In many sports, 10 represents peak performance, and the Chester County Sheriff’s Office recently borrowed from that model.
On Tuesday, January 23, 2019, Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh swore in 10 new deputies, a group that achieved a number of firsts, including its size, varied backgrounds, and gender composition: five males and five females.
“This is an extraordinary group because of its talent, diversity and qualifications,” said Welsh. “We are fortunate to have so many new deputies who all have much to offer and contribute to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Laniece Edmondson, a Philadelphia native, graduated from the Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy in June 2017. Her path to law enforcement received inspiration from her mother, a 30-year Philadelphia Police officer. She comes to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office from the Darby Borough Police Department, where she assisted with the training of new officers. When she’s not working, she’s likely to be found somewhere outside or at the gym. She enjoys a host of outdoor pursuits, especially hiking and kayaking.
Appropriately side-by-side in the alphabetical list of new hires, Marjorie Gonzalez and Deborah Holmes represent a formidable team. The pair became friends while working as security officers for the Sheriff’s Office and aspired to become deputies. To accomplish that, they needed Act 120 certification. So they enrolled in Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy yearlong part-time program, enabling them to continue their day jobs.
For Holmes, a Coatesville High graduate who studied criminal justice at West Chester University, the program added a challenging component to an already-full schedule that included caring for her two sons as well as providing assistance to her late father, who was seriously ill. Gonzalez, a Navy veteran who grew up in Delaware County, said she had given up on her dream of pursuing police certification until Holmes broached the subject, encouraging Gonzalez to join her. Gonzalez, who attended Haverford High and Millersville State College, said the rigorous training regimen represented the biggest impediment, but one that was worth overcoming.
Melissa Harrington, who grew up in a transient Air Force family, took a detour to law enforcement from broadcast journalism, which she studied at Hartwick College. After earning her degree, she worked for a variety of shows, including the national CBS Evening News. She also worked with Scent Evidence and a nonprofit called Public Safety Dogs, Inc., which rescues dogs and trains them to assist agencies with locating missing persons. Harrington, who graduated from Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy in 2017, comes to the Sheriff’s Office from the Schuylkill Township Police Department. In her spare time, she enjoys making candles for a business she created, The Local Candle Company.
For Jeffrey Hagan, who attended Bayard Rustin High School, a job in the Sheriff’s Office represents a homecoming of sorts: He was an intern in the office this past summer. Inspired in part by an uncle who spent 20 years with the Philadelphia Police Department, Hagan majored in criminology at Penn State. He graduated from Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy in December 2018. Hagan, who specializes in staying busy, enjoys participating in an adult baseball league as well as playing ice hockey.
Brian Jefferson, a native of North Wales, planned a career in automotive technology, receiving training at A. Philip Randolph Career Academy in Philadelphia and the Automotive Training Center in Warminster. But after he was laid off from a job with Mercedes Benz, he shifted gears. Inspired by relatives as well as TV shows, he attended Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy, graduating in 2011; he also joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Jefferson comes to the Sheriff’s Office from the Darby Borough Police Department, where he earned special recognition for rescuing a suicidal subject. In his spare time, he enjoys working out and spending time with his family.
Edward Kebbekus is another familiar face to those who frequent the Chester County Justice Center. A native of New Jersey, he attended West Chester University, majoring in criminal justice. He subsequently worked at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County before joining Chester County’s Adult Probation Department in 2012. Eager to pursue another aspect of law enforcement, Kebbekus credited his family with supporting his decision to attend Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy. After his graduation in 2017, he left Adult Probation and joined the Darby Township Police Department. When he’s not working, Kebbekus enjoys traveling, camping and working out.
Destiny may have played a role in William Merola’s somewhat circuitous route to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. He attended Upper Darby High, where Sheriff Welsh appears on the school’s Wall of Fame, but he majored in leisure/sports studies at Kutztown University and began working in retail, which held no permanent appeal for him. In 2015, several police officers urged him to attend Delaware County Community College’s Police Academy. He graduated in 2015 and began working for the Aldan Borough Police Department and later the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, where he sometimes saw a copy of Welsh’s Wall of Fame photo at the Delaware County courthouse. So when he heard about an opening in her office, he was eager to apply. The bulk of his spare time goes to family activities.
Maura McMahon, a Montgomery County native, grew up surrounded by people involved in law enforcement -- especially her father, who works as a defense attorney. She earned a degree in science from James Madison University in Virginia and interned in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office before enrolling in Montgomery County Community College’s Police Academy. She graduated in 2017 and accepted a job as a police officer with the Western Berks Regional Police Department. She particularly enjoys the aspects of police work that merge her penchant for scientific precision with her interest in helping others. In her spare time, McMahon is working toward her NRA firearms instructor certification. She also has a martial arts background in jiu-jitsu and Krav Maga and is a competitive distance runner in the area.
David Pomroy received his law enforcement inspiration while growing up in a small town in Gloucester County, N.J. The first in his family to pursue a career in police work, he graduated from Rutgers University with a criminal justice degree. He received his Act 120 certification from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 2017; he is also certified to detect and classify improvised explosive devices. His interest in the Chester County Sheriff’s Office was piqued by its K-9 Unit. In his leisure time, Pomroy enjoys taking walks with his dog and indulging his passion for motorcycles.