Springfield City Councilors requesting outside party to audit entire police department

Hampden County

Some members of the Springfield City Council are pushing to have an outside party perform a full audit of the police department.  

After two videos surfaced involving police officers in a physical altercation with citizens, one of them a high school student, one city councilor said the number of incidents like these has reached a boiling point. 

Two recent surveillance videos have prompted investigations into Springfield Police conduct. 

One took place in the police department’s lobby, and another captured a physical altercation between an officer and a Commerce High School student. 

That’s in addition to other cases of alleged misconduct by officers both on and off duty.  

Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood has since announced stricter policies for handling issues in the lobby and arranged for the Community Police Hearing Board to review the incident at Commerce High School.    

The city solicitor said an outside party is conducting an audit of the internal investigation unit.  But now, there’s a call for an audit of the entire department.  

“The answer is to look at the entire department from the top down and figure out a way we can improve,” said City Councilor Orlando Ramos. “Whether it’s training, whether it’s the academy itself, whether it’s the process and procedures within the department.” 

The Hampden County DA issued a statement saying the altercations in the police lobby and at Commerce “makes it clear that the current system of assessment and referral is flawed” and that a more consistent and transparent process for reviewing these types of allegations is needed.  

The DA’s Office has opened investigations into these most recent allegations. 

An officer has been accused of making claims in the Commerce incident report that do not match up with the video. Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh said Wednesday that CPHB will hold a hearing on the officer’s use of force and truthfulness.  

“I think they try the best they can, but they need a lot of help, like with their training system and everything, and I think an outside source could help,” said Marcus Elmore, a Springfield resident.

The city expects the results of the audit of the internal investigation unit in the next few weeks.  

The hearing into the Commerce incident has not yet been scheduled. 

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