “They are invested in Chester County.”
When speaking with other district attorneys in surrounding counties, Hogan is informed that police just won’t stay long-term, opting to leave after just three to five years.
“In Chester County when we hire a police officer, we’re hiring them for 20 to 25 years because they live here, they want to be here and they respect the people who are here,” Hogan said. “In return, our citizens respect our police. We truly appreciate what they do. Our cycle is a whole different cycle. Our cycle is ‘respect on one side gets respect on the other side.’”
Hogan warned that just because everything is running smoothly now doesn’t mean the community and the police shouldn’t continue to work together. He urged the crowd to keep the relationship positive to make sure what’s happening elsewhere doesn’t happen here.
Not only are the police invested in the county, but they also respect the residents who they serve to protect.
“In Chester County, as opposed to other places where cops may go to the guns too quickly, our police officers are willing to risk their own lives so that they don’t have to shoot the citizens,” Hogan said. “That is a whole different dynamic than you see in other parts of the nation. We live in the land of the blessed here in Chester County.”