New top cop in Kennett Twp.

Kennett Township’s newest police chief was officially sworn in Wednesday morning in front of a crowd of more than 100 police officers, detectives, SWAT team members, fire and emergency personnel, Kennett Township staff, the township’s first police chief, and others.

“You need not read Matt [Gordon]’s resume to recognize his skill and confidence as a leader,” Kennett Township Manager Eden Ratliff told the standing-room-only crowd at the Creamery of Kennett Square. “While this document may tell you that he served as an aircraft fighter and rescue specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps, it will not tell you about his humility to serve this community.

“While it will show you the accomplishments such as the squad training and completion of the FBI National Academy … it fails to truly reveal his passion and commitment to public service,” Ratliff said. “For those nuances, you need only speak with him briefly, and soon you will understand why we are honored to have him be the chief of police for Kennett Township.”

The ceremony was filled with accolades for the man who has been serving as Kennett Township’s interim police chief since November 2019 but who had been part of the department for years before that. Many of those who were involved in or attended the ceremony – including Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody, who administered the oath of office – were people who have been a part of Gordon’s life and career along the way.

“I’ve known Matt since we worked on the drug court team back in the 1990s,” she said. “Matt’s work ethic, his integrity, and most important his understanding of the human spirit will serve this (area) very well.”

Gordon’s resume includes not only Kennett Township but also the Parkesburg and Coatesville City police departments, the Chester County Detectives in major cases and organized crime, and the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, where he currently serves as the deputy SWAT commander.

During a speech filled with humor, humility, emotion, and thanks, Gordon shared not only humorous memories – such as the time he was working as a new officer in Parkesburg and encountered a Chester County detective twice in consecutive days during a speeding detail -- but also the impact that those he encountered on the job had on him.

“You don’t get to this position by yourself, and I certainly didn’t,” Gordon told the crowd. “I’ve learned much from much of the people in attendance today.”

 He praised the officers and staff in the police department, recognizing them for the extra work and shifts they took when the department was short-staffed in 2019, as well as the township supervisors and staff for supporting the department. He recognized the 11 officers now in the department and talked about the importance of diversity in police enforcement, something “we in Chester County law enforcement have acknowledged and worked toward making sure our police departments mirror the communities where we work.”

“We are fortunate to now have 11 officers,” Gordon said. “Two of our officers are female – Det. Amanda Wenrich and Officer Elysia Simmons. Three of our officers – Miguel Juarez, Pedro Melendez, and Jonathan DeLeon – are native Spanish speakers. Cpl. Jeff Call, Officer Adam Cramer, Officer Colin Vannicolo, Officer Robert Dowd, Officer Brian Bolt, and myself round out the department.”

He had the crowd chuckling when he jokingly pointed out another statistic – that four of the officers including the chief are left-handed – “which means that one-third of our police department are in their right minds.”

Much of Gordon’s speech was spent thanking everyone from former coworkers to county dispatchers to SWAT colleagues, area police chiefs and fire company personnel. His speech became emotional when he thanked his own family, including his daughter Reese, who stood with him during the swearing-in.

“I know and I feel that Kennett Township is fortunate to have Matt Gordon as chief of police, leading our department for many years to come,” Kennett Supervisors’ Chairman Richard Leff said. “Thank you, Matt, for everything you’ve done.”

About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.

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