SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood held a news conference Thursday afternoon, to discuss changes that have been made to the department following a federal investigation into the department’s Narcotics Bureau.
The years-long investigation by the Department of Justice into the Narcotics Bureau found “a pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling had said the department kept poor records on use-of-force, and failed to discipline officers who committed misconduct.
Mayor Sarno says the city has been making progress in working with the Department of Justice to make changes to the department. “We acknowledge what happened in the past should not have occurred- our goal is that this does not happen again- as we strive to have the best Police Department.”
Former Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland was appointed as special counsel while the city implements changes to policy, training, and accountability systems within the Springfield Police Department, and on Wednesday, Sarno thanked Ireland for his advice and direction.
The news conference also featured remarks from City Solicitor Ed Pikula, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Talia Gee.