PHOENIXVILLE -- Within their first month on duty with the Phoenixville Police Department, new officers Sean Knapp and Nick Natale have found the borough to their liking.
Both officers were sworn in June, and have began patrolling the streets of Phoenixville already. They come to Phoenixville after longtime service in two different police precincts.
Knapp recently left the Coatesville Police Department after visiting the borough earlier this year.
"I did some research on areas that are on the upswing and I like all of the good things that are going on in Phoenixville," said Knapp. "This is the only place I applied, and I immediately got hired. I then brought my wife to town one night and after driving around, she was impressed."
What's impressed Knapp the most, he said, is the hospitality he's received from the community.
"The people in town and the officer's attitudes are positive," he said. "It is definitely different than the negative attitude towards police where I just came from. It makes me feel good about being here and serving the community."
A 1988 graduate of Upper Darby High School, Knapp went into the United States Marine Corp. After serving his country, Knapp attended the Delaware County Police Academy and graduated in 1997.
"My grandfather (Woodrow) was a corrections officer in New Jersey, and my father (Jake) was in the military police in Korea," he said. "They both told me stories which got me interested in police work."
Knapp said he worked part-time in several police departments before his stint in Coatesville, where he became patrol corporal prior to his departure.
"With more time here in Phoenixville, I'd like to advance in the rank structure," he said. "In the meantime, I want to work hard and do a good job while smiling about it."
With nine years as a SEPTA police officer, Natale said he
was looking for a change as well.
"I was tired of working in the city," said Natale. "Being in the city all of the time can take its toll on you. Sometimes it's a thankless job, but I kept doing it. After so long, I decided I wanted to come to a town where you get to know the store owners and the citizens."
Just like Knapp, Natale said he developed his love for police work through his family ties.
"I have uncles who have retired from the New York Police Department," he said. "It's with the family. They told me a lot of police stories and it got into my blood."
A 1999 graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Schwenksville, Natale said he's looking forward to more one-on-one interaction with people.
"I want to help people and make a difference," he said. "The people in Phoenixville are happy to see you, and they want to have a conversation with you, and shake your hand. I never got that in the city."
Natale said he's also appreciative of the support he's already received from his fellow officers, including Cpl. David Boyer.
"I'm enjoying working with a great group of guys," he said. "Everyone has welcomed me to the department. They've been showing me around and introducing me to all of the borough regulars.
"I'm working hard on learning the ins and outs of the borough. There is a lot to cover and I want to do the best job that I can."