Chief Richard Tornielli was sworn in by Mayor Samantha Kaag as the next Chief of the West Reading Police Department Tuesday afternoon at Borough Hall.
Tornielli brings a wealth of experience, dedication, and a commitment to community-oriented policing to his new role following over two decades of dedicated work in the City of Reading, most recently as the city’s Chief of Police.
Mayor Samantha Kaag expressed her enthusiasm for Tornielli’s appointment, stating, “We are thrilled to welcome Chief Tornielli to our West Reading family. His proven track record in law enforcement, combined with his passion for community engagement, aligns perfectly with our borough’s values. I am confident that under his leadership, our police department will continue to foster trust and collaboration within our diverse community.”
Council President Ryan Lineaweaver echoed Mayor Kaag’s sentiments, highlighting Tornielli’s suitability for the role. “Chief Tornielli’s extensive background in law enforcement and his dedication to implementing modern and community-driven policing practices make him an exceptional choice to lead the West Reading Police Department. His commitment to community policing will contribute to the safety and well-being of our residents.”
Tornielli comes to West Reading after 22 years in various roles with the City of Reading, including patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and most recently, chief. Tornielli held his role as chief beginning with his appointment in January 2020 until his retirement from the department in July 2023. Tornielli had also acted as the City of Reading’s Bomb Squad Commander beginning in 2012 through his recent retirement.
While in Reading, Chief Tornielli was responsible for planning and monitoring a $37 million annual budget, while overseeing the administration of 168 sworn and 34 civilian employees. He also implemented multiple positive changes to the department – including developing and revising policies (including Use of Force policies and training), engaging residents and local community organizations, and fostering positive working relationships with city departments, county, state, and federal government offices and law enforcement agencies.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Alvernia University in Criminal Justice System Administration and has completed additional advanced leadership training programs. Tornielli’s approach to policing emphasizes community partnerships, crime prevention, and a proactive response to emerging challenges.
“I am honored to join the West Reading Police Department as its Chief of Police,” Tornielli stated. “I am committed to building upon the department’s legacy of professionalism and integrity while fostering an environment of open communication and collaboration. Together with our dedicated officers, I am eager to enhance public safety and continue building strong relationships with the community we serve.”
Tornielli was chosen from a nationwide search to become the borough’s next Chief of Police, a process that was run with the aid of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. Multiple rounds of interviews involving current chiefs, former chiefs, and borough council were held prior to Tornielli’s selection.