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‘A new sheriff in town’

Battiloro officially becomes WPD’s newest chief

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‘A new sheriff in town’

Corinne Flaherty, R2 Features Editor/Business Manager

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On Jan. 3, Acting Chief Christopher Battiloro officially became Westfield’s Chief of Police. Following an in-depth search, Mayor Shelley Brindle appointed Battiloro to the position. After he generously invited me into his office for an interview, I learned that there is much more to Battiloro than just being Westfield’s newest top cop.

Battiloro is a true Westfield Blue Devil. After attending Tamaques Elementary School, EIS and WHS, Battiloro explained, “I really couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else.”

During his time at WHS, Battiloro played football and baseball—both highlights of his high school career. In fact, he even played for Varsity Baseball Coach and WHS Science Teacher Robert Brewster.

One of Battiloro’s favorite memories was a yearly nighttime football game played at Kehler stadium with large portable lights provided by the Booster Association. He remembers the crowds of people who attended—many more than daytime games—and how amazing the experience  was for him, his team and the community.

Battiloro has been with the Westfield Police Department for 23 years, but becoming a police officer wasn’t always his dream. Growing up, he always imagined he would become a fireman. “My father was the fire chief in this town and he worked for the fire department for 34 years,” said Battiloro. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but he refused to hire me and told me, ‘Go be a cop so you’ll get more respect.’”

Even though it wasn’t his first choice, looking back, Battiloro couldn’t imagine his life any other way. “I think becoming a police officer was probably one of the best decisions I ever made, and not just because I’m a chief, but because it’s such a rewarding job,” said Battiloro.

Throughout his career Battiloro has saved lives, cracked cases and made important arrests. One of his standout achievements was when he was able to arrest the individual who made a series of four threatening phone calls reporting a bomb in WHS. This event was just after 9/11, so these threats were particularly disruptive to the community.

Battiloro has high hopes for the future of the police department and the safety of Westfield. In his newest initiative, he is equipping all officers with body cameras, a half-million dollar project.

“I think [this project] is necessary for transparency and for accountability,” said Battiloro. “I think it’s necessary to ensure that our police officers are acting with the utmost professionalism at all times.” This project is very important to Battiloro. He is looking forward to introducing this new technology to the WPD, as it is becoming the norm of standard law enforcement.

Westfield is a safe town and Battiloro is looking to keep that reputation. “We’ve gone 18 years without a homicide in Westfield and that’s not an accident either,” said Battiloro. “I think that’s because our police officers are out there, and they are proactively doing their job. They’re stopping cars and they’re creating a deterrent for people to come here and commit a crime.”

Between the most common crimes in Westfield being property crimes and the recent instances of car thefts and residential burglaries, Battiloro is looking to reassure community members that the WPD is working thoroughly to provide safety for

all Westfield residents.

Battiloro is excited to lead the department and looks forward to keeping Westfield as safe and enjoyable as possible. “It’s a very desirable place for people to want to live and for people to want to work,” he said. “And I want to keep it that way.”

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