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Chester County residents voice concerns at first town hall following Danelo Cavalcante manhunt

Residents searching for answers at first town hall after Danelo Cavalcante's escape
Residents searching for answers at first town hall after Danelo Cavalcante's escape 02:13

POPCOPSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) -- A community is still looking for answers in the wake of a two-week manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted killer who escaped Chester County Prison. The search had residents, schools and business owners on edge.

On Monday night, residents had a chance to question officials about what's being done to prevent another prison escape from happening again.

RELATED: What was Danelo Cavalcante's endgame? Here's how he survived, what he planned to do, more

Chester County residents came prepared with their questions. They showed strength in numbers with one goal in mind: to keep their community safe and make sure this doesn't happen again. 

"I didn't realize how much tension there was until it was over," a person said.  

Chester County residents are relieved their lives are back to normal after the manhunt for Cavalcante, who escaped prison on Aug. 31. 

Residents showed up to the Chester County Town Hall meeting at Pocopson Elementary School to learn more about what's being done for their safety moving forward. 

"There is a lot of anxiety in this community and it was really hard on the residents and the entire county," Marian Moskowitz, of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, said.  

All cameras and recording devices were not allowed inside the meeting. 

RELATED: How police ultimately recaptured Danelo Cavalcante after 14 days on the run

A sign was posted out front that read the event is intended as a safe space to ask questions and process the trauma. 

However, many questions revolved around staffing levels and communication methods like prison sirens and reverse 911 calls after Cavalcante escaped.

"I am so appreciative of what everyone did, all the police and everyone but we want better security and we want better communication," a person said. 

"We are wondering why a hardened criminal or dangerous criminal would be put in a county system?" a person said.  

Acting Warden Howard Holland said he too is frustrated, angry and sorry to the community, and plans to make major changes and upgrades to the prison. 

RELATED: Danelo Cavalcante caught: What's next after escaped prisoner recaptured

"A lot of frustrated people, angry people I understand where they are coming from the range of emotions but I am glad we had an outlet for them to come out, meet face to face and get their concerns addressed," Holland said. 

Chester County

One change included completely enclosing the exercise yard, where Cavalcante scaled the walls to the roof and ran free. They also added razor wire and metal screens to certain areas to make them more secure. 

"We are going to enhance everything. We have everything from K-9, drone technology, countermeasures, to cameras, 75 to 100 cameras additional," Holland said.  

RELATED: Meet Yoda, the dog who helped law enforcement catch Danelo Cavalcante

Residents said a lot of work needs to be done but are happy the conversations are happening on how they can make their communities safer. 

"I feel better than I when I came in," a woman said. 

The next meeting will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the elementary school.

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