Radnor Township Police Department’s newest sergeant, Shawn Dietrich, didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life when he was a teenager.
After the Pittsburgh native graduated from high school he joined the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer and worked on Army bases in Atlanta, Georgia and Germany.
The job prepared him well for his job as a civilian police officer in Radnor Township, Dietrich said, because the fort and base he served on were microcosms of society. He did patrol, pulled over speeders and responded to domestic calls, for example, but in the case of Atlanta, it was all done within two square miles.
Radnor Township is 13.8 square miles, and in 1995 he was hired as one of the people to protect it and its citizens. He worked patrol until 2002, when he was selected for a nine-month internship program in the Detectives’ Unit, an experience he said has been very valuable.
“It makes you better officer. You look at things completely differently,” Dietrich said.
In 2010 he was promoted to detective, and did that until he was promoted to sergeant on June 18. This new position will put him back on the streets to supervise his squad and make sure calls are handled.
"I was enjoying working Detectives, it was not an easy decision,” Dietrich said of taking the new position. “Radnor Township has high expectations of the police department, and we try to live up to those."
Dietrich said one of the best cases he ever worked was
He came in and processed the scene the same night that a young man violently robbed the take-out pizza shop with a gun.
“He was pointing the gun, and was very aggressive,” he said.
It turned out that the robber, 18-year-old Adam Robert David, was so violent with the gun because it was not what it appeared. It was an air gun, which looks very real, he said.
“Everybody had a piece in helping. Lt. Block, Detective Paolantonio, Det. Santoliquito — we were all running with this case,” Dietrich said. “We developed a lead, worked on it, got enough evidence to get him charged, and negotiated with him on phone through his family to turn himself in.”
The police recovered the money David took and his weapon, and had him in custody within 24 hours of the crime.
It “rarely happens,” Dietrich said. Which is why it was such a memorable case for him.
One of his favorite parts of the job is as a Field Training Officer. He has helped train many of Radnor’s officers, and “it’s really fun to watch someone come in and graduate the program three months later and become a mentor to them.”
“That has helped my transition to sergeant. The guys know me well and know what I am about,” he said.