by Brendan Sample
With the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office looking at new leadership with the upcoming election in November, it may be easy to overlook the fact that not every position in the department is being overhauled.
Two assistant DAs in particular, Vince Regan and Whitney Golden, have each been serving Northwest Philly for several years, 15 and seven, respectively, with both currently in leadership positions. Regan has been Chief of the NW Division for three years, and Golden recently took over as Assistant Chief in June.
Though they both ended up in the same area with similar positions, the two ADAs had different beginnings that put them on their current paths. While Golden originally hails from Delaware and came to Philly when attending law school at Temple University, Regan saw some of the effects of crime firsthand growing up in the city.
“I grew up in areas of Philadelphia that weren’t too well off and that suffered from a lot of crime,” Regan said. “My parents, a teacher and a fireman, instilled in me a sense to help others, and so I saw this career as a way to change that misfortune around.”
While both ADAs acknowledged that Chestnut Hill is one of the safest areas in the city, they also realized that the neighborhood, like any other, is certainly not immune to crime. A specially assigned prosecutor is dedicated to addressing quality-of-life crimes, and they are also focused on biased crimes that target civilians based on factors such as race, religion and sexual orientation.
One way that Regan and Golden work to address crime in the Northwest is by getting to talk with residents to gain a personal understanding of the issues facing neighborhoods. In addition to spending plenty of time prosecuting cases, they both get to go into the areas they serve and are able to form personal relationships with people in those areas.
“I initially lived in Center City, but the Northwest has a lot of great communities filled with people who work to make their city better,” Golden said. “It didn’t necessarily surprise me, but it was still really nice to actually see.”
Asked about the impending election for District Attorney between Democratic nominee and longtime criminal defense attorney Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman, a race that would determine their boss, Regan and Golden declined comment.
“Right now, the office is focused on prosecuting, and we expect that the new administration will continue that work,” said Cameron Kline, communications director and spokesperson for the DA’s Office. “The closest thing to the election that we’re working on would be the election fraud task force.”
While ensuring the safety of residents is of the utmost importance, there still are plenty of other factors that must be taken into account for an ADA throughout the legal process. For Regan and Golden, the variety of tasks is one of the most appealing factors of their job.
“What I like about being a prosecutor is that we get to be well-rounded,” Golden said. “Our goal is to keep the city safe, but we’re also able to properly support the people accused of crimes.”
With more than 20 combined years of work in the DA’s office, Regan and Golden certainly have the experience necessary to continue their career journeys through the legal field. While their current paths could end up pushing them to new heights, neither ADA currently has any plans to advance beyond their current positions.
“Before becoming an attorney, I was a law clerk for over 20 years,” Regan said. “The thought comes up from time to time if I want to change, but I haven’t been able to come up with anything that I would have the same amount of passion for or that would be as meaningful.”
Both Regan and Golden encourage any members of the community to come to them with any concerns or other feedback regarding crime issues in their area. The NW District office is located at 3 South Penn Square and can be reached by calling 215-686-9964.
Brendan Sample can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org