Sergeant, Westfield Police Department
Being a police officer in your hometown has a lot of challenges, said Eric Hall. “It can be easy for police officers to get cynical,” he explained, “because 90% of the time you’re dealing with 10% of the population.”
Five years into his job with the Westfield Police Department, Hall was a member of the Community Police Unit (CPU), which has a mission “to get out into the neighborhoods, have them set the agenda for which direction the police need to go — and do the will of the people.”
During that time, he successfully organized small, local crime-prevention units, established a Neighborhood Day event, worked closely with the Westfield Youth Detention Center to assist in job placement, and frequently could be found having lunch with students at the elementary school in his neighborhood — all with the intent to give back to the city which held such prized childhood memories for him. “Being in the CPU reminded me that there were people who wanted to make a difference, to make their town a nicer place to live, and that struck a chord.”
Hall calls himself “a Y man through and through,” and, indeed, most of his fondest memories as a boy were at the YMCA of Greater Westfield. “I had a great family structure growing up, but I still spent a lot of time at the Y when I was younger. And if I can help further an organization that will give other kids the same opportunity, I should be doing that.”
Currently, he’s the chairman of the board at his hometown Y, and for his efforts there, Hall has been awarded the organization’s Character Award. For his community outreach, he has been honored by American Legion Post 454 with its Outstanding Dedication to the Public Award.
For Hall, it all comes back to childhood, though. He remembers the Westfield where he grew up, and with his wife, Dena (herself a 40 Under Forty award winner in 2007), and their two small children, he wants the city to be the same place for them.
— Dan Chase