SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield provided the public with an update on the continued changes to the police department.
This is in response to the investigation into the police department’s Narcotics Bureau by the Department of Justice. The city announced on Thursday that they went right to work to try and right these wrongs and a city councilor 22News spoke with said he’s happy that there is progress being made, but still wants to see action taken.
It’s been two months since the federal investigation into the Springfield Police Department Narcotics Bureau and the city is committed to overhauling policies.
Mayor Sarno stated, “We acknowledge that past misconduct should not have occurred and it is our goal that it does not happen in the future. Working together with the D.O.J. and our internal city team, including Judge Roderick Ireland, the City is striving to have the best Police Department possible.”
Making changes to prevent excessive force, and hold officers accountable, one way they are doing that is by creating a whole new public database for police information.
Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said, “You should find all photos, all video, all prisoner injuries, all use of force reports.”
“The fact that the internal investigation is being revamped or the policies and procedures there are being re-vamped is also critical,” said Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst. “We need to make sure that when the reports don’t match up that the officers are held accountable.”
In addition to changes in the police department, the city is making changes too. Springfield will now have an all-new racial equity office, which will work within the city’s health department.
“So, we can look at prevention and intervention and not be punitive around racism and racial health issues,” said Helen Caulton-Harris, health and human services commissioner.
The new office is funded by the city budget as well as $125,000 reallocated from the police budget.