PIKE COUNTY - Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin announced that he will seek re-election to the office he has held for the past 11 years.
In announcing his re-election campaign Tonkin stated, “I’ve invested my entire adult life in making Pike County a safer place to live, first as a police officer and then as a prosecutor. I have nearly two decades of experience successfully arguing criminal cases in front of juries and appellate courts. All while maintaining a focus on implementing improvements in our community that aim to protect and support our community's most vulnerable.”
Tonkin added, "We have a great team in the District Attorney's office and great partners law enforcement, and I would like to continue building on the success we have achieved together for the people of Pike County."
District Attorney Tonkin has established himself an experienced and completely independent prosecutor. Since being in the district attorney’s office, District Attorney Tonkin has earned 14 murder convictions.
Recently, District Attorney Tonkin lead case against cop killer Eric Frein, who was convicted of killing Pennsylvania State Trooper Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding State Trooper Alex Douglass at the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks in Blooming Grove, a case which gained nationwide attention.
District Attorney Tonkin has also successfully prosecuted hundreds of other cases related to crimes ranging from child abuse, robbery and drug dealing to sexual assault and burglary.
Since being re-elected in 2015, District Attorney Tonkin developed the Pike County Children’s Advocacy Center, a center where children who are victims of child abuse are interviewed once by a specially trained interviewer in a child friendly environment to avoid the repeated trauma of telling the story of victimization over and over again to multiple agencies who investigate child abuse. Last year Tonkin expanded the program by adding a special victim advocate who works directly with the child and the family to obtain services to help the child and family begin the healing process.
Improve the quality of life
In his most recent effort to improve the quality of life for families in Pike County, Tonkin has worked to create a Domestic Abuse Response Team in Pike County. The team will bring together a dedicated prosecutor, county detective and victim representative to bring a team approach to reducing domestic violence in Pike County. In discussing this new approach Tonkin observed: “While investigating crimes of child abuse as part of the operation of the Children’s Advocacy Center we have observed that when children are the victims of violence, there is often other violence in the home. With this new effort we will look to take a larger view of domestic violence and look to end the violence in homes, so families can thrive in a healthy environment in Pike County.”
In addition, Tonkin has overseen the Pike County Drug Task Force for almost 15 years, and has led the effort to improve the investigation and prosecution of drug dealers, with a particular emphasis on heroin/fentanyl dealers.
To assist those people brought into the criminal justice for a non-violent offense who have an underlying addiction to drugs or alcohol, Tonkin worked on initiating the Pike CARE program. This treatment centered approach allows those who have committed minor offenses to avoid incarceration, while obtaining treatment for their addiction and maintaining steady employment. To date the Pike CARE program has saved over 4,000 days of incarceration of minor offenders and saved the county over $300,000.00 in costs related to the costs of incarceration.
District Attorney Tonkin, in partnership with the Pike County Area Agency on Aging, developed the Pike County Elder Abuse Task Force to protect seniors from abuse.
In recognition of his dedication to victims, Tonkin has been appointed by two State Governors to the State Victim Services Advisory Committee in Harrisburg. Tonkin was originally appointed by Governor Tom Corbett, and then reappointed last year by Governor Tom Wolf to this statewide committee that works to establish policy and funding for victim services agencies across all of Pennsylvania.
Tonkin was recently chosen by his fellow district attorneys to serve as vice-president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
District Attorney Tonkin is the current chairman of the Pike County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, which includes representatives from law enforcement, the Pike County Commissioners, mental health, and area school districts. The diverse group meets to explore opportunities and challenges specific to increased public safety.
Prior to serving in the District Attorney's Office, Tonkin was a local police officer for seven years.
Tonkin graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, after earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Scranton. During his initial law enforcement education at the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Training Academy at Lackawanna College, Tonkin was the recipient of the high scholastic honor award and served as president of his class.
District Attorney Tonkin lives in Palmyra Township with his wife Michelle and two sons Garrett and Grant.