Tom Scott, Jenkintown’s Chief of Police, six months in

When Chief of Police Tom Scott took over for the retiring Albert DiValentino in April, he had nothing but positive initial thoughts about the appointment.

“I was excited about the opportunity, and I knew there was some work to be done from my investigation into the job and the Borough. They were struggling for some administrative leadership, but things are going well. We’re on the right track,” Scott said. “I’ve lived or worked in the area for almost 30 years, so that working relationship and being apart of the community really has inspired me to take on this next challenge.”

A graduate of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Program and Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Chief Scott brings with him more than 30 years of service-oriented experience, as well as a M.S. in Public Safety Management from Saint Joseph’s University and a degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. Scott has previously served as an EMT, a paramedic, patrol officer, field training officer, DARE officers, SWAT/Tactical team officer, patrol sergeant, and patrol lieutenant/watch commander.

“My entire life has been committed to service. The best way to do that is to understand what the expectations are and striving to have accountability for all people in terms of acceptable behaviors,” Scott said.

Half a year in, establishing relationships with the community, including a productive relationship with Jenkintown School District, has been at the fore of his efforts.

“I bring a lot of school safety background, so it’s been great meeting with Dr. Takacs and the school safety team and setting up their emergency operations plan,” Scott said. “We’ve been collaborating in training the entire staff, and we’ve been updating some things that needed to be updated, so that’s been a great first step.”

“Borough leadership has made it very easy for me to work with them. Mayor Lerman, president Connors and vice president Soltysiak have been very helpful. Manager George Locke and I have become colleagues and friends. We’ve looked at how we can improve services for the citizens,” he said.

“We’ve gotten ahold of some concerns that officers had, and made an effort to boost their training. I’ve tried to continue building relationships with the borough leadership, working with budgetary constraints, implementing body cameras,” Scott said. “We’re in the process of securing another grant that’ll be used to provide upgrades to technology and services and other support mechanisms that are needed.”

Chief Scott swearing in to his role in April

Going forward, Chief Scott is looking to continue building relationships throughout the community.

“I think working to establish a footprint where the police department is actively involved in borough initiatives will be a benefit. It’s part of the whole guardian mentality, where there shouldn’t be a divide between the community partners and the police department. At Abington, we strived for and thrived within that dynamic, and I’m trying to bring that here. I believe in the tenants of 21st century policing, which is creating a professional, effective service for the community. They work to everyone’s benefit when you’re seeking to follow those guidelines and model. We’re going to be community-oriented and we’re going to be problem-solvers and protect the citizens. When we need to enforce things we will.”

Scott grew up on East Oak Lane in Philadelphia, and today he has a a wife and a 20-year-old son who attends Penn State Berks.

“I think the officers are understanding what my goal is. I want to empower them and increase their problem-solving abilities,” Scott said.

“He’s been a positive change in a lot of ways, including modernizing our police force. He’s always quick to try to do things that are positive for the community, working closely with residents and building relationships. He came from Abington so he knows the area and lots of people,” mayor Gabe Lerman said.

And while Abington Police Department was sad to see him go, they were happy to wish him well in the next chapter of his service-oriented career.

“On behalf of all the men and women of our Department who are presently serving and those who have served, I want to congratulate Tom on his retirement and wish him only the best as he begins this next chapter of his life. We are proud of his achievement and know that in many ways, we will still be working with him to protect and serve the members of our respective communities.  Abington’s loss is Jenkintown’s gain,” Abington Township Police Department wrote in a public statement.