WESTFIELD, NJ — The highest-ranking woman in the Westfield Police Department’s history is anticipated to soon be sworn into her new role as lieutenant.

A 15-year veteran of the Westfield Police, the department hired Nicole Stivale following her graduation from the John H. Stamler Police Academy of Union County.

“I hope that I can create a pathway for other females in the future,” said Stivale, who is now one of two female supervisors in the department.

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Her promotion to lieutenant comes under the leadership of Chief Christopher Battiloro, who was formally made the department’s commanding officer in 2018.

While Stivale noted she is one of just a handful of women in the department, she said that number has been increasing in recent years. The women, Stivale said, have positive working relationships with their fellow officers.

“The guys that we work with, they’re fabulous,” she said. “They treat us as equals. There’s a comradery to it all. We all work well together. We all have different things to bring to the table.”

Before coming to the Westfield Police in 2005, Stivale served for two years as an officer with the Capitol Police in Washington. A graduate of Roselle Park High School, working for the Capitol Police was a logical step toward working for a federal agency.

But she was offered a job back in Union County, closer to her family.

Stivale ranked first in her class of 52 recruits at the police academy in Union County and after initially serving as a patrol officer with the Westfield Police was assigned to the Administrative Services Division, a release from the department said.

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The department made her a plainclothes office in May 2011 and assigned her to the Detective Bureau in January 2014 where she has served since her appointment to sergeant, the release said.

“She is a decorated officer, having been awarded two Command Citations, a Unit Citation and the Hurricane Sandy Service Award during her 15 years of completed service,” Battiloro said in the release.

Stivale holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is also a graduate of both the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, and the United States Capitol Police Training Academy in Cheltenham, Maryland.

“With this appointment, Lieutenant Stivale shall become the first ever female Lieutenant and the highest-ranking female officer in the history of the Westfield Police Department,” Battiloro’s statement said. “She shall be assigned to the Operations (Patrol) Division as a Watch Commander.”

Stivale is anticipated to be sworn into her new role March 10 in the council chambers of the Municipal Building, 225 Main St.

The mother of four children — including three daughters, ages 13, 12 and 8, and 15-month old boy — Stivale commutes from Point Pleasant, located in Ocean County. The drive, she said, gives her some rest in between her duties in Westfield and at home.

“It’s a privilege to work for this department,” Stivale said. “I’m very happy to have a large majority of my career in this department.”

Email Matt Kadosh mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh