A Democratic candidate for Bucks County Sheriff in November’s election, Dennis McCauley, released a blistering statement Thursday that took direct aim at Republican incumbent Edward “Duke” Donnelly, implying that Donnelly - who has held the office for 10 years - has built an “empire” and used the office for political purposes.
McCauley, formerly an Abington police officer for 27 years, said that “elected office should be about serving the public, not building an empire,” and said that he would only serve two four-year terms if elected.
“I will rid the Sheriff's Department of political influence and restore public trust in the organization,” he added. “Two terms is enough time to accomplish those goals."
Donnelly, reached by telephone said “I don't know what he’s talking about with the political influence in our department.”
And term limits, Donnelly said, “are handled by the citizens of Bucks County,” adding that he would let voters decide which candidates should serve.
McCauley’s statement went on to reference other incidents that he sees as other strikes against Donnelly’s record. Those included:
- A 2011 grand jury investigation against Donnelly’s office by the Attorney General.
- No charges were brought forth from that investigation.
- A sheriff deputy assaulting a handcuffed prisoner.
- That employee was fired and later convicted, serving about six months in jail and several more on house arrest. Three other deputies were fired for allegedly covering up for the officer.
- And Donnelly’s decision to put his name on sheriff vehicles, which McCauley said makes the cars “rolling political ads at taxpayer expense.”
Donnelly, responding to McCauley’s assertion that “the longer Donnelly stays, the worse things get for Bucks County,” said “we’re doing positive things,” referencing the sheriff’s department recent accreditation by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
Donnelly said he believes that the longer he stays in office, “I think things get better.”