A longtime Deputy of the Sheriff’s Office has retired and formally announced her candidacy to become the next Beaver County Sheriff.
Deputy Donna Knopp first joined the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office on April 12th 1988, and retired last week after twenty-five years of service to the county. Her retirement came three years earlier than she had planned.
“I retired because I could not follow George David’s policies, meaning I will not lie for any superior officer in that department, nor will I be pitted against anybody else in that department. So I just decided it was time to retire,” Knopp told the Beaver Countian. “My goal is to campaign for Sheriff [...] I can and will lead, guide, and instruct the Sheriff’s Office of Beaver County [...] I will bring back pride and integrity to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Deputy Knopp first came forward publicly in May of this year, alleging Sheriff George David tried to get her to lie about a series of events that led to a grievance being filed by Stephanie Guidice, a clerk in his office. Sheriff David had Guidice escorted from her desk by his Chief Deputy shortly following a preliminary hearing held for Larry A. Hicks, a man who David had falsely accused of preparing to commit mass murder at Friendship Ridge. Guidice was a witness at that hearing, and fell victim to a series of well documented incidents of alleged harassment by Sheriff David following her testimony.
Knopp said she feels for the remaining employees of the Sheriff’s Office who don’t have the same option to retire as she did.
“With what’s going on in the office, the hostility towards people in the office, the hostile work environment, the workplace harassment, the job is not fun anymore, that I will say. We all use to get along together, now it’s everybody walks out the door watching their back, and I just decided enough is enough,” said Knopp. “My goal is to help the people in the office.”
Prior to entering law enforcement, Knopp spent 15 years as an employee of Westinghouse Electric Company. After being laid-off she put herself through the police academy, and then applied to become a Beaver County Sheriff’s Deputy like her grandfather before her.
Throughout her career Knopp worked with the state police on undercover sting operations, helped the detective’s bureau with unsolved homicide cases, and served as a member of the county’s SWAT team.
In 1999, Knopp helped spearhead an investigation into the sexual abuse of female inmates by male jail guards at the Beaver County Jail. “It took me two years to do those cases,” said Knopp. “Seven people were dismissed from the Beaver County Jail for their wrong doings, and one of them had to spend 10 years in a state prison because of two counts of rape.”
Deputy Donna Knopp retired with the rank of Sergeant, and was subsequently presented with an award for distinguished service by District Attorney Anthony Berosh. Her Democratic candidacy for the 2015 election marks the first time a woman has ever run for the office of Sheriff in Beaver County.