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Westfield’s Tarpley to lead Schmidt campaign

April 28, 2016
Westfield Republican

Chautauqua County District Attorney candidate Jason Schmidt has announced Ret. Lt. Thomas Tarpley of Westfield will head his campaign. Tarpley worked 24 years in the Tustin, Ca. Police Department where he held the rank of Lieutenant and served for years as Special Operations Division Commander before leaving the job to relocate with his wife Elizabeth back to her hometown of Westfield. As an active member of the community, Tarpley is currently a planning board member for the Town of Westfield as well as the chairman of the Westfield Republican Committee.

Tarpley earned numerous commendations during his law enforcement career, including the FBI Investigative Citation, Supervisor of the Year, Officer of the Year, Vehicle Theft Officer of the Year, the Dedication and Professionalism Award and Rotary Officer of the Year. During his years as a "Crime Against Persons" detective, he made arrests in multiple capital murder cases and managed a number of complex criminal investigations including the Orange County freeway spree killings in 2012. He also vindicated an innocent man who served 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

"I'm honored Lt. Tarpley will be heading my bid for the District Attorney position," said Schmidt. "This isn't about politics. I've never been a politician. The centerpiece of my campaign is to modernize the DistrictAttorney's Office, to make it more effective in successfully prosecuting the cases brought by our police. Here in Chautauqua County, we can no longer say we're insulated from the rise in crime other communities have experienced. Look at the changes here just over the last five to 10 years. Our police have adapted and are doing their very best to make use of the limited resources available to them. As taxpayers, we're strapped trying to fund the police to keep us safe. I have specific policy proposals and changes to the DA's office which I would immediately implement to attack the drug epidemic, reduce the cost of prosecutions, increase communication with police and victims, and shorten the length of time between arrest and conviction. Tom's extensive experience in dealing with criminal investigations, in a city with a population more than twice that of the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown combined, is an asset not only to my campaign, but to proposals for the District Attorney's office as well. His insight and knowledge of law enforcement and the challenges right here in Chautauqua County are perceptive, thoughtful and constructive."

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Thomas Tarpley

According to Tarpley, "The Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office is facing many critical challenges. In order to effectively overcome these challenges our next District Attorney will need strong leadership skills and varied experience within the criminal justice system. I know from my years in law enforcement the District Attorney's Office is often the last resort for victims to find justice. Jason Schmidt has the experience and vision to lead the District Attorney's Office, and he possesses a skill-set that will transform the office into one that will be the model for this region. I am humbled to have been named his campaign manager, and I look forward to working with his team and law enforcement partners to show the residents of this county why Jason should be their choice for District Attorney."

Schmidt is a former felony prosecutor and experienced trial attorney with an active criminal defense and litigation practice based in Fredonia. Between his private practice and work at the District Attorney's Office, he has handled all kinds of serious violent and non-violent cases, including murder cases in Chautauqua, Erie and Cattaraugus counties, one of which is scheduled for jury selection in May. With the drug epidemic being a top priority, Schmidt has a multi-pronged approach that includes lowering the recidivism rate through a proven combination of penalty and treatment for low-level users, implementation of a Narcotics Enforcement Team within the office to focus exclusively on narcotics and related crimes, better communication between prosecutors and police, as well as victims of crime, and specific structured changes designed to shorten the time between arrest and conviction, to reduce cost to taxpayers.



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