Transit Police Officers are responsible for policing the entire regional SEPTA system. Covering an area of five Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia) and three states (Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) can be a challenge, but our Department upholds this effort through its core mission and commitment to service, integrity and true professionalism.
The Transit Police Department's Mission:
To work in partnership with other SEPTA employees and customers
To provide a safe and secure work and travel environment
To enhance the quality of life on our system through law enforcement efforts that reduce the fear and incidence of crime
You can learn more about the department's history by clicking here.
Transit Police Department Organization
The SEPTA Transit Police Department's command structure is set up like many other transit police departments. The Chief of Police is Thomas J. Nestel III. Next in line are two Bureau Inspectors- Steven Harold (Patrol) and Teresa Clark (Special Operations). Reporting to them are Three Bureau Captains- James Reynolds (Patrol), Daryl K. Jones (Special Operations) and John Wenke (Quality Control) who complete the Police Command Staff.
Under this command structure, the Police Department is organized into several sections to meet the ever-growing needs of SEPTA employees and customers.
This is the largest section within the SEPTA Police Department. Policing the nation's 6th largest transit system is no easy task for the hundreds of uniformed officers who work diligently each day riding the system. Transit Police patrol by bike, car, foot or mobile cart and continue the tradition of keeping our passengers and employees safe and secure on the SEPTA system. The Patrol Section is divided up into two (2) areas, Region 1 and Region 2.
Within the patrol section, there are certain units that work with the officers to assist with their day to day operations:
Anti-Crime Teams (ACT): Zone based police officers fight crime by fitting in. Our plainclothes officers are tough to spot for good reason as they ride the system. No matter what they're wearing, we've got the system covered. These covert surveillances enable officers to observe and function in ways that uniform officers cannot.
Bike Patrol Unit: Working to remain current with industry policing innovations, the Transit Police Department expanded the force to include a bike patrol. Bike Patrol Officers work overlapping shifts at each terminal on the subway system. Their increased mobility permits them to cover the transportation hubs as well as adjacent transportation facilities.
Ceremonial Team (Honor Guard): This unit represents the department in formal functions such as funerals, memorials, and other special ceremonies. They present colors in parades, provide dignitary protections and performs escort details. They also attend the Police Memorial in Washington D.C and Harrisburg PA.
This section comprises five (5) units that assist in the day to day operations of the police department.
Canine (K-9) Unit: The SEPTA Police Department K9 unit dogs represent several breeds. These units are assigned to high-risk stations that would normally require two officers. These teams are essential in explosive (bomb) detection as well as reducing felony crimes.
Special Operations Response Team (S.O.R.T): This unit has specialized training to handle situations such as Armed Hijacking, Hostage Situations, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Terrorism, Tactical Response and Urban Disorder / Civil Disobedience. SORT Officers: Keeping the System Secure and Safe (SEPTA News Bites | June 1, 2010).
Tactical Unit: This unit is comprised of uniform, canine, and plain clothes officers that are specifically deployed during peak travel hours to address crime patterns and quality of life issues throughout the transportation system.
Criminal Investigations Unit: The Transit Police Department's Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) is comprised of a dedicated team of trained detectives and supervisors who investigate crimes committed on SEPTA property. Detectives are responsible for conducting interviews of complainants and witnesses, gathering evidence, and obtaining arrest and search warrants. Other duties include background checks on potential Transit Police candidates and plainclothes surveillance throughout the system. Detectives receive training in crime scene investigation, legal matters, interview and interrogation techniques and fingerprinting. The CIS work closely with SEPTA's Office of the Inspector General to investigate fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement with the Authority. The CIS also works with many local, state and federal law enforcement departments and has a detective assigned to a regional FBI Multi-Agency joint Terrorism Task Force.
Training and Recruitment Unit: They make sure that every member of the department is qualified in CPR/first aid, fire-arms re-qualification, cultural diversity awareness, report writing, crimes code updates, rail safety, defensive tactics and verbal judo training every year. This unit also schedules Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission (M.P.O.E.T.C.) and the physical fitness test annually for all officers. They are also responsible for recruiting and processing of police applicants.
Internal Affairs: Reports to Captain of Quality Control. Internal Affairs investigates any allegations of impropriety by any member of the department.
Communications/Technical Unit: This unit is comprised of Police and Civilian Dispatchers. They serve as dispatchers and operate a state-of-the-art computer aided dispatch system. The dispatchers also manage a sophisticated smart station closed circuit television (C.C.T.V.) camera system and life safety system. They also maintain the radio system and databases. Other duties include performing daily computer maintenance, compiling statistical data and crime mapping.
Administrative Staff: The function of the Administrative Staff is to effectively provide administrative oversight and coordinate office services such as budget preparation, department records, and files maintenance, and payroll administration.