Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Westfield Police Capt. Scott Rodger and new officer John Swiderski were sworn in at Tuesday evening's Westfield Town Council meeting.
Westfield Police Chief David Wayman spoke briefly about each man's background and character. He noted that Swiderski, who holds a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and graduated the Corrections Academy of the Somerset County Police Academy, had been previously employed as a Union County corrections officer.
Wayman said Swiderski impressed him during the interview process and he knew then that he would a "perfect fit" for the department.
"I'd like to welcome John into what I consider, personally, the most honorable profession in the world," Wayman said.
Rodger was appointed to the police department as a dispatcher in 1986. He was made a patrolman in 1989, the same year he graduated from the Police Academy, ranking first in his class. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005. Rodger holds a degree in computer science from Union College and had been assigned to the Information Technology Bureau. He was promoted to lieutenant on June 2, 2008.
Wayman said Rodger has "worked tirelessly" to keep the police department moving forward. Wayman added that during his short tenure as chief, the evening was one of the most enjoyable parts of his job because he had the opportunity to recognize one officer as he reached a milestone in his career while at the same time watch another embark on his career in law enforcement.
Standing in for the absent Mayor Andrew Skibitsky was Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan who took the opportunity to recognize Wayman, who recently graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Neylan spoke of the rigorous application process and noted that only one percent of all law enforcement officers are accepted and invited to attend. During his time at the academy, Wayman excelled both academically and physically, Neylan said.
"The town of Westfield is very fortunate to have a graduate of the FBI National Academy serving as its chief of police," she said.
Neylan said the training will assist the chief in meeting the ever-changing challenges law enforcement faces.
"I'd like to say thank you so much to our chief. I feel very safe in your hands and it's a testament to the leadership you've exhibited thus far and I know will show going into the future. So, thank you," she said.