Zunino to retire as Kennett Square police chief
By Steven Hoffman
Edward Zunino took an oath to protect and serve the Kennett Square community and now, more than 40 years later, he is retiring as police chief after a law-enforcement career that was defined by his dedication and hard work.
Mayor Matthew Fetick announced on Aug. 1 that Zunino had turned in a letter stating his intent to retire.
“Chief Zunino has been an incredible public servant and an exemplary chief of police,” Fetick said. “It has been my privilege to work closely with the chief for the past six years, and I have always been impressed not only with his professionalism but his commitment to public safety. He worked tirelessly to solve crime, lead the department, and serve the community. Whatever was asked of the chief, he willingly did.”
Zunino was known to do whatever it took to ensure public safety and to keep the police department working properly, whether that meant covering a shift on Christmas morning because a patrolman couldn’t make it in to work or going out at 1:30 in the morning to make sure the town was safe after the remnants of a hurricane moved through the area.
Borough council president Dan Maffei thanked Zunino for his service to the borough, lauding him for his “long and wonderful career.”
Zunino, a lifelong resident of Kennett Square, first worked for the Kennett Square Police Department in 1974 as an auxiliary police officer. He became a part-time police officer in August 1975 and was hired as a full-time officer in January 1976. He rose through the ranks from patrolman to detective to lieutenant to chief of police. He has been Kennett Square’s police chief since 2007.
Zunino earned praise for mentoring younger officers to make sure they learned how to do the job the right way. He worked collaboratively with other law enforcement agencies to help stop crime. He also worked closely with residents to address issues or concerns when they arose.
“Throughout his career,” Fetick said, “he took the lead in investigating homicides, burglaries, gang violence and more. He was well known and respected by residents and business owners alike. With his significant relationships in the community, he was able to build trust and solve crimes that may have otherwise gone unsolved.”
Fetick noted that Zunino and his family made many sacrifices so that the police chief could perform his duties through the years.
“The chief’s retirement is a big loss for the borough, and yet I wish him well in his retirement,” Fetick said. “I also want to pass along my thanks and appreciation to his wife, Lois, and family as they have sacrificed during the chief’s service to the borough. I hope that they can now get a good night’s sleep and relax knowing that the chief is out of harm’s way.”
Kennett Square resident John Thomas said that he has known Zunino his whole life.
“We grew up together,” Thomas said, explaining that Zunino is a good and honest person. Referring to Zunino and his wife, Thomas said, “Two finer people you will not find. I hope now they get to enjoy their time together.”
Fetick said that Lt. Bill Holdsworth will serve as the officer in charge until a search for a new police chief can be completed. While the details of that search still need to be worked out, the mayor said that the next two months will likely be spent forming a search committee and spending some time to develop the criteria for the search. If all goes well, applications could be accepted and interviews could be conducted in October and November. Based on this schedule, a new police chief could be in place by the start of 2017, but that's only if everything goes according to schedule.
Fetick said that finding a police chief to serve and protect the borough’s citizens the same way that Zunino did during an uncommonly good career will be daunting task.
“The borough has big shoes to fill when it comes to selecting the next chief,” Fetick explained. “Ed Zunino has certainly left his mark on the Borough of Kennett Square, and we are a much better community because of his service.”