Westfield Police Department may soon get a drone

The police department will work to figure out what sort of uses the drone may have for other city departments

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) — The Westfield Police Commission met Monday for their monthly meeting and discussed many items. Among the topics were auxiliary officers, moving on after Capt. Hipolito Nunez’s retirement and technology—including drones.

“An anonymous family who has donated over $100,000 to us is donating $15,000 for drones,” Westfield Police Chief John Camerota, said. “It will allow us to send people to training and get it up and running.”

Camerota said during the meeting that the department will be looking for law enforcement applications for the drone, but would also look to utilize it in different capacities. Camerota said that the department will be working with other city departments to figure out what sort of uses the drone may have for them.

In addition to the $15,000, the department also received $32,700 from their budgeted moneys for the COPSync 911 program. COPSync touts itself as the “nation’s only law enforcement real-time, information sharing network,” and Camerota said that it would allow the department to have improved contact and connection with every city employee in the case of an emergency, including teachers and city officials.

Camerota said that the program would be excellent in the cases of critical incidents because it would allow whoever is involved to send a message to the appropriate authorities in real time at the “push of a button.”

Regarding Nunez’s retirement, Camerota said that the department has had several members—the number reported at an earlier date was five—take the state promotional examinations for the position, and those results should be in by the end of the month. He also said that he is hopeful to have the position filled and the resulting changes completed by March, but said that “may not happen.”

In other related personnel news, the department is also urging all auxiliary and part-time officers to get in appropriate shape to pass the state’s physical activities test (PAT).

“The PAT is coming up and if they’re not physically fit they can’t move forward,” Camerota said regarding auxiliary candidates. “We had two officers deemed not physically fit.”

Also, in an attempt to help fill 12 vacant spots on the auxiliary force, the department heard and OKed the appointment of three candidates—Nathan J. Schreffler of Holyoke, Jefferson T. Willis of Westfield and Nicholas J. Noto of Agawam. The candidates will now have to pass through interviews and additional training before being appointed to the force.

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