Kennett Square Borough extends police chief’s contract
● By Steven Hoffman
The new year is only two weeks old and Kennett Square Borough Council already has a significant task completed.
Kennett Square Borough Council unanimously approved a new contract with police chief William Holdsworth at its meeting on Jan. 6. The new contract is for five years.
Holdsworth has served as the police chief in Kennett Square since April of 2017, and prior to that he was the department’s Officer in Charge for more than eight months while the borough conducted a search to fill the vacancy that was created when former police chief Edward Zunino announced his retirement after a long career with the police department.
As police chief, Holdsworth leads a department that currently includes 13 full-time police officers and three part-time police officers.
Borough council member Ethan Cramer lauded the work of Holdsworth. He said that Kennett Square’s police department is good—and good in a lot of different directions. Cramer explained that the police department has a very good culture and the police officers have a strong connection to the community, which is very important. They also do their work with a high level of professionalism, and Holdsworth deserves credit for building on that, Cramer said.
“We have extraordinary group of officers,” Cramer said. “Under Bill’s leadership, this police force is the heart and soul of our community.”
Kennett Square mayor Matt Fetick, who is tasked with overseeing the operations of the police department, praised the work of Holdsworth.
“This Chief has done an incredible job,” Fetick said. “He is well-respected by officers and the community. I fully support his contract extension, and I think he is a very valuable asset to the Borough of Kennett Square. I thoroughly enjoy working with him.”
Holdsworth’s law enforcement career dates back more than 22 years, and he has been a member of the Kennett Square Police Department for most of that time. 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 Zunino announced that he was retiring after a distinguished 40-year career with the police department.
Cramer pointed out that the Kennett Square Police Department has had uncommonly good stability when it comes to police chiefs. The borough has had just three police chiefs—Albert McCarthy, Zunino, and now Holdsworth, over a period of nearly 50 years.
Cramer is pleased that Holdsworth will continue to serve as Kennett Square’s top cop. He credited the police chief with overseeing an expansion of the services that the police department provides to the community, including enhanced investigation techniques.
In one recent instance, the Kennett Square Police Department made an arrest of a Philadelphia-area drug dealer who was responsible for selling the drugs that resulted in a fatal overdose in Kennett Square. Investigations that end in arrests help to make not just the borough, but the entire southern Chester County community, safer.
The Kennett Square Police Department has seen the percentage of crimes that are cleared either by arrest, or by some other means, rise steadily in recent years—an illustration of the kind of police work that the borough’s police department is doing. The borough also has two of its police officers serve as part of the Chester County SWAT team, Cramer noted.
He added that the Kennett Square Police Department is so good that, “Nobody has a right to expect a police force of this caliber. Our borough is incredibly lucky.”
In other business at the Jan. 6 meeting related to the police department, borough council authorized charging the Civil Service Commission to conduct testing for an entry-level full-time police officer position. This will help the borough develop a list of qualified candidates to fill a position.
Holdsworth said that the police department doesn’t currently have any openings, but it takes about ten months to complete the testing necessary to develop a list of qualified candidates, so there is a need to begin the process now that the borough is prepared if a position does open up.