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DeFazio's decision

| Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It will be a sad end to the career of Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio. The sheriff, expected to be re-elected in November, says his third four-year term will be his last.

Mr. DeFazio, who joined the department in 1970 as a deputy, says he no longer will abide being entangled in a culture that thrives on scandal.

His office is assailed by a federal grand jury investigation that so far has produced indictments against two top deputies. We remind they are innocent unless proven guilty. No charges have been brought against the sheriff.

We're sorry for Pete's decision. His numerous awards for service to Allegheny County attest to his stature in the community. Last year he won the first Crime Prevention Award from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. People correctly believe he's been doing a good job.

How• From the time he took office, Mr. DeFazio put a priority on clearing bench warrants, and he was especially interested in tracking down deadbeat dads who owed money for child support.

In 1998, his first year in office, he cleared 5,863 warrants, up from 817 the year before. Last year his office cleared 7,663. He's on the same pace this year. As sheriff, he has cleared nonsupport warrants of nearly $106.5 million .

Despite his troubles, we expect Sheriff DeFazio will continue his exemplary work. That's the kind of guy he is.

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