Plymouth Township recognizes retiring Police Chief

Plymouth Township recognized retiring Police Chief Joseph F. Lawrence and named Deputy Chief John Myrsiades the new Police Chief.

The Plymouth Township Council, on Monday night, honored Police Chief Joseph F. Lawrence, who will retire from his 32-year career with the township on June 2.

Lawrence, who became a member of the Plymouth Township Police Department on Aug. 24, 1987, has served as chief since Aug. 11, 2008.

“It’s truly been an honor and a great experience,” Lawrence told the governing body after accepting a plaque recognizing his decades of service. Lawrence then thanked the department’s officers for their hard work.

Student athletes from the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School baseball team presented the chief with commemorative T-shirts featuring an American flag on the front and Lawrence’s name and badge on the back.

Township Council Chairman Marty Higgins said the mark of a true leader is how a person navigates in uncertain or difficult times.

“The worst of times occurred with the death of (officer) Brad Fox,” Higgins said. “Chief Lawrence carried us all through the long, dark tunnel and back into the light.”

Vice Chairman Christopher Manero commended Lawrence for his professionalism.

“I’ve always been impressed with the way you fight for things for your officers,” Manero said. “To me, that was remarkable.”

Council members Karen Bramblett and Lenore Bruno thanked Lawrence for his service and leadership. Councilman David Gannon acknowledged that “your job is not easy” and said his family’s support helped him succeed all these years.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Chief Lawrence has been a police officer since 1980. Prior to joining the Plymouth Township Police Department, he was an officer with the Metro Police Department in Washington, D.C. He has worked as a Patrolman, Narcotics Detective, Criminal Detective and as Detective Sergeant and has led the police department in arrests and has been involved in high-profile cases. He was promoted to Deputy Chief on June 10, 2003.

His accomplishments include implementing various state-of-the-art programs, including body and car cameras; radar speed signs; mobile ID fingerprint scanner; DNA collection at crime scenes; and a blood collection policy for DUI suspects.

Higgins announced that Deputy Chief John Myrsiades will take the helm as Police Chief. He will be formally sworn in as Chief at the Council’s June 10 meeting. Myrsiades is only the second police officer ever to serve in every rank of the police department, according to Higgins.

“I look forward to the challenge,” Myrsiades told the Council. “I look forward to working with all of you.”

With his retirement, Lawrence said he will have more time to spend with his 13 grandchildren.

In other business, the Township Council unanimously approved a resolution recognizing the week of May 12 through May 18 as Police Week in tandem with the National Police Week designation for the same time period.

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