Sheriff Eric J. Weaknecht has appointed Bryant M. Semenza, a retired US Marshal supervisor, as Chief Deputy of the Berks County Sheriff’s Office effective August 13, 2014.
Chief Semenza has over 35 years of law enforcement experience at both the federal and local levels and is a 24 year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.
As a member of the US Marshals Service, Semenza served the jurisdictions of the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For the Southern District of New York, Semenza was assigned as the first Drug Enforcement Administration liaison to adopt and reassign drug fugitive investigations to the US Marshal Service, established and supervised anti-terrorist details and was a team leader on 9/11 Search & Rescue and Search & Recover. He also established Major and Cold Case Squads and was instrumental in establishing Operation Terror Stop and perimeter security for the U.S. Courthouse following the first attack on the World Trade Center, which continued following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Semenza established duties and responsibilities for Sex Offender and Judicial Security Coordinators and developed district Sub-Office Task Forces, one of which is the Berks County Sheriff’s Office. As a supervisor assigned to operational details in New York City and the sub-offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Semenza was also responsible for procurements and purchases, office budget and fleet management.
As a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, Military Special Agent assigned to the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Semenza conducted national security investigations, enforced the Uniform Code of Military Justice and investigated maritime violations. These duties, carried out over two decades, touched on national events including 9/11; Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina; and Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, among others.
Semenza earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey; is a graduate of the Monmouth County Police Academy in Howell, New Jersey; completed U.S. Coast Guard Basic Training in Cape May, New Jersey; and Federal Law Enforcement Training in Glynco, Georgia. He was employed as a law enforcement officer in various New Jersey municipal police departments and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department. He is the recipient of numerous awards, commendations, medals and citations for performance and excellence in the field of law enforcement and military service.
As Chief Deputy in the Berks County Sheriff’s Office, Semenza is second in command reporting directly to the Sheriff. He is responsible for the overall operations of the Sheriff’s Office and supervises five Captains. He will also oversee policy and procedures and special projects and will be responsible for the office budget.