SUMMIT, NJ — “I have this one saying on my office desk,” Summit Police Chief Robert Weck told LocalSource in a March 13 phone interview. “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Weck has lived by this mantra for the 31 years that he has worked in law enforcement. On Feb. 26, the highly respected chief of police announced his retirement this coming June.
“You know when you’re ready for the next chapter,” said Weck. “I had a great career and met great people.”
Weck had been interested in law enforcement even as a child.
“My mom always says I talked about it a lot when I was younger,” Weck said. “I’ve always had a thing for helping people.”
Weck was named police chief in October 2011 by former Mayor Jordan Glatt. Before becoming police chief, Weck served as a commander in the traffic, detective and patrol bureaus.
“Chief Weck has made a profound and lasting impact on our city, and I sincerely thank him for his dedicated service,” said Summit Mayor Nora Radest in a press release. “The police department is better for his leadership, and I have every confidence that his preparation has it set for much future success.”
Weck is credited with facilitating initiatives to increase the number of youth programs and community partnerships, promote safety, and keep crime rates in Summit low. He established a Community Policing Unit and reinstated a Traffic Safety Unit that includes motorcycle patrols.
During his tenure as police chief, he received the TransOptions Government Official of the Year award, Boy Scouts of America Good Scout award, Summit Keeper of the Dream award and Summit Star of Excellence award.
In 2017, the Summit Police Department won the Attorney General’s Outstanding Community Policing award.
Weck credited his success to the exceptional work of the men and women of the Summit Police Department, whom he referred to as “the backbone” of his career.
“It makes my job so much easier being the chief of such dedicated men and women,” he said. “My success has nothing to do with me. It’s all the police and personnel, both sworn and civilian, that has everything to do with it. It’s all the men and women that are doing the heavy lifting. They’re the boots on the ground.”
Weck has weathered many hardships over the years, but one especially difficult challenge involved the loss of a police officer.
Matthew Tarentino, a five-year veteran of the department, died in the morning hours of May 30, 2017, in an automobile accident on his way to work.
The crash, which occurred on Interstate 78, also claimed the life of another motorist.
Tarentino was pronounced dead on the scene. He was 29 years old.
Tarentino had a wife and two children, with a third due to arrive later that summer.
“That changed everything,” Weck said. “When that happened, that just showed how strong we are as one. His death made us come together and we were even stronger, if that was even possible.”
Weck said he’s honored to have worked with residents, elected officials and members of the Summit Police Department, which he said is “second to none.” But every era must eventually come to an end.
“Knowing when to move on is common knowledge in law enforcement,” Weck explained. “When you know it’s time, it’s time. Change is always good. The succession plan is strong. I easily could’ve stayed until I’m 65 years old, but I’ve been talking about this for the past six months. It’s definitely time for the next chapter of my life.”
Weck said he’s ready to find out what’s next. Besides playing golf, he’s considering working in the corporate world or some other type of law enforcement.
“There’s no way I could sit still,” said Weck. “I definitely want to work with the public. I like interacting with people.”
Weck’s successor will be announced in early April.