By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – Chief John Stankiewicz has notified the town of his intention to retire from the Longmeadow Police Department.
Town Manager Lyn Simmons informed the Select Board at its Jan. 6 meeting that she had received a letter notifying her of Stankiewicz’s intent to retire earlier that day. The retirement would be effective within 90 days.
“In my very short time in Longmeadow, he’s been a wealth of knowledge and helped immensely to make my transition smooth,” Simmons said. “I want to wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his 37 years of service to the town and its citizens.”
Simmons added that she would be laying out a recruitment process to fill the position and would further inform the board of that in the near future.
Stankiewicz became the chief of police in 2015 when the Select Board composed of Richard Foster, Marie Angelides, Thomas Lacchiusa, Alex Grant and Mark Gold unanimously voted in favor of elevating him from the rank of captain to succeed longtime Chief Robert Siano. Stankiewicz was former Town Manager Stephen Crane’s recommendation for the position.
Among the goals he achieved was the implementation of a K-9 unit, establishment of a traffic safety supervisor position and increased communication with the community through social media. He was also a contributor throughout the process of establishing the WestComm regional dispatch operation in Chicopee alongside Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director John Dearborn.
In his letter to Simmons, Stankiewicz wrote,” It is no secret that I feel policing is a noble and honorable profession and it is a privilege to have worked closely with like-minded individuals. I am passionate about policing and it has provided me with incredible rewards and opportunities.
“When I reflect on my career, many moments come to mind. Images of events that will forever be representative of the significance, tragedy and occasional humor of our work while policing Longmeadow. Among the most rewarding experiences were those opportunities to develop and implement innovative programs, initiatives, and strategies to move the department and town forward; provide some measure of commit to victims and family members affected by tragedy, crime, and violence; and engage so many members of our vibrant community in our efforts to make Longmeadow the safest, healthiest, and most livable community in Hampden County. I am proud to have been able to provide officers with continual professional development opportunities while allowing them the latitude to make critical decisions which has, in my experience, resulted in greater self-sufficiency, confidence and overall job satisfaction. This has resulted in a highly professional police force that is responsive to the needs of the community.
“No progressive police department can provide the safety, security, and problem-solving capacity that communities need without engaging stakeholders. The Longmeadow Police Department has been fortunate to have support from so many partners; from community members, local businesses, educational institutions, faith based organizations, elected officials, town managers, social service agencies, state and federal law enforcement, town departments and their committed department heads.
“Most significantly, those men and women who I have worked with and who do the increasingly challenging work of policing, their devotion to duty and their selfless acts that are so often misunderstood and underappreciated and the family and friends who support them each day, will always have my unwavering support, gratitude, and respect. It has been a privilege and I am honored to have been fortunate enough to serve with them.
“I am confident that the officers and staff at the Longmeadow Police Department are well-positioned to continue the department’ s important work for the community while I am delighted to present to the community a strong pool of exceptional internal candidates who m·e more than qualified to be my successor. I look forward to working with you, the community, and the department during this exciting transition.
“Finally, I would like to thank the town manager and the honorable board for giving me the opportunity to lead one of the most progressive and respected police departments in the state of Massachusetts.”