Staffing shortage for emergency services in Springfield

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – City of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that the city’s police and fire departments are currently down 10% of their staff.

This is due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. However, since the quarantine time has been shortened to five days, they’re hoping to see less absences as soon as next week.

According to a statement sent out by Sarno’s office to 22News, this staffing decrease is not expected to have an impact on residents.

“Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi have informed me earlier this morning that that we are currently down 10% of our public safety division between SPD and SFD.  I want to reassure our residents and business community that our emergency services such as Police, Fire, Health, Building and Code, and DPW will continue to operate without interruption.  Our brave and dedicated Police and Fire personnel will continue to receive and respond to calls and DPW will continue to collect trash and recycling.”

Springfield Mayor Sarno

“We have a 260 person department, so we’re slightly under 10 percent absenteeism with COVID cases right now. We’re making up the shortfall with over time. So we’re able to fill all the shifts and meet the needs of the citizens of Springfield,” said Springfield Fire Commissioner Calvi.

According to Commissioner Calvi, 20 members of the fire departments have the virus. The police department dealing with the staffing issue the same way, with callbacks and overtime. However, feeling less of an impact with a staff of 500.

“It’s certainly not crippling me. We’re dealing with it,” said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood. “I don’t send out a squad that doesn’t have minimum staffing. We’re able to keep the minimum staffing up and all of our services so far are running smoothly.”

Mayor Domenic Sarno is pushing the state for another regional testing site in western Massachusetts. The city has also moved many city buildings to a hybrid model, to reduce spread.

“Not only to protect the residents and business community in Springfield, but to protect and preserve our workforce so they can continue to provide not only basic service but the vital services for our residents of Springfield,” said Sarno.

While residents are encouraged to conduct city business remotely, they can still schedule appointments for city services. Mayor Sarno says COVID-19 is hitting all city departments, including DPW. However, the community should not worry, they’re still able to get the job done, even a snow storm.

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