Sheriff’s Office announces promotions

Jason Suydam

WEST CHESTER — The Deputy Sheriff taking over as second in command of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office could have never predicted his career path.

Jason Suydam, hired as a deputy sheriff in February 2006, will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Deputy George March. Suydam was promoted to corporal in April 2008, sergeant in June 2010, lieutenant in March 2014, and captain in April 2016.

“I am confident in Captain Suydam’s excellent leadership skills and believe he will continue to move the Sheriff’s Office in a professional, positive and productive direction,” Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh said. “Over the course of his 11-year career with the Sheriff’s Office he has consistently excelled in every area.”

In addition, Sgt. Kurt Hansen will be promoted to lieutenant. Hansen, who now supervises the sheriff’s Civil Unit, was hired as a deputy in January 2005. He was promoted to corporal in December 2011 and sergeant in August 2014. Hansen garnered praise in 2014 for his restrained response to a dog attack. He sustained two bites but did not shoot the animal because he had seen a child playing in the yard and didn’t want to harm anyone’s pet. The incident led to a training program that has served as a national model.

“Sgt. Hansen has always provided outstanding leadership and served the CCSO with pride and professionalism,” Welsh said.

Suydam grew up in Delaware County, where he lived with his parents and three brothers in a modest, two-bedroom home. After graduating from Ridley High, Suydam joined the U.S. Marines at the age of 17 in 1995.

After his military service, Suydam worked as a business manager in the auto industry but gravitated to law enforcement after several years, taking a job as a police officer in Glenolden in 2003. After joining the Chester County Sheriff’s Office in 2006, he quickly rose through the ranks, despite not focusing on that goal.

“I was grateful for the promotions,” he said, “but I always just wanted to do the best job I could in each position.”

In the process, Suydam said he was somewhat surprised to find fulfillment in administrative duties. Previously, he had envisioned himself engaged in active law enforcement on the street. Instead, he realized that he enjoyed using his extensive training – which includes stints at the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshal’s Service – to supervise others and set policies.

“I was able to speak to the ‘boots on the ground’ folks, take their perspective, and use it to come up with the best solution for different situations,” he said.

When he’s not working, Suydam said spending time with his family, which includes his wife and three children ranging in age from 10 to 20, remains a top priority. He and his wife, Toni Marie, have been together for more than 20 years and married for 16 of them. He also enjoys playing music on the piano, drums or guitar and riding his motorcycle.

Suydam said he appreciated the opportunity to learn from March, who came to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office with decades of law-enforcement experience dating back to his start as a patrol officer with the state police in 1969.

“I’m honored to follow in his footsteps,” Suydam said.

“I’m extremely proud of both of Captain Suydam and Sergeant Hansen. I am pleased to have them move forward to a new level,” said Welsh. “It gives me great confidence in the command structure of the Sheriff’s Office and the future of our agency.”

A promotion ceremony for Suydam and Hansen will be held on Thursday, June 1, 2017, at 3 p.m. in Courtroom One of the Chester County Justice Center.

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