Springfield city leaders including Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner John Barbieri met with the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Division Friday to discuss the opening of a federal investigation into the police department’s former narcotics unit

According to Sarno’s office, the civil investigation was prompted by public reports and will look into whether the former unit engaged in a pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Constitution.

“We seek to work with the DOJ, with input from community stakeholders, to effectively remedy any unlawful practices that may be found,” Sarno said. It is my hope that the City will be able to institutionalize and adopt any reforms the experts can offer us as we move the City forward.”

Information for the investigation will be gathered from community members, police, local officials, and other criminal justice state holders. Investigators will also observe officer activities and review specific documents and incidents.

“The reform processes that have been initiated since I became Commissioner will be supported by this investigation by enabling our Police Department to identify and remedy any problems,” Barbieri said. “It can also help police officers, both by ensuring that they have the policies and training they need to police safely and by helping to foster the community confidence they rely on in performing their duties.”