SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield City Councilor is raising concerns after a former Springfield Police Officer was hired by the city’s fire department.

Luke Cournoyer was part of the city’s now disbanded narcotics bureau and Councilor Justin Hurst is worried about Cournoyer’s ties to the Bigda case.

Suspended Springfield Police Officer Greg Bigda was found not guilty last year on excessive force and civil rights violations. It was after he was accused of threatening and assaulting two teens in 2016 who stole an unmarked police cruiser. Cournoyer testified in that case, but was never charged.

Springfield Police told 22News he resigned from the department in August to take his civil service exam to become a firefighter. However, Councilor Justin Hurst said Cournoyer should not be allowed to be employed by the city.

“Someone who certainly can’t be trusted in the context of being employed in the city of Springfield would land himself on the fire department is troublesome,” said Hurst.

In response to Councilor Hurst’s concerns, Springfield City Solicitor John Payne sent 22News the following statement:

“In response to an email from Councilor Hurst, which unfortunately contains misinformation about Mr. Luke Cournoyer, it is important to note that Mr. Cournoyer had every legal right to take the state Civil Service exam and seek a position with the Springfield Fire Department. When the list came out, Mr. Cournoyer was within the top tier on the Civil Service list. He was a Navy Corpsman embedded with the United States Marine Corps while serving combat tours of duty in Afghanistan.  It is important to note that nothing precluded Mr. Cournoyer from serving as a Springfield Police Officer, as the State Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission had certified his status. Additionally, Mr. Cournoyer, a Springfield resident, was hired with the Springfield Fire Department pursuant to the affirmative action consent decree which the city of Springfield was under for a number of years. 

Additionally, Mr. Cournoyer is entitled to the same hiring opportunities afforded to every other qualified citizen and based on his Civil Service exam standing, failure to appoint him would have led to an appeal and which in my opinion would have led to a reversal. Councilor Hurst unfortunately continues to share misinformation about the situation. Mr. Cournoyer, served his country bravely and honorably as a member of the US Marine Corp. He cooperated fully with the US Attorney’s investigation and was never indicted or charged with any crimes.”    

John Payne, City Solicitor

22News asked Mayor Sarno for his comment on Cournoyer’s hiring, he referred us to Payne’s statement.