Springfield City Council to address mayor’s actions of appointing new police commissioner

Hampden County

Springfield’s mayor announced the retirement of Police Commissioner John Barbieri, effective immediately on Thursday. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno appointed Deputy-chief Cheryl Clapprood acting Police Commissioner, but the City Council passed an ordinance last year, effectively ending the position of police commissioner. 

From Deputy Chief to acting Police Commissioner, Mayor Sarno announced the appointment of Clapprood to head the Springfield Police Department Thursday, after revealing that Commissioner John Barbieri had retired, in what the mayor called a “mutually accepted decision.” 

Back in December, the Springfield City Council overruled Sarno’s veto of an ordinance that would eliminate the police commissioner’s position. 

City Councilor Orlando Ramos said in an email to 22News, he is calling on the mayor to comply with the ordinance and “immediately appoint a police commission.” But Mayor Sarno said under the city’s charter, the ordinance would need his approval for it to go into effect. 

“There’s never a perfect model, this is a model we think that works,” said Mayor Sarno. “It’s nationally being used. I think with any model there is going to be questions that arise. I think if you look at the old police commission, there were questions that arose there.” 

Sarno says the city’s Community Police Hearing Board has been able to effectively hold officers and the department accountable. The mayor added that he will consider a search to find a permanent police commissioner. 

One Springfield resident shared what he’d like to see, should one be appointed. 

“The mayor has a good rapport with a bunch of communities throughout Springfield, and ethnic groups,” Frank Hoheb of Springfield told 22News. “So, I think he should look along those lines, to help build up the urban communities as well.” 

City Council President Justin Hurst said the Council will be issuing their response to the mayor’s moves in a news conference at City Hall Friday morning.

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