There was something suspicious about the car with tinted windows idling after hours in front of a downtown business. So, Westfield Police Officer John Blascak ’95 stopped the driver as he pulled out of the lot that night in September 2016. The driver sped away, and as Blascak chased him into West Springfield, the suspect reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Blascak called the chase off because it was dangerous for others on the road. The suspect, who has a lengthy criminal record, crashed into a telephone pole and was later charged with various motor vehicle violations as well as breaking and entering. Officers recovered items stolen in a house breakin that had occurred minutes before Blascak stopped the vehicle. “I was just stopping him for the tinted windows,” Blascak says. “It was supposed to be simple. You never know who you’re stopping.”
Being able to return the belongings to the rightful owner—that night, and again and again in cases that play out daily in the city—is what keeps Blascak on the job. “It’s about doing it for the people who’ve been victimized,” Blascak says. “I like to keep the streets safe.”
Lt. Eric Hall ’96, Officer Bradley White ’08, and Senior Captain Michael McCabe ’84, ’94 feel the same commitment to the community, and they each have more stories than they’d like to make the point that their work is about protection.
The four officers are among a group of roughly 25 Westfield police officers who were all criminal justice majors at Westfield State; they came for its reputation and affordability, and now work to uphold the law. They remain grateful for a solid education.