SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A virtual community meeting was held Thursday night by the Pioneer Valley Project to discuss the consent decree for the Springfield Police Department.

As the highest level of accountability a local police department can face, a consent decree enforces departmental reforms over many years, monitored by a federal judge. The union representing about 400 Springfield police officers had voted to ratify a labor contract that incorporates changes laid out in the consent decree the city entered into with the Department of Justice in April of 2022. It follows the department’s use of force policies and violations of residents’ Fourth Amendment rights after a report criticized how they conduct arrests. In anticipation of several cases settling, the city council allocated $5 million last year to pay out settlements to victims of police misconduct.

“There are some immediate concerns that we have begun to address. But to understand the resources the police board will need, we need to get the facts on how that board will operate, so we can then ask for those resources needed to accomplish what’s in that manual,” said Chief Rodney Monroe, Expert in Community Engagement and Reform.

Five policies were reviewed last year, while 3 are still yet to be reviewed such as body-worn cameras, field training, and internal investigations. The city’s Board of Police Commissioners did not attend this meeting.