By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA’s Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III has retired, SEPTA’s GM and CEO Leslie S. Richards announced Tuesday. SEPTA has named SEPTA Police Insp. Charles Lawson as acting chief.

“The safety and security of customers and employees is SEPTA’s top priority, and plans have been put in place to ensure continuity of operations for the Transit Police Department during this transition,” Richards said. “SEPTA will continue to advance new safety and security efforts, including work with health professionals to engage members of the vulnerable population as part of the SCOPE (Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnerships and Engagement) initiative, as well as Outreach Specialists who are helping reinforce the rules for riding and serving as eyes and ears for Transit Police. We are also actively recruiting for new police officers to join the SEPTA Transit Police Department.”

Lawson has been with SEPTA Transit Police for over 28 years and started as a patrol officer, rising through the ranks.

SEPTA will begin searching for a permanent transit police chief immediately.