Springfield Mayor files appeal on court ruling to appoint civilian police commission

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield has been asked to form a civilian police commission and replace the commissioner.

Mayor Sarno has been fighting with the city council for a long time about this, and he says an appeal has been filed Tuesday.

Last week, a Hampden Superior Court Judge had ordered Mayor Domenic Sarno to appoint a civilian police commission. The start of a police board would mean the elimination of a single police commissioner role and instead, the Springfield Police Department would have a police chief with a board that would have five civilian commissioners on it.

If implemented, those civilian Springfield residents, who are appointed by the Mayor, have the authority to hire, fire, and discipline Springfield police officers. The police chief would oversee the day to day operations of the department instead of a sole commissioner having all the authority like there currently is.

“Putting a group of unpaid volunteers is difficult. We have civilian oversight and that could be strengthened over subpoena power and I think Commissioner Clapprood has been doing a great job, it’s a tough job,” said Mayor Sarno.

This ruling comes after the Springfield City Council voted in favor of adopting a police commission twice, which Mayor Sarno vetoed in 2016 and 2018, but the council overrode both times. The last time Springfield had a five member commission was in 2005.

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