Out of the blue… Sweigart retires from the East Cocalico Police Department

By on August 16, 2017

“It’s been a wonderful 28 years on a great force,” said Kerry L. Sweigart, as he discussed his career with East Cocalico Police Department.
The township supervisors accepted with regret his resignation at their July 20 meeting.
Sweigart will continue to serve others in retirement, but in a different profession. After completing the Berks County Intermediate Unit guest teacher program at the end of August, he’ll be certified to serve as a substitute secondary school teacher in Berks County.

Photo by Alice Hummer
Kerry L. Sweigart has retired after 28 years of service with the East Cocalico Police Department.

“Growing up, I either wanted to be a cop or a teacher,” said Sweigart.
The 1984 Ephrata High School alumnus went on to graduate from York College of Pennsylvania as a criminal justice major.
“Former East Cocalico Police Chief Craig Ebersole, in 1989, gave me a chance to enter law enforcement with East Cocalico, and I’ve been here ever since,” Sweigart said.
“The majority of my career was under Chief George Beever. The thing I liked about George is that he didn’t interfere with you doing your job and supported you going for advanced training.
“He gave me the opportunity to become a detective. I had an outstanding supervisor as a detective in Sgt. Larry Martin. He was always there to assist in investigations and understood in depth the criminal investigation process. I don’t think Sgt. Martin ever said no when I asked him for assistance.”
For many years, Detective Keith Neff was his partner. Sweigart described Neff as a sharp investigator, whose work helped bring resolution to many cases.
Sweigart’s recollections made it apparent the high regard officers hold for one another and how well they work together.
“For most of my career, Sgt. Ray Burns was the administrative sergeant,” he said. “You could always count on him. Sgt. Darrick Keppley and Sgt. Chris Progin took right over where Sgt. Burns left off and both do an amazing job.”
Burns is a former West Cocalico Township supervisor who now resides in the mid-state area,
Three major changes witnessed during Sweigart’s career include: the formation of the major crimes unit; the formation of the child abuse unit, and the formation of the county forensics unit.
Each of these units brings a level of organization, specialists, and other resources that are on the cutting edge of law enforcement and have become models for many other counties in the state.
In the mid 1990s, when the major crimes unit was formed, Sweigart was one of the first detectives named to it.
Sweigart was asked about major cases that stand out in his memory.
“Every case is important and gets our full attention,” he said. “I don’t want to make victims revisit a nightmare through which they’ve already lived.”
Sweigart is optimistic about the future of the force.
“The department is in good hands with Chief Terry Arment,” he said. “I’ve worked with him over 20 years. He’s done an amazing job and is a good fit for our department.”

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