SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel steps down effective immediately

No reason was given for his abrupt departure
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel is stepping down effective immediately, SEPTA announced Tuesday.

No reason was given for his abrupt departure.

SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards learned of Nestel’s intention to step down several days ago.

“His decision was known as of late last week. Chief Nestel continued working through the July Fourth detail, and then the announcement of the retirement came [Tuesday] morning,” Busch confirmed.

“The safety and security of customers and employees is SEPTA’s top priority, and plans have been put in place to ensure continuity of operations for the Transit Police Department during this transition,” Richards added in a statement.

Nestel has been head of the transit force since 2012. In 2021, the local Fraternal Order of Transit Police issued a no-confidence vote in Nestel due to policies that caused delays in arresting offenders riding the system.

Inspector Charles Lawson will serve as the acting chief while officials conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.

Lawson, 49, has been with the department for more than 28 years, rising through the ranks of the force.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file