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Emergency: 911

DA Office: 610 891-4162

Special Victims Unit: 610 891-4811

Witness Assistance: 610 831-4227

Criminal Investigations: 610 891-4700

Chief Joseph A. Ryan

Chief Joseph A. Ryan

Joseph A. Ryan is a 38-year law enforcement veteran and Wharton School alum whose career combines his passions for justice and education. Joseph Ryan was appointed Chief of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division in February 2012.

Chief Ryan began his law enforcement career in 1978 as a patrolman with the Lower Merion Township Police Department in Montgomery County. After three years, he was assigned as a platoon investigator, responsible for the initial response to all crime scenes and case development. In 1985, Ryan was promoted to patrol sergeant for Lower Merion Township Police Department. During that time, he attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude in 1987.

In September 1988, Ryan was hired as a detective with the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the investigative arm of the District Attorney's Office. For the next three years, he served as a detective in the Homicide, Child Abuse and Special Investigation Units. In 1991, he was assigned to the newly created Economic Crime Unit. Chief Ryan was instrumental in developing a co-op program with Villanova University for students interested in the fields of forensic accounting and corporate financing to gain valuable and substantial practical experience in the field.

In October 2008, Ryan was promoted to Lieutenant of the Economic Crime Unit, which expanded to include the Insurance Fraud Division and Gaming Unit.

Chief Ryan is an instructor in both the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission Act 120 and Act 180 classes. He is also an instructor for Temple University’s Institute on Protective Services. He formerly served as an adjunct professor at Widener University in the Criminal Justice Program. Additionally, Chief Ryan is a crisis negotiator with the Eastern Delaware County Emergency Response Team.

Chief Ryan is a Board of Director of the County Office of Services of the Aging (COSA) Protective Advisory Board and formerly a Board of Director of the Senior Victim Services of Delaware County. He is also a member of the following organizations: Delaware County Chiefs of Police; Southeast Chiefs of Police; Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police; National Chiefs of Police; International Chiefs of Police; Pennsylvania Homicide Investigators Association; County and State Detectives Association of Pennsylvania; International Association of Insurance Fraud Investigators.


Senior Exploitation Unit

The Senior Exploitation Unit was created in 2003 to investigate physical, sexual and financial crimes committed against anyone who is sixty years of age or older. Examples of senior crimes include Identity Theft, Fiduciary Theft, Credit Card Theft or Misuse, Gypsy Scams and financial or physical abuse. This Unit was developed to combat the problem of rising crime against senior citizens in Delaware County. Pennsylvania has the second highest number of senior citizen residents in the country. Delaware County has the largest number of senior citizen residents when compared proportionally to other counties within the Commonwealth.

The mission of the Senior Exploitation Unit is twofold: (1) to investigate crimes against seniors; and (2) to educate the general population of Delaware County concerning the many crimes and illegal schemes perpetrated against the seniors of the county. Since its inception, the Senior Exploitation Unit has handled more than 400 cases and the total amount of thefts reported has exceeded $3,000,000.

The education segment of the mission raises awareness about the need to identify these crimes and the need to report the crimes to the proper authorities. In support of this mission, the Senior Exploitation Unit presents programs throughout Delaware County. As of December 2006, the Unit presented more than 100 programs on such topics as Crimes Against the Elderly, Don't Allow Yourself To Be a Victim, Senior Personal Safety and other pertinent subjects explaining the increasing number of crimes committed against seniors and how seniors can protect themselves.

Statistics show that many seniors throughout the country do not report the fraudulent and illegal schemes committed against them because they are afraid the actors may return to victimize them again or that a family member may find out and may believe the victims are not able to properly handle their own affairs. It is very important to convince the senior victims of the need to report these crimes and to cooperate in the prosecution of individuals who prey on seniors. The Unit explains to seniors that if they become victims, the District Attorney's Office will assist them and will work to preserve their dignity and rights.

The Senior Exploitation Unit works closely with other elder driven agencies, including the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), Senior Victim Services, The Legal Rights Agency of Southeastern PA and many other organizations both within and outside of Delaware County. The assistance of these agencies has allowed the Senior Exploitation Unit to increase the understanding and cooperation of the senior community of Delaware County. The Unit has made and will continue to make a positive impact in cutting the rate of crime and scams committed against our seniors.

Erica Parham, Assistant District Attorney, is chief of the unit. An Assistant District Attorney and two detectives also staff the Senior Exploitation Unit. To report a crime, ask a question or request a presentation, please call the Senior Exploitation Unit at 610-891-5249 or email the Unit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tips to Protect Yourself

District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland says... "DON'T BE A VICTIM"...

Help yourself:

NEVER... fall for anything that sounds too good to be true such as a free vacation, sweepstakes prize, cures for cancer, etc.

NEVER... give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account numbers to ANYONE over the phone unless you initiated the call.

NEVER... let anyone rush you into signing anything especially an insurance policy, a sales agreement or any contract. Always take your time and read it carefully and have someone you trust check it.

NEVER... provide your personal information to anyone unless you know why they need it and how they are going to use it.

NEVER... deal with any contractor unless you first check them out with the Better Business Bureau, the county office of Consumer Affairs or your local police department.

If you have questions about Senior Exploitation or if you would like a member of our unit to come and speak to your church group, senior group or any group, Call the Senior Exploitation Unit at


or contact us at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Senior Exploitation Unit

The Senior Exploitation Unit works to educate seniors about crimes such as Identity Theft, Fiduciary Theft, Credit Card Theft or Misuse, and Financial or Physical abuse. To report a crime or request a presentation at your Church, school, community center, or club please contact:

Senior Exploitation Unit
Office of the District Attorney
Delaware County Courthouse
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
(610) 891-5249

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Polygraph Unit

The Detective Sergeant of the Homicide Unit supervises the Polygraph Unit. The Polygraph Unit has three (3) detective examiners. Two (2) examiners are assigned to the Homicide Unit. The third examiner is assigned to the Child Abuse Unit. The polygraph is used as an investigative tool to assist Law Enforcement. Polygraph tests or examinations have been utilized in the investigation of various crimes such as: Arson, Theft, Homicide, Burglary and Child Abuse. The polygraph instrument measures three (3) body functions: breathing, blood pressure and sweating. A polygraph test or examination can only be administrated after the person to be tested has signed a Miranda Rights Waiver Form and a Polygraph Consent Form.

The polygraph test consists of the following:

  • Signing of the Rights and Consent Forms.
  • A pre-test interview of the examinee regarding personal, medical and miscellaneous data.
  • An explanation of how the polygraph works.
  • A review of the questions to be asked on the test by the examiner.
  • The test with the examinee's reactions to the test questions.
  • The production of three (3) charts showing the examinee's reactions to the test questions.

At the completion of the examination, the examiner reviews the charts and determines whether the examinee was truthful or deceptive or whether the test was inconclusive. The CID Polygraph Unit utilizes the Lafayette Computerized Polygraph Instrument. The instrument is continuously updated with new software.