About the Transit Police

Organization

Chief Thomas J. Nestel III leads the department, which is organized into three sections, each headed by an inspector and captain. The sections are:


Patrol

This is the largest section within the SEPTA Police Department, which serves the nation’s sixth largest transit system.

Transit Police patrol by car, foot or mobile cart and continue the tradition of keeping passengers and employees safe and secure on the SEPTA system.


Special Operations

Special Operations comprises units that assist in the day to day operations of the police department:

Canine (K-9) Unit: The Transit Police K9 unit has multiple breeds of dogs that serve in detecting explosives on the mass transit system. The K9 Unit quickly responds to reports of unattended bags and packages so that the dog can check for scents that indicate the possibility of an explosive.

Visible Intermodal Protection Enforcement Response (VIPER): The VIPR unit’s mission is to reduce violent crimes on transportation and support the Uniformed Patrol Bureau. The unit provides critical enforcement in high crime areas and is part of our multi-modal counter terrorism efforts.

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.

Criminal Investigations Squad: The squad is composed 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 undercover surveillance and patrols throughout the system. Detectives receive training in crime scene investigation, legal studies, 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 within 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.


Office of Professional Responsibility

Internal Affairs: The unit investigates any allegations of impropriety by any member of the department.

Training and Recruitment Unit: They make sure that every member of the department is qualified in CPR/first aid, firearms re-qualification, cultural diversity awareness, report writing, crimes code updates, rail safety, defensive tactics and verbal judo training every year. This unit also schedules training with the 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.

Communications/Technical Unit: This unit is made up of police and public safety communications specialists who operate a state-of-the-art, computer-aided dispatch system. They also manage a sophisticated smart station closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera system and life safety system. In addition, they maintain the radio system and databases. Other duties include performing daily computer maintenance, compiling statistical data and crime mapping.

Administrative Staff: The unit provides administrative oversight and coordinates office services such as budget preparation, department records, file maintenance, and payroll administration.

Command Staff

Thomas Nestel

Thomas J. Nestel
Police Chief

Charles Lawson

Charles Lawson
Bureau Inspector
Patrol

R. Kitt Walls

R. Kitt Walls
Bureau Captain
Patrol

James Reynolds

James Reynolds
Bureau Inspector
Special Operations

Daryl Jones

Daryl K. Jones
Bureau Captain
Special Operations

Jahlee Hatchett

Jahlee Hatchett
Bureau Inspector
Office of Professional Responsibility

John Arnold

John Arnold
Bureau Captain
Office of Professional Responsibility

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.