Albert L. DiGiacomo, chief detective, police captain and college professor, has died at the age of 73

Albert L. DiGiacomo, 73, of Phoenixville, retired Chester County detective, former captain of the South Detective Division of the Philadelphia Police Department and professor of criminal justice at West Chester University, died Thursday, February 23, at his home of cancer .

Capt. DiGiacomo began his distinguished police department career as a Southwest Philadelphia police patrolman in 1970. He ended it 29 years later, in 1999, as a captain and commander of one of the city’s investigative departments.

He then served as Chester County’s chief detective for nine years, eventually retiring in 2008. In 2001 he told The Inquirer: “I truly believe that conducting major criminal investigations is one of the most fascinating and exciting careers you can have.”

Energetic, personable and articulate, he also taught full-time criminal justice courses at West Chester and other colleges from 2009 onwards. “He always showed a genuine interest in our students and helped many launch their criminal justice careers,” said a college colleague in an online tribute.

Capt. DiGiacomo loved to cook and his wife Susan gave him this custom kitchen apron. . … Read moreCourtesy of the family

First, Capt. DiGiacomo went one step further and worked with German shepherds in the police department’s K-9 unit. Then he spent time in the youth welfare department, the organized crime unit, internal affairs and other duties.

He became a detective, sergeant in 1982, lieutenant in 1986 and captain in 1991. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Temple University in 1980 and completed an 11-week training session at the FBI National Academy in 1996 and received a master’s degree in criminal justice from St. Joseph’s University in 2000.

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When he took charge of the South Detectives in 1992, he emphasized effective training and accountability, and his calm analytical manner and attention to detail helped him develop popular policies, procedures and operational techniques. “Those were the golden years,” he said to his brother Louis.

Indeed, other investigators rallied around him, calling him “one of the most influential figures in the city’s history” and “a visionary.” They said “he set the gold standard” and “had a ‘never say never’ attitude”.

Capt. DiGiacomo (right) sits with Lt. Bill Broadbent (left) and Inspector Carl Jankowski at police headquarters. . … Read moreVicki Valerio

In Chester County, Capt. DiGiacomo and his 17 detectives handle high-profile cases involving murder, assault, embezzlement and other crimes. He created fugitive task forces, expanded drug and cybercrime investigations, improved training, and modernized the computer forensics unit.

“I will not compromise when it comes to our core values ​​of integrity, competence and compassion,” he said in 2001.

He also served as Chester County’s representative on a counterterrorism advisory panel after September 11, 2001, was a past president of the Delaware Valley Association of Police Officials, and founded its annual Legion of Excellence Award for local officers. He later worked as a grant application consultant for the National Institute of Justice.

He spoke to his son’s class at Conestoga High School on Career Day 2004 and found that he enjoyed interacting with students. So he took a job in West Chester teaching criminal justice courses on terrorism, white-collar crime and organized crime.

Capt. DiGiacomo enjoyed playing golf and swapping stories with his buddies. “If Al was your friend, then he was a friend for life,” his family said. . … Read moreCourtesy of the family

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“Professor DiGiacomo made everything clear,” said a former student in an online post.

Born on October 1, 1949, Albert Louis DiGiacomo grew up in West Philadelphia and was inspired by the crime-fighting heroes he saw on television. At 16 he graduated from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and in 1969 got a burial diploma license in case the family business needed help.

Protective by nature, he kept tabs on his three sisters and escorted one of them down the altar to their wedding after their father died. They described him as “reliable, the voice of reason, deeply caring, disciplined and highly intelligent”.

He married Michelle Pionkowski, they had a son Christopher and lived in Berwyn. After a divorce, he married Susan Fields in 2008 and they lived in Phoenixville.

The three sisters of Capt. DiGiacomo called him “the ultimate role model”. . … Read moreCourtesy of the family

Capt. DiGiacomo ran four miles every other day for a while enjoying cars, sun and surfing in Avalon. He enjoyed cooking, telling jokes and stories, and reading Tom Clancy thrillers.

He and his son attended many Phillies and Eagles games and almost every Army Navy football game for years. He loved golf and went with his son to the finals of the 2013 US Open in Merion on Father’s Day. “The golf course was our sanctuary,” said his son.

“He was happy and always led the laughter,” his wife said. “He was just so full of life.”

In addition to his wife, son, brother, sisters and former wife, Capt. DiGiacomo two granddaughters and other relatives.

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Worship services were on February 27th.

Donations on his behalf may be made to the Delaware Valley Association of Professional Police Officials, c/o Legion of Excellence Award, 1760 South Easton Road, Doylestown, Pa. 18901.