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Chester County Press

Simpson retires as chief of regional police department

12/13/2022 03:49PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw        Gerald Simpson, who served as the Police Chief for the New Garden Township and Southern Chester County Regional Police departments since 2010, officially retired on Dec. 9 after a 39-year career in law enforcement.


By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Gerald R. Simpson, whose ingenuity and long-range vision helped create the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) for which he served as Chief of Police, officially retired from the department at the close of business on Dec. 9, following a 39-year career.

The announcement was posted on the SCCRPD’s social media page:

“Chief Simpson wants to thank the [Public Safety] Commission for the great opportunity to serve the residents of New Garden, West Grove and Avondale as the Regional Departments’ first Chief of Police,” the announcement read. “There were many accomplishments including having the department become accredited by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

“The [Public Safety] Commission wants to recognize Chief Simpson for his vision and efforts in helping to establish the Regional Police Department and having it become the respected department it now is.”
Lieutenant Joseph Greenwalt has been named as Acting Chief of Police for the department. A 15-year member of the department, Greenwalt has served in the rank of Police Officer, Corporal, Sergeant and Lieutenant. He is a graduate of the NJSACOP Command and Leadership program and graduated from the 280th Session of the FBI National Academy in December 2021.

Greenwalt credited Simpson for launching several new initiatives during his 12-year tenure as police chief.

When I started at the New Garden Township Police Department in 2007, the police department was lacking leadership, and I remember saying to myself how crucial leadership is in an organization,” Greenwalt said. “After assessing the needs of this organization, Chief Simpson came to this department at a time when the existing department was not meeting the needs of the growing community of New Garden, and he brought that to this department – first to New Garden and ultimately to the entire region of our coverage area. 

 “With Chief Simpson’s input and leadership, our community policing efforts became a front-line action for us, and he also made it one of his priorities to provide our constituents with a 24-hour, full-service police department.”

“I care deeply for the people in the communities that I have served,” Simpson said. “As I reflect on the many people I have worked with, the communities that I have served and the sentiments that I have received and the people I have reached out to in the last week, I am very honored to have been a part of this law enforcement community in southern Chester County.

“I am not completely leaving the field. I am still going to be involved in shaping law enforcement in the commonwealth for some time.”

Forms regional police department

Originally hired at the Chief of Police of the New Garden Township Police Department on Dec. 13, 2010, Simpson quickly galvanized the department through bold initiatives that set to redefine it from a small unit working out of an outdated station to a regionally-recognized law enforcement presence. Simpson began to explore the possibility of combining local police units into a regional police department, and on July 2016 by a unanimous vote, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 218, which entered the township into an intergovernmental cooperation with the Borough of West Grove to establish a regional police department that linked together the township’s police department with the borough’s police force.

The SCCRPD began operations in January 2018 and provides coverage for New Garden’s 12,000 residents over 16.3 miles, and 3,000 residents of the borough in a .65-square mile radius. In 2019, the department established an agreement with the Avondale Borough Council to provide police coverage for the borough’s 1,400 residents.

New facility opens in 2019

After an asbestos issue forced the department out of its headquarters on Gap-Newport Pike, the New Garden Township Police Department shared an interlocking, 1,100-square foot group of interlocking trailers.

Beginning in 2013, Simpson launched the concept to create a new home for the police. He and former New Garden Township supervisor Bob Norris toured several newly-built police facilities in the region on a fact-finding mission to see how police departments were working in the confines of their new buildings. In February 2017, their research was folded into a relationship with the Wilmington-based architectural design firm Tevebaugh Associates.

After a 374-day construction period, more than 150 residents, elected officials, police officers and their families gathered on Sept. 21, 2019 for the dedication of the new home of the SCCRPD, an 11,716-square-foot, $5 million facility at 8934 Gap-Newport Pike.

The facility includes a 400-square-foot lobby and a 540-square-foot community multi-purpose room; a secure administration area, which will include offices and a conference room; a detective bureau area and interview and testing rooms; storage and locker rooms; and holding cells and two sally ports for transportation of the incarcerated and storage of vehicles retained as evidence.

Neil Morris, Esq., an attorney with Offit Kurman and the legal counsel for the SCCRPD’s Public Safety Commission, praised Simpson for championing the department’s drive to receive accreditation from the Pennsylvania State Chiefs of Police Association – a project that was conducted by Greenwalt and former department administrator Sandy Lutz.

“Chief Simpson constantly stressed training and continuing education for his officers, and it was his idea to better the department by establishing the policies, rules and procedures necessary to achieve accreditation,” Morris said. “That’s no easy task. You have to revise all of your polices, provide more education and more training [in order for the] association to certify that you have met those high standards to receive that label for your department.”

“You – the men and women of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department – your purpose is to be peacekeepers first, and law enforcement officers, a close second,” Simpson said on the day the new facility was dedicated. “In this beautiful building, every room has a purpose. There was nothing in this building that was placed by accident.

“It is all by design, and it has a purpose. Hopefully, that purpose helps us fulfill our mission to keep our representative communities safe from harm.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].