Body cameras, residency part of Springfield police contract agreement

Hampden County

The Springfield police and Mayor Domenic Sarno have agreed on a new contract that comes with some major changes for both police and the city.

Body cameras and Narcan will soon be standard issue for police officers in the City of Springfield.

Mayor Sarno and Police Commissioner John Barbieri announced the stipulations of Springfield Police Department’s new four-year contract with the city. The contract has evolved to address some of the issues impacting communities and police officers.

“Body-worn cameras to provide transparency,”  said Commissioner Barbieri. “Peer to Peer counseling for our officers, who have never seen a more stressful time to be an officer.”

Mayor Sarno said with the addition of body cameras, Springfield will become the state’s largest city to have the camera policy throughout the entire department.

“The body cameras, I think will send a strong message not only to the residents and visitors of this community to maintain a safe city but to the men and women in blue to make sure they are safe moving forward,” said Mayor Sarno.

However, one Springfield resident fears cameras could cause complications.

“There’s always the element of subjectivity in all of these things, so you could show the same video to 100 different people, and you’re going to have 100 different opinions as to what the video shows,” said Teresita Alicea of Springfield.

As Springfield continues to struggle with the opioid epidemic, police officers will join firefighters and other first responders in carrying the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

“It’s crazy what you see out there,” Mike Small of Springfield told 22News. “The epidemic is getting bad. They actually come before the ambulance, they’re there before the ambulance comes. So if they have the Narcan, they can hit the person, hopefully.”

Also, a residency program will require anyone employed by the Springfield Police Department on and after July 1, 2018, to be residents of the city.

Mayor Sarno said overall crime in Springfield has decreased by 45 percent in the last five years. 

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