West Caldwell Police Cpl. Bill Styskal Retired Thursday, and is Honored by a Final "Walk-Out" from his Fellow Officers, Friends and Family
WEST CALDWELL, NJ - Thursday evening, at 7pm, West Caldwell Police Corporal William Styskal completed his final day as a police officer as he retired from a career which began twenty-five years ago. As he stepped out the side entrance of the station, there to wish him well were his fellow law enforcement officers along with some of his closest friends and family. The ritual, called a "walkout," is often performed in honor of a police officer retiring after many years of dedication and service.
Verona Police Captain Peter Wojtal played a solo piece on the bagpipes as Styskal walked out the employees-only door into the parking lot and through a sea of well-wishers. Styskal went from person to person saying his goodbyes and as he did each of them wished him well. When he had greeted everyone, Styskal was then honored by some words from Chief of Police Michael J. Bramhall who expressed his appreciation for Styskal's service and dedication, as well as for his infectious laughter and positive spirit.
"I have had the pleasure of knowing Corporal Styskal for 25 years,
Styskal was born in Oyster Bay, NY; his great-grandfather William Loeffler, Sr. and great-great-grandfather William Loeffler, Jr. were both New York Police Department patrolmen of the now defunct 143rd and 89th Police Precincts. Styskal was raised on heroic stories of both men and he always reflected on their service with respect and admiration as he spent his early years growing up in Montclair.
Days after graduating from high school, Styskal was hired as a Special Officer, having full police responsibilities, with the Montclair Police Department, on June 1, 1982.
In 1990, the Essex Fells Police Department took Styskal on first as a Dispatcher and the following year, as an Officer and EMT. By 1996 he was made an Investigator and in 2000, Styskal became the department's first ever promoted Detective.
"While I was with Essex Fells, I delivered two babies," Styskal explained.
In June, 2005, Styskal went on to work with, and then finally served the remainder of his career with, the West Caldwell Police where he began on patrol. In two years, he completed his Emergency Medical Technician certification and was assigned to the department's Emergency Service Unit. Styskal was ultimately promoted to the rank of Corporal in October, 2011.
Styskal served on the West Essex Policeman's Benevolent Association Local 81 executive board for 12 years, including one time as President, and he chaired many of the committee's including the scholarship and golf committee.
"My passion is on the streets," said Styskal.
After the 9/11 attacks, Styskal was assigned to Essex County's Elite Unit and he continued to be part of the Essex County Rapid Deployment Team until his retirement. He also served with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Newark Office on the Fugitive Task Force which is responsible for apprehending some of the country's most dangerous fugitives. In 2006, Styskal also worked undercover with the Essex County Bureau of Narcotics and while there, he took into custody numerous criminals, seized several weapons and located thousands of dollars of drug money.
"It's every officers goal to get to where I am today
Throughout his career, Styskal continued his education with numerous police-related courses and along the way he also earned awards commendations including:
"Police work for me has never been a job, it has always been my passion.
Bill and Susan Styskal with their children Billy (pink), Christian (grey), Emily and Joey (red)
All of Bill's family were present at the walkout: His wife, Sue, who is a retired Lieutenant and was the first female officer, from the Roseland Police Department, and their children Billy, 15, Christian, 13, Emily, 10, and Joey, 9. West Caldwell had only put together only one other walkout so Styskal had no idea that it was going to happen.
"I was totally taken by surprise!," he commented.
Styskal is well known and cherished by many in West Essex for his generous and uplifting spirit and his continuous effort to put the community first.
Bill is loved and respected for who he is:
Always a familiar face at local gatherings, Styskal has often been on hand as well during emergencies and challenging events. Hurricane Sandy brought out all of the first responders around West Essex, and Styskal was no exception; for weeks he worked around the clock clearing trees and debris from home and roadways, while putting his own property last on the list. While West Caldwell became his central focus, there's not a portion of West Essex which didn't benefit from Styskal's service, time, and talents.
"Words cannot express how happy and proud I am for Billy;
Styskal expressed that he's always felt a duty to attend, when possible, the memorials for law enforcement officers who have died on duty so that he could pay his final respects. The first he attended was for Patrolman Daniel J. Smith of the Essex County Police Department, who died Sept. 17, 1984. Smith had been shot in the head
and killed as he approached a stolen car in East Orange.
"My first funeral was for Danny Smith," Styskal explained.
North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer has spent countless hours working with Styskal for various incidents all over West Essex.
"It has been an honor to work next to Officer Styskal for so many years.
Officer Matthew DeAngelo of the Caldwell Police department recounted the happy times he and Styskal had spent together.
"Bill and I always had a lot of good times together
Styskal had a very good working relationship with the West Caldwell governing body. Councilman Stephen Wolsky called him the "ultimate professional."
"Bill Styskal was a fine addition to the West Caldwell Police," Wolsky expressed.
Gerard Giannetti, of Roseland, concurred:
The last funeral Styskal will have attended in uniform was for Detective Liu of the NYPD's 84th precinct, who was killed while on duty in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. Styskal and his co-workers had earlier participated in a fundraiser selling t-shirts as a benefit for Liu's family members.
"I made it a point to make sure that our new officers were at Detective Liu's funeral to experience what I experienced at my first funeral," said Styskal.
As much as he relished all the time being in uniform, Styskal has always enjoyed being with his family as much as possible. They often take trips up to New England together and when he's home, Styskal is usually involved with a time-consuming scouting project as a Scoutmaster for Caldwell's Troop 3.
"I love this job and I'm going to miss it," Styskal commented,
Thirty minutes before leaving the West Caldwell Police Station, Styskal expressed that he was overwhelmed with the support of good wishes he had received from the community, and at peace with his decision to retire.
"I feel blessed that I had the privlege of serving the citizens of West Caldwell.