WESTFIELD, NJ – Westfield Police Chief David Wayman officially honored four officers who received promotions within the last year and welcomed five new hires to the department at the annual induction ceremony at the start of Tuesday night’s town council meeting.
Wayman praised the nine men for their individual accomplishments and dedication to the field of law enforcement. He encouraged them to continue to strive in their new positions.
“The pride, drive and desire you have had to take you this far in your career … keep that for the rest of your career,” he said.
Noting the crowds of family, friends and fellow officers in attendance, Wayman called the standing-room-only turnout a testament to the strength of the department.
“It reflects upon the unity that we really do have in the Westfield Police Department,” he said.
The officers who were promoted within the department were Sgt. Marcin Kapka, Lt. Jason McErlean, Lt. Leonard Lugo and Capt. John Ricerca.
Kapka had served as a patrol officer until November of 2014. He is also a member of the emergency service unit.
McErlean was promoted from seargent in this month. McErlean works as a field training officer and has served as a police academy instructor.
Lugo, who had served as sergeant since 2008, has been assigned to the detective bureau. He is a member of the department’s emergency response team and a hostage negotiator with the county’s SWAT team, Wayman said. He was appointed lieutenant in November.
Ricerca, who joined the Westfield police department in 1992, has been promoted to captain of the operations division. He is one of the founders and developers of the department’s field training program and had previously served as lieutenant of the detective bureau.
The newly hired officers welcomed Tuesday were Officer Eric Carrero, Officer Ryan Weiss, Officer Kristopher Jackus, Officer Robert Desiato and Officer Aaron Dougherty.
Councilwoman and Acting Mayor Jo Ann Neylan swore in the officers in lieu of Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who was detained on a business trip.
Neylan praised the department’s officers for their loyalty and dedication in the face of responsibilities that continue around the clock, on weekends and holidays and in difficult weather.
“No matter the emergency, a police officer is usually the first to arrive on the scene,” Neylan said. “The job of our police force is never static.”
Many of the officers were surrounded by children, spouses and parents as they were sworn in by Neylan. Wayman gave the officers’ families credit for their support, as well.
“You also made a sacrifice in order for these officers to stand on this dais tonight,” he said before calling for a round of applause.