WESTFIELD — The township police chief has stepped down in a sudden departure shrouded in secrecy.

Mayor Shelley Brindle made the announcement of Chief David Wayman's retirement as being effective August 1 in a message posted on the town's website. Capt. Chris Battiloro was appointed acting chief.

“As with any personnel change of this magnitude, it’s critical that we complete a thorough search for a Police Chief who will lead by example and instill a culture of trust and accountability. I am committed to a process that is worthy of the outstanding and dedicated members of our Police Department, as well as the residents they serve," Brindle said in her statement.

Wayman has been chief since 2012.

Wayman has been criticized for the department's handing of a crash in January that involved the daughter of a Westfield police captain. NJ.com reported John Ricera's daughter was not immediately issued a ticket when the accident report faulted her for the crash.

Ashley Redding and her family (Karen Wachs via GoFundMe)

The ticket was then moved to Mountainside where the prosecutor dismissed the case.

The woman hit by Ricera's daughter, Ashley Redding, told NJ.com she may take legal action against Westfield over their handling of the case. Redding told the news site she has had to take speech therapy as part of her recovery, lost depth perception in her vision and bruised her hips, stomach, face and shin.

A GoFundMe page created by Redding's Westfield High School classmate Karen Wachs raised almost $10,000 to help with medical bills.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ