SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Springfield’s Forest Park will have increased public safety starting Monday, April 22.
The anticipated start and end dates for the park patrols are Monday, April 22 to Tuesday, October 1. During that time, two Deputy Sheriffs will patrol Forest Park in Hampden County Sherriff’s Department marked cruisers.
In a news release sent to 22News, Mayor Domenic J Sarno, Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi and Executive Director of Parks, Recreation and Building Management partnered up to increase the safety to the visitors of Forest Park.
“People will ask me, is this park safe? And I say well sometimes I see officers going through,” said one local resident.
Springfield Police already make rounds through the park, but starting April 22, four deputy sheriffs will have shifts dedicated to patrolling forest park, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
“People worry you know, especially in the parks you know? But you see an officer, you know what I’m saying, you feel safe,” said the resident.
Mayor Sarno stated, “As we have done with retired Sheriff Mike Ashe and now Sherriff Nick Cocchi, we have expanded our innovative partnership from facilities and grounds maintenance to now dedicated Forest Park Patrols by the Sheriff’s Department under the auspices of Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.”
Covering more than 700 acres, Springfield’s Forest Park has a lot of land to cover. Later this month, deputies from the Hampden County Sherrif’s Department will join the Springfield Police Department in patrolling the park.
Plenty of park goers have never had a problem here, but one visitor said more patrols can mean more peace of mind.
“I’ve never personally had any issues in the park, and I ride in this park a lot,” said Colins Hinds of Springfield. “You know in general, a police presence would give people a sense of safety and security. I’m all in favor of that.”
The shift times for the patrols will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., with two deputy sheriffs per shift. The Deputies will report to Commissioner Clapprood. There is no cost to the City, Springfield Police Department or Hampden County Sherriff’s Department.