Rush says goodbye, thank you to Westfield


Commentary by Joel Rush

Westfield Police Chief

For the past 14 years, I’ve had the honor of serving the City of Westfield as chief of police. Like all journeys, mine has come to an end (March 1). As I reflect on what was the best job of my life, there are so many people I need to thank. But I must acknowledge that I call it a job, but it never seemed like one. It just became who I was, my identity. I was so proud to represent the City of Westfield and to be part of an amazing team of people who proudly serve the city I call home.

First, I have to thank (former) Mayor Andy Cook for seeing something in me that, for whatever reason, put me in charge of an organization that has grown into one of the finest police agencies in the country. Together, we took a team of 38 officers and grew it into a nationally accredited, full-service police department of 72 officers. My philosophy on leadership is simple: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and get out of their way; build strong relationships with those you serve; treat all people with compassion; and hire people who have excellent character and teach them how to become great police officers and give them what they need to do their job. I have made lifelong friendships with many I have walked this journey with. Thank you to the entire team of officers who I had the pleasure of serving with. I will miss you all.

Because the cornerstone of our efforts has always been the people we served. We worked hard at establishing robust outreach programs. Jake Laird Community Day, coffee with a cop and the Citizen’s Academy, to name a few, have led to so many friendships. Thank you to everyone who has given their time back to myself and our department whether it was on field at Colt’s camp, July 4 or just chatting over a cup of coffee. These relationships that were built with the public assisted us in solving community issues, fighting crime and helped make us one of the safest cities in America time and time again.

I would also like to thank all the city officials and employees I’ve been blessed to work with over the years. Lastly, but most importantly, I want to thank my family. I uprooted them 14 years, five months ago from their home to take this position and we never looked back. And, in a profession that needless to say has been under scrutiny for the past several years, they have been my rock.

Westfield is my home. I’m proud to have served it and I wish nothing but success to the next Chief. Please take care of the team. Stay safe.