Springfield Police commissioner wants City Council president to apologize for ‘out of line comments’

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood is looking for an apology from City Council President Justin Hurst, who according to Clapprood, made some “out of line comments” during a meeting on facial recognition technology Wednesday night.

According to a news release sent to 22News, Commissioner Clapprood expressed her feelings in open meetings and privately with Hurst last week on why she thinks it makes no sense to place a moratorium on any technology or investigative tool that could potentially help the Springfield Police Department.

She goes on to say that the police department does not currently use or are actively looking to acquire facial recognition software. In Wednesday night’s meeting, the city council decided that a moratorium is better than a complete ban, so the technology could be used down the line.

City Councilor Orlando Ramos said once the technology develops they want the police department to have it as an available tool but because it’s not ready they believe a moratorium is best until the technology develops.

Clapprood asked that two detectives speak at the meeting on behalf of the police department so the council could hear from different perspectives. Clapprood said, “toward the end of the discussion it seems to people who attended the meeting, that Councilor Hurst indicated that he could no longer trust the Springfield Police Department.”

Because of that comment that Clapprood was informed about, she is seeking an apology from Councilor Hurst for “his comments directed at myself and the Springfield Police Department.”

Below is Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood full statement on the matter:

“Wednesday night at a City Council meeting on Facial Recognition technology Council President Justin Hurst made some comments that were out of line. I’ve expressed my feelings ad nauseam in open meetings and privately with Councilor Hurst just last week on why it makes no sense to place a moratorium on any technology or investigative tool that could potentially help the Springfield Police Department. We do not currently use or are actively looking to acquire facial recognition software.  I foresee as this technology evolves, Officers being able to use it for anything from locating missing persons to help identify or weed out potential suspects in violent crimes.  There are also extreme cases where I could see us wanting to use it in a life or death situation at a moment’s notice. Wednesday I asked two Detectives to speak on behalf of the Police Department so the Council could hear from some different perspectives. They were extremely professional and answered all of the Councilor’s questions. Towards the end of the discussion, it seems to people who attended the meeting that Councilor Hurst indicated that he could no longer trust the Springfield Police Department. I was informed about these disrespectful comments from several people who were there. I am asking Councilor Hurst to publically apologize for his comments directed at myself and the Springfield Police Department.”

Springfield Police Commissioner, Cheryl Clapprood

Related: Springfield City Council finalizes facial recognition ordinance

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