Hampstead swears in police chief, former colleagues show support

HAMPSTEAD — It had been 33 years since he’d put on a new uniform. But at David Snyder’s swearing in as new chief of the Hampstead Police Department, the more than three-decade veteran of the Lower Merion Township Police Department donned a new crest.

Snyder traded the statuesque steeds and golden eagle of the Pennsylvania town’s shield for the railroad tracks, cozy cottage and verdant field of Hampstead’s.


“It was a little different,” Snyder told the Times. “But it is still the same thing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it here in Hampstead, Lower Merion or anywhere else.

“Policing [is] my passion. I enjoy it.”

On Tuesday, Snyder raised his right hand and took his oath, repeating line-by-line the words of Hampstead Mayor Christopher Nevin.

“I David Snyder ... do swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States ... and I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland … without partiality or prejudice … execute the office of the chief of the Hampstead Police Department,” Snyder recited.

“Congratulations,” Nevin said, as applause echoed from the audience, which included some special guests.

A few minutes before the scheduled start to Tuesday’s mayor and council meeting, a delegation of about a dozen uniformed and plain-clothed men pushed open the single-paned glass front door of the Hampstead Town Hall.

Nevin and the five-member Town Council looked on curiously. Snyder blushed, surprised to see familiar faces.

The men, it turned out, were members of the Lower Merion Department — Snyder’s former colleagues.

“I worked with Dave Snyder for 31 years,” said Officer Frank McCormick, who patrols the town located just north of Philadelphia. “Me and the other officers from my department wanted to show our support for him.”

It speaks volumes to Snyder as a man and leader, Nevin told the Times after the meeting.

“Snyder was a lieutenant in our police department, and one of the most fraternal guys we could ever have,” said Joe Brown, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lower Merion Lodge. “He’s the most natural leader that we’ve ever had in our department.”

Before the meeting, his comrades, who’d traveled 2½ hours, offered handshakes and congratulations.

After the meeting they surrounded him, awarding him a plaque and gifting a memento. The officers presented Snyder with a surfboard decorated with his proverbs on the deck and signatures from most members of the Lower Merion department on the underside.

Lower Merion Lt. Chris Polo was interviewed by Hampstead officials during the hiring process.


Polo said he was asked, “Does [Snyder] have any addictions?” to which he responded, “Yeah, surfing and fishing.”

Snyder used to have a house in Ocean City, Polo said.

“He was an avid surfer, and there were days where he would literally get up early, drive from his house [in Pennsylvania] ... to the shore, surf, drive home, get a shower, drive to work.”

The new police chief’s former colleagues repeated one message to Hampstead officials: We’re sorry to lose him, but you’ve gained an exceptional leader.

Snyder led by example, Polo said. “All of his officers and civilians, I mean, they can function without him because he made sure they know how to do their job.

“That says a lot.”

New Hampstead police chief David Snyder is sworn in by Mayor Christopher Nevin during the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
New Hampstead police chief David Snyder is sworn in by Mayor Christopher Nevin during the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14. (Alex Mann/Carroll County Times)