Thomas Nestel III hired as SEPTA transit police chief


SEPTA has hired Thomas Nestel III, Upper Moreland Township’s police chief, as the transit agency’s new top cop. He starts Aug. 20.

Nestel, a fourth-generation police officer, will blend the career of his paternal grandfather, who was a PTC trolley supervisor, with that of his maternal grandfather, a Philadelphia police officer.

Nestel began his career in law enforcement in 1982 as a patrol officer with the SEPTA Transit Police, before becoming a member of the Philadelphia Police Department where he dedicated more than 22 years and attained the rank of Staff Inspector.

He served in the 14th, 25th, 26th and 35th Districts, Highway Patrol, Northwest Detectives, Internal Affairs, Narcotics, and Intelligence. He earned 24 commendations.

"Chief Nestel is a distinguished professional with 30 years of experience who brings a wealth of law enforcement experience, knowledge and educational training to the SEPTA Transit Police Department," said GM Joseph M. Casey. "We are thrilled to welcome him 'back home' to the SEPTA team."

Chief Nestel holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Chestnut Hill College, and Master's Degrees in Public Safety, National Security Studies, and Criminology from Saint Joseph's University, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and University of Pennsylvania, respectively.

He is presently working on his dissertation, towards a Doctorate in Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. Nestel and his family live in Northeast Philadelphia.