Holdsworth named new police chief in Kennett Square Borough
By Steven Hoffman
Bill Holdsworth was sworn in as the new chief of police of Kennett Square Borough on Monday night, concluding a six-month search process to fill the vacancy.
Holdsworth, who has spent most of his 20-year law enforcement career with the Kennett Square Police Department, has served as the Officer in Charge since July of 2016. He was selected as the new police chief after an extensive search that saw borough officials consider more than 50 applications for the position.
“At the end of the day, he was the best candidate for the job,” said Kennett Square Borough Mayor Matthew Fetick. “He was the best-qualified candidate, and the one who brought what we are looking for. He has the experience that we want with community-oriented policing.”
Holdsworth was sworn in as the new police chief at the council meeting on Monday night, shortly after council unanimously approved his new contract. The entire Kennett Square Police Department lined up to watch Holdsworth be sworn in. Former Kennett Square Borough police chiefs Edward Zunino and Albert McCarthy were on hand as well, as were law enforcement officials from throughout the county.
Council member Wayne Braffman said that at the beginning of the search for a new police chief, he thought that the decision would be the biggest one that the borough council would make.
“We got the decision right, and I'm delighted to be able to support this tonight,” Braffman said.
Fetick said that the applications came from candidates from across the country. The search committee conducted interviews with about 15 candidates, and Holdsworth stood out at the end of each round of interviews. The search committee was unanimous in its support for Holdsworth, Fetick said.
Kennett Square Borough officials certainly know Holdsworth's credentials and work ethic well. He was first hired as a part-time police officer with the borough in June of 1997. He briefly left the department in 1998 when he was hired as a full-time officer with the Phoenixville Police Department, but returned as a full-time police officer with the Kennett Square Police Department in September of 1998. He has been moving up the ranks since then. In May of 2001, he was promoted to the corporal position, and was assigned as the patrol supervisor for the department. He was promoted to the position of lieutenant in 2016, and was then designated as the Officer In Charge when longtime police chief Edward Zunino announced that he was retiring after a distinguished 40-year career with the police department.
Holdsworth said that he wanted the opportunity to serve as police chief for Kennett Square because he knows the town and the operations of the police department so well. He has lived in southern Chester County for more than 40 years. He is a 1990 graduate of Unionville High School. He owned and operated a landscaping company from 1992 to 2001. He graduated from the Municipal Police Academy in 1995, and then embarked on his career in law enforcement. Holdsworth and his wife, Debbie, have four children.
“I love the community and this police department,” Holdworth said.
Fetick said that as word spread that Holdsworth would be promoted to the police chief position, he heard nothing but positive comments from people in the community who know Holdsworth's work.
Fetick added that Holdsworth shared a good vision and goals for the police department with the search committee members during the interview process. The mayor also said that it helped to reach the conclusion that Holdsworth is the best fit for the job because he has already worked closely with him.
“He has done everything that I've ever asked him to do, and he has done it with integrity and with a dedication to the Kennett Square community,” Fetick said.
As Holdsworth formally starts the new position, there will be some other changes taking place in the police department. Three new full-time officers—Johnathan Ortiz, Evan Jackson, and Alex Schwab—were sworn in on the same evening as Holdsworth.
Fetick noted that the borough lost several experienced police officers within the last year, as one left to accept a higher position with another department and a few others retired. He expressed his confidence that the new police chief is prepared to handle the challenges of hiring and training younger officers to continue to deliver the kind of policing services that Kennett Square residents and business owners have grown accustomed to.
“Bill is ready and capable of growing the department,” Fetick said.