Held in Courtroom One of the Chester County Justice Center, the ceremony included background on each of the deputies -- Brian Bolt, Paul Bryant and Steven Vitale – all of whom were joined by family members. Chief Deputy Jason Suydam opened the program with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by welcoming remarks from Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh, an invocation from the Rev. Floyd Wheeler, and the national anthem, sung a cappella by Cpl. Wayne Johnson.
Introducing Bolt, who was promoted to corporal, Lt. Harry McKinney said the lifelong county resident joined the Chester County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) in July 2008, working in both the criminal and civil units. He became a K-9 handler in 2010, graduating from the Vonder Haus Gill K-9 Academy in Ohio with his partner Yukon, a 9-year-old German shepherd.
McKinney said the pair has worked together ever since on details that have included presidential security, bomb threats and fugitive apprehension. In 2016, Bolt and Yukon finished second in a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Police Canine Association (USPCA). The following year, he earned his K-9 trainers’ certificate as well as USPCA judging status.
McKinney also detailed the background of Deputy Paul Bryant, who was promoted to sergeant. Byrant spent more than three decades with the Philadelphia Police Department, most of them as a K-9 handler and trainer, before coming to Chester County in 2015.
Bryant, currently partnered with Don, a black German shepherd who specializes in detecting human remains, has won numerous commendations. In 2002, he earned the Criminalistics Best Scent Case in the U.S., and in 2016, Bryant and Don were deemed the best cadaver team in the country at the USPCA certification trials. No other U.S. handler has ever won both honors, McKinney noted.
Lt. Kurt Hansen introduced Deputy Steven Vitale, who was promoted to corporal. Hansen said Vitale’s law-enforcement career began in 2002 with part-time positions in Millbourne Borough, Malvern Borough, and Easttown Township. He joined the CCSO in 2005 and began assignments with the civil-process unit the following year. He has worked part time with the East Whiteland Township Police Department since 2004.
Vitale is also a certified firearms instructor for handguns, shotgun, and select-fire patrol rifles. “Steve pushes us to exceed standards on the ranges,” Hansen said, adding that Vitale is fiercely committed to maintaining safety but also manages to promote fun at the same time.
“Each of these deputies has earned the promotion and rank,” said Welsh. “The addition of Cpl. Bolt and Sgt. Bryant will give us a strong chain of command in the K-9 Unit. With his years of experience, Cpl. Vitale will provide outstanding leadership in the civil division. We’re proud of all of them.”