Police / Fire

Leaders say farewell to Hollister’s top cop

City and county officials roast retiring police chief David Westrick over coffee.

David Westrick invited the community to join him for coffee with a cop on Dec. 30 as he sets course on the new adventure of retirement.

At the retirement party, Westrick told BenitoLink even though he felt he had accomplished much as Hollister’s police chief, there was at least one piece of unfinished business.

“I wanted to finish our digital radio project to make it safer for our officers out there,” he said, adding that he would also miss the everyday relationships with police officers, schools and nonprofits. “I’m going to do all the volunteering I did before, but I also like to work in my shop. Our daughter is graduating this year, and then my wife and I are going to do a lot of traveling.”

The biggest piece of business, though, is his replacement; he’s not shy about endorsing Capt. Carlos Reynoso, who he’s worked with for the past 16 years.

“He’s from Hollister and has worked at Hollister PD his entire career,” Westrick said. “He’s absolutely capable of doing this job. We’ve done this chief thing almost together and he’s been a great partner. There just isn’t a better person for the job.”

Reynoso, who is currently acting chief, said he wants the job permanently, but thinks the City Council wants a permanent city manager in place before considering anyone for police chief.

A main focus of the evening at City Hall was a good-natured roast at Westrick’s expense, particularly about his penchant for social media. Those who stepped up to rib Westrick included State Assemblyman Robert Rivas, San Benito County Sheriff Darren Thompson, Superior Court Judge Steven Sanders, former police chief Jeff Miller, former city manager Bill Avera, Councilmembers Honor Spencer and Carol Lenoir, Supervisor Jim Gillio, and Westrick’s daughter Hailee.

“He talks about getting busted at home for putting stuff on social media and I’ve kind of been the background character in his career,” Hailee said. “I get to see him at home and in the community. He doesn’t let his work impede with his family time. I just want to thank you for not being two-faced. You think of a lot of politicians who can put on a great face in the community, but it’s who you are when you go home at the end of the day that counts.”

Thompson congratulated Westrick for “crossing the finish line.” He said with changing laws and the local community, a police chief has to be adaptive.

“Back in 1990 when he started there weren’t even computers, and you can imagine how devastating that was to him,” he said, joking about Westrick’s use of social media. “Trust me, he was able to operate with pen and paper. He probably couldn’t now.”

When asked why he wanted to work as a police officer, Westrick recalled what he used to say when applying for law enforcement jobs.

“I want to drive fast, arrest bad guys and put them in jail,” he said. “But police work isn’t about that. It’s about solving problems. Hopefully, I’ve solved some problems. It’s about solving problems, taking care of each other, and making sure you go home every single night.”

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.