I write this today with a heavy heart, not only as Chief of the Westfield Police Department, but as a father of three young children, as a dedicated public servant, and as a broken-hearted American citizen.
I am extremely proud to be a police officer, and am honored to be entrusted with the safety of others. To me, the badge is a symbol of trust, and of honor and integrity.
The role of a police officer is NOT to exert power, to show force, or to cause pain.
The role of a police officer is to help, to protect, to show compassion, to teach, and to love.
The killing of George Floyd, at the hands of police officers, demonstrated a callous disregard for human life. It should not have happened. His life was needlessly lost at the hands of people who were supposed to protect him.
The Westfield Police Department condemns the actions of those who contributed to the loss of his life. That is not what police work is. That is not what humanity is.
We mourn with his family, and with the rest of America, for the loss of his life. However, we must take this moment, learn from it, and become a more inclusive community.
I want you all to know the Westfield Police Department has been taking, and continues to take, significant measures to ensure the absolute professionalism of its police officers and their conduct at all times.
From the implementation of body worn cameras, which are assigned to each and every one of our uniformed officers and field supervisors, to mandated implicit bias training, to the on-going review, revision and re-issuance of every single one of our standard operating procedures with the assistance of a professional outside law enforcement consultant, to the continuance of a robust professional standards unit to investigate any and all complaints of officer misconduct, there has been and will be no rest in our department.
In addition, I look forward to being involved with Mayor Brindle’s newly formed Human Relations Advisory Committee to actively listen and participate in fostering an environment of inclusivity, mutual understanding, and respect within the Westfield community.
As the Chief of Police, my job is to ensure the Westfield Police Department always gives you its very best. You deserve that, you are worthy of that, and nothing short of it will ever be accepted.
In recognition of George Floyd’s death, and the deaths of other people of color lost to police brutality, we stand with you.
In recognition of the strength of peaceful protest and advocation for change, we stand with you.
In recognition of the grace to cause peace and healing for our divided country, we stand with you.
In recognition of the significant work left to do in our community and our country, and in wanting to be an active part of the solution, we stand with you.
And in pledge to honor, protect, and serve the wonderful citizens of this town, regardless of a person’s race, creed, nationality, or gender, we stand before you.
I am always available for your questions and to hear your concerns. I am, as ever, here to serve you, and to protect you and this great town.
Be well, be safe, and be strong.
Police Chief Christopher Battiloro