‘THE PEOPLE LOVE YOU AND YOU DESERVE OUR RESPECT’
Ed Zunino honored for long and distinguished police career
KENNETT SQUARE >> Scores of law enforcement officials, local lawmakers, District Attorney Tom Hogan, chief county Detective Kevin Dykes, Common Pleas Judge Patrick Carmody, family and friends were among more than 250 people to attend a retirement send-off for Ed Zunino, longtime Kennett Square police chief who retired recently after 42 years.
“When the community is safe and people feel safe and can live and work safely, that’s when businesses thrive and people move to town,” Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick said at the event held at the Red Clay Room in Kennett Square. “The chief’s leadership made that possible.”
Zunino told his wife, Lois, he loved her and thanked her for support over the years.
“I very much enjoyed my career,” Zunino said. “It’s a difficult transition because I loved what I did. But I knew it was time, and I think I made the right move. We have excellent people taking over.”
Zunino was showered with awards, plaques and citations. He even received a key to the borough, and a street sign named in his honor.
State Rep. Steve Barrar,
“You will not see this kind of man walk this way again. He has a sense of integrity that’s missing from public servants all around the United States.” — Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan
R-160, of Upper Chichester, and state Rep. John Lawrence, R-13, of West Grove, presented Zunino with a state flag that was flown over the Capitol in Harrisburg. Barrar is running against Independent David Cleary of Concord in the Nov. 8 election; Lawrence is running against London Grove Democrat Nancy Dean.
“You certainly have left this town better off than you found it,” Barrar said. “The people love you and you deserve our respect. We thank you for your service and the many, many years of protecting the citizens of Kennett Square.”
Hogan told the story about how Zunino came to investigate a 25-year-old murder case, where the defendant fled to Mexico. “He
told me nobody else seems to care,” Hogan said, adding Zunino promised the family he would never let the case die. “He cared about everything and everybody.”
Hogan said he gained much respect for Zunino when two of Kennett Square’s best officers sought to become county detectives. Zunino only cared about what was good for the officers and their families.
“His reaction speaks volumes about his integrity,” Hogan said. “You will not see this kind of man walk this way again. He has a sense of integrity that’s missing from public servants all around the United States.”
And Fetick told the story about how Zunino went to lengths to nab the people responsible for graffiti recently. “He told me he was not going to let them get away with it,” Fetick said. “He wanted to find them and stop it. He said when
those things snowball, the quality of life goes down. He was 35 years into his career, and he could have coasted, did the bare minimum. This is the kind of loyalty of leadership he has brought to the police department.”
Carmody said he rarely attends retirements because he doesn’t want people accusing him of favoritism, but made an exception for Zunino.
“There’s a lot of division today between police and communities, but not in Kennett,” Carmody said. “It’s the way he carries himself, and he treats everybody the same way. What is refreshing is his humility.”
Teresa Bass, who lives on East Linden Street, said Zunino was single-handedly responsible for turning her crime-ridden neighborhood into one of the safest places in Chester County.
Borough Council President Dan Maffei said since
moving into the borough in 1996, he has seen council members come and go, borough managers come and go and business come and go. “But (Zunino) was a constant, he was always there, steady-handed,” Maffei said.
State Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, of Middletown, presented Zunino with a citation for his dedicated years of service, turned to him and said: “It’s clear you were loved, and respected and have done terrific things for Kennett Square. To serve 40 years in the same town, well, you don’t see that very often.” Killion is running against Nether Providence Democrat Marty Molloy in the upcoming election.
New Garden Police Chief Gerald Simpson said overpaid athletes refuse to stand, but it’s an honor to be at a ceremony for a man who stood for so much. “He stood for service, justice,
compassion, integrity, but most of all, community,” Simpson said.
Darren Sedlak, a detective with the West Goshen Police Department, said Zunino started community policing before it became popular. “He was the best law enforcement educator I have ever known,” Sedlak said.
Former Kennett Square Mayor Leon Spencer, who was unable to attend due to a prior commitment, said in a letter read by his wife Kathy that Zunino was “like a biological brother I have never had.”
“You never failed me no matter what the circumstance,” Spencer said in his letter. “Genuine friendships are rare. You must be commended for your expertise and humility.”
Kathy Spencer told the crowd that Zunino often called her on her birthday to sing her happy birthday.
Butch Dutter, president
of the Chester Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 11, praised Zunino for helping to solve so many crimes over his long and distinguished career. There are 850 FOP members in the county and 330,000 nationwide.
Zunino also received a heartwarming, teary speech from his three children, telling him how much he meant to them.
Fetick credited Kennett Square’s success to Zunino, saying he led with distinction.
“He is such a humble person,” Fetick said.
Zunino was born and raised in Kennett Square, and went to Kennett High School. He joined the Kennett Square Police Department in 1974 as an auxiliary officer and became a parttime officer in 1975 when he graduated from the police academy. He was hired as a full-time officer in 1976 and has been Kennett Square’s police chief since 2007.
Fred McCarthy, right, presents former Kennett Square Police Chief Ed Zunino with an original painting of Abraham Lincoln.
Former Police Chief Ed Zunino, left, was presented with a key to the borough Saturday night. Looking on, from left, are Dan Maffei, president of Kennett Square council, Councilman Geoff Bosley, and Mayor Matt Fetick.
Ed Zunino with his wife, Lois, at a retirement dinner in his honor Saturday night in Kennett Square.
Ed Zunino holds up a road sign in his honor as his wife, Lois, and Dan Maffei, president of Kennett Square council, look on.