Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh was elected the first female sheriff in Chester County in 1999, much to the surprise of the four
qualified men who ran against her.
“I believe in law enforcement and wanted to be involved in it,” she says. “But I prefer the executive branch, not the judicial branch. I wanted to serve the community as an elected official who answers to the people.”
And about that nickname: Party honchos suggested that she ditch it before the election. She refused. “I’d been called Bunny for some 50 years, and I wasn’t about to be someone else,” she says. “I think that one of the problems with politics is that people pretend to be someone else—someone who will get elected. I say, embrace who you are, state how you’re qualified for the job, and then explain how you want to do the job.”
Welsh’s job is to manage all the deputies who operate in the county, which has a half-million people in its 73 municipalities and the city of Coatesville. “My greatest concern is for the safety and security of people who work for Chester County,” says Welsh. “I’m happy if we finish a day when no one has been shot and no one has escaped.”