At-large city councilor releases statement following a report on Springfield PD Narcotic Bureau

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – At Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman issued a statement in response to the Department of Justice Report on patterns and actions of the Springfield Police Department Narcotics Bureau.

In a news release sent to 22News, Councilor Lederman received a link of the report Thursday morning from a reporter. Lederman pointed out the official report was not sent to the City Council by the City Solicitor, Mayor Sarno, or Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.

“My initial reading of the report left me angry,” Lederman said.

We entrust law enforcement officers with immense authority and charge them with the responsibility to protect and serve. To live up to this mandate the actions of officers must be beyond reproach. Unlawful and excessive actions like those described in the report by any member of the police force has the ripple effect of eroding public confidence and trust, which impacts the entire community.

But what is even more concerning is that the report doesn’t just call into question the actions of some singular individuals, it found that those actions were ‘attributable to systemic deficiencies in policies, accountability systems, and training.’ These systemic failings and deficiencies are an unacceptable disservice to both the public and the members of the Springfield Police Department. 

Furthermore, it found that the existing Community Police Hearing Board ‘fails’ to achieve its goals of increasing transparency and accountability as the result of failure ‘to equip its members with the training and resources needed to adequately perform these tasks.’ The DOJ further states that the CPHB was viewed as ‘politicized and ineffective’ by the public and perceived as lacking resources and training by officers.

Springfield City Councilor At-Large Jesse Lederman

Lederman also mentioned it’s not enough to just say the city is working or implementing the commendation of the report. “The third-largest city in Massachusetts has the responsibility, the resources, and the ingenuity to address this. It should not take the Federal Department of Justice to push our city to do so,” Lederman added.

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