Two longtime Franklin County police officers take final call

  • Deerfield Police Sgt. Harry Ruddock, center foreground, who served the department for 33 years, took his final radio call on June 24. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/10/2020 4:01:08 PM
Modified: 7/10/2020 4:00:57 PM

Officers from two Franklin County police departments recently took their final radio call after decades of service to their respective communities.

Greenfield Police Sgt. Stephen Westerling took his final radio call Thursday. Deerfield Police Sgt. Harry Ruddock took his June 24.

“It’s a tumultuous time right now,” said Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. “I’m happy for (Westerling) and his family, and I hope there’s a little bit of relaxation for him before he enters … whatever he decides to do with his retirement.”

Westerling, who served in the Army before becoming a police officer, began his career in law enforcement in 1993 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Department. In 2000, he joined the Greenfield Police Department and — with the exception of a brief service at the Amherst Police Department — he has served the Greenfield community ever since.

Over the course of his career, Westerling served as a field training officer, student resource officer, court officer and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) liaison.

“He was engaged, especially with the mental health community,” Haigh said. “He did a lot of that interactive work for us over the last several years.”

Haigh said Westerling was the first promotion he made when he returned to the station in 2013 to serve as chief of the department.

“To have this long of a career … means that you’ve done a pretty good job,” he said. “His work with the CIT, with the mental health community and trying to get out in the public, in that aspect, has been awesome for us.”

On Thursday afternoon, after 26 years as a police officer, Westerling officially retired.

“I’ve been fortunate and blessed to work side-by-side with some of the most honorable, dedicated, hardworking people I know, making me proud to call you all my brothers and sisters in blue,” Westerling said during his final radio call.

He added that he couldn’t have done the job without the love and support of his family.

“To my wife, my partner, my foundation, my rock, you have sacrificed so much of yourself to support me in my chosen profession. … I look forward to making up a lot of lost time,” he said.

Sgt. Ruddock

In Deerfield, Ruddock, who has served for the Deerfield Police Department for 33 years, will remain with the department part-time as he enters retirement.

“The length of time I was on, it’s a way to slowly wean me out of the profession,” he said, noting that he has administrative projects, such as grants, he intends to finish, and members of the department he must train for other projects he oversees.

Ruddock’s retirement will also be used, however, to make time for the activities he enjoys most, including mountain biking, fishing and creating fine art watercolor paintings.

As an officer in Deerfield, Ruddock said he most enjoyed being able to interact with residents.

“They certainly had an influence on my transformation from a rookie cop to a police sergeant,” he said.

In turn, Detective Sgt. Adam Sokoloski said Ruddock influenced the way he has taken on his role as supervisor.

“He wasn’t nit-picky … but he expected the best,” Sokoloski said. “He coached people to follow-up, to do the right thing … which really left a good impact on me.”

Ruddock was involved in a number of crime investigations during his time with the Deerfield Police Department, including the murder of a pregnant woman at a Sunoco gas station in 2005.

He was also a member of the Field Training Officer Unit, and for the time it existed in the 1990s, Sokoloski said, he was a member of the bicycle unit. Ruddock also helped create the evidence crime lab in the station, which he used for fingerprint evidence recovery.

Reflecting on 33 years as a full-time officer in Deerfield, Ruddock said police work remains a noble profession.

“It’s a long time ... if you measure it in terms of years,” he said. “(Police work) is where I was really able to get involved and really make a difference in people’s lives throughout the years.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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