Police chief retirement planned, next steps for city

WESTFIELD—The city is starting its efforts now to replace Police Chief John Camerota, with his retirement expected in June next year.

Camerota is expected to retire from the top position in the police department by June 21, 2019, which was explained during a Police Commission meeting earlier this week. The city now has the next 16 or so months to determine how to replace Camerota and with whom he would be replaced.

According to Westfield Personnel Director Jane Sakiewitz, how the city replaces the police chief is yet to be determined. However, there are a couple of steps that are clear in the process.

Westfield Police Chief John Camerota

First, the Police Commission is the appointing authority.

“It is not a civil service position, so the Police Commission is the hiring authority,” she said.

So, Sakiewitz said that it will be the commission’s decision on how the candidates would be assessed and how one would be chosen to succeed Camerota. Sakiewitz said that this could include interviews, as well as other assessments, such as an examination.

The city would also be expected to post and advertise the open position, as part of the standard protocol followed for other vacant city positions.

However, Sakiewitz said that the city could seek an extension for the current chief past the June deadline, which is Camerota’s 65th birthday.

Municipal police officers are required to retire at age 65, according to Camerota.

Camerota however, expects to retire then.

Regarding Camerota’s experience, he has served for 20 years as the Westfield Police Chief, and served for the department for 41 total years so far.

His career started in 1976 when he was a civilian dispatcher. He then became a reserve officer in 1978, then full-time in 1980.

After moving up the police ranks, Camerota became chief in 1998, following the retirement of Ben Surprise.

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