Police chief retires after being threatened with dismissal

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Police Chief Thomas Nestel has abruptly retired from the Transit Police Department amid reports that he has been threatened with firing.

Nestel was “ousted” as transit police chief after criticism from passengers, employees and even transit police officers that Philadelphia’s transit system was overrun with violent crime, reported Steve Keeley from FOX 29.

“FOX 29 news sources say Nestel said to quit by today or be fired,” Keeley reported. (RELATED: Videos show stark contrast in Philadelphia as two officers get shot while fireworks fly overhead)

SEPTA Managing Director and CEO Leslie S. Richards promised on Tuesday that Nestel’s retirement would not impact SEPTA’s ability to continue operating its bus and rail lines, reported Fox 29.

“During this transition, you can be assured that SEPTA remains committed to your safety and that of our customers – nothing is more important,” the statement from Richards reads, reported Keley. “Plans have been put in place to ensure the continuity of operations of the SEPTA Transit Police Department and to move forward in enhancing the Authority’s successful safety and security initiatives.”

SEPTA Police Inspector Charles Lawson has been named acting chief of the SEPTA Transit Police Department, according to the police department’s website.

Richards said Lawson would hold the position until a permanent replacement is found and assured that “a search for a permanent police chief is ongoing,” the statement said.

Nestel told members of the SEPTA Police Department that he had informed the transit system that he would be retiring after the July 4 detail, according to Nestel’s email titled “Thank you.” reported Keley.

“Loved being a member of the Transit Police,” Nestel wrote, according to Keeley. “I will miss being with you as you fight the good fight, but I will remain your biggest fan and supporter.”

“Chiefs come and go. What really matters is the dedication and commitment of the men and women on the ground. Stay focused, stay safe and thank you for giving me so many years of pride and pleasure,” added Nestel.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 president Brian Pollitt, who has strongly opposed Nestel’s performance, told the Daily Caller he hopes the new leadership takes a safety approach different from that of Nestel.

TWU Local 234, which represents more than 5,000 SEPTA transit workers, called for Nestel’s resignation last year when the union felt that Nestel’s “philosophy was ‘silence, silence’. . Don’t talk about safety issues, warn the public or scare anyone,” Pollitt said.

“We have proposed concrete solutions to make SEPTA safer, including extensive use of monitored security cameras, rewards for catching those responsible for criminal acts on SEPTA buses and trains, and the end of catch and rescue programs. release,” Pollitt told the Daily Caller. “Hopefully with new direction, SEPTA can now be made safer for cyclists and SEPTA workers. If the system is not safe, riders will not return.

The SEPTA Police Department and Fraternal Order of Transit Police Union did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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