WESTFIED- The Police Commission met Monday evening to recognize four recently retired members of the Westfield Police Department for their service.
Officer Michael Ruffo, Officer Paul Pellan, Lt. Michael Ugolik, and former Chief John Camerota were recognized for their years of service on the Westfield Police force by Chief Lawrence Valliere and members of the Police Commission.
Valliere said that there had been discussion around the department about recognizing officers who had dedicated much of their lives to policing in Westfield.
“I want to congratulate all four of you on your retirement. All of you were deeply engaged with the department and the community. I worked with three of you for your entire careers. I worked with the Chief [Camerota] for all but five years of his career,” said Valliere.
He continued on to say that each of the four brought different talents to the department, but that they all shared a similar trait to each other: They cared very much about their professions.
“We have all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sacrificed [sic] many precious moments with our families and friends that we will never get back.” Said Valliere, “We need to remember those who held the line in this city. Robert Kennedy once said: ‘Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves.’ What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
Between the four retired officers, they have a combined 137 years of experience in policing. Ruffo was in the service for 27 years. Pellan served for 32 years. Lt. Ugolik served with the Westfield Police for 34 years. Former Chief John Camerota served a total of 42 years, including his 21-year stint as chief, the longest serving police chief in Westfield’s history.
Capt. Michael McCabe also delivered remarks in recognition of his four former colleagues as well. McCabe has been with the Westfield Police Department himself for 34 years.
Capt. Jerome Pitoniak spoke of both learning under all four of the officers and how they helped him raise through the ranks to eventually become captain, which he was promoted to earlier this year.
Police Commissioner Leonard Osowski read a statement on behalf of his fellow commissioners.
“We would like to congratulate you as a commission for all you’ve done. It goes without saying that your service and what you’ve done for the department is really, really great. May the next chapter of your life be as fulfilling s it is now, and I wish you guys a happy retirement,” said Osowski.
Following everyone’s remarks, Valliere handed out honorary plaques to each of the four men.
The Commission then voted to appoint Officer Ruffo as a Special Police Officer, effective Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Peter Currier can be reached at [email protected]