Since December 1985 until his retirement in March 2017, Chief William “Bill” J. Kelly has made a difference leading the Abingt on Police Department (APD). Chief Kelly has been a visionary, always looking to the next model in policing, the next program to implement in Abington in order to continually improve the way the Department as a whole and officers individually serve and protect this community.
Never satisfied with the status quo, Chief Kelly helped found the state accreditation program and stepped forward with the APD as the first state law enforcement agency to apply for and become state accredited. He then led Abington in its first international accreditation. Since then, Abington has repeatedly achieved reaccreditation in both areas. Both processes entailed a voluntary decision to open the department to in-depth scrutiny by outside assessors to ensure compliance with hundreds of standards for operation.
Under Chief Kelly, the APD formed a Community Police Division from which many beneficial programs have been launched: the Abington Police Athletic League, Victim Services Unit, Youth Aid Panel, Volunteers In Policing, Community Service for youth, Pre National Night Out, the 24-Hour Relay and Rock-A-Thon, to name just a few. The DARE program was introduced under Chief Kelly, and a Traffic Safety Unit was created. These programs were initiated because of the Chief’s belief in prevention and intervention. In 2013, these many efforts were recognized when the International Association of Chiefs of Police named Abington as one of only four law enforcement agencies in the world to receive the prestigious IACP Community Policing Award for Abington’s outstanding Youth Deterrence Program.
Chief Kelly has long been firmly committed to community/police collaboration to reduce crime as seen through two major organizations that formed during his leadership: ACT (Abington Community Taskforce) and CAPT (Citizens And Police Together). He is a strong proponent and founding member of ACT for which he served a term as Co-Chair. Clearly ACT lies in the center of Chief Kelly’s heart as he has always been the first to stress ACT’s value to the community and has remained involved, ensuring ACT’s continued vitality. In fact, a year ago when Chief Kelly determined to steer Abington to form a HUB to addresses youth risk situations and interventional support, he brought the opportunity to ACT members and encouraged their involvement.
Chief Kelly has also been proud of CAPT which both runs community activities and offers financial and volunteer support for many of the Department’s community projects. Together with ACT and the many other Department programs, these efforts contributed to Abington being named six times by Colin Powell’s America’s Promise as one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” in the United States and being recognized by Money Magazine as a top 100 place to live in America, especially in safety.
Most recently, Chief Kelly has served as president of several professional organizations: Police Chiefs Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, and Montgomery County Chiefs Association.
Chief Kelly plans to retire next March. ACT will number among the many organizations and people who will be forever grateful to Chief Kelly for his exceptional, accomplished leadership. How can one adequately thank such a remarkable Chief?