Two lawyers working with Springfield City Council to attempt to bring back board of police commissioners

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two lawyers will be filing litigation seeking enforcement of the City of Springfield municipal code to establish the Board of Police commissioners, something that’s caused tension between the counsel and the mayor.

Springfield City Council voted to authorize two attorney’s to file litigation so that the city has to enforce the council’s vote on establishing a civilian board of police commissioners. Something Mayor Sarno vetoed in 2016 and 2018, but the council overrode both times.

“From that point forward we had been looking for him to implement the police commission and he has yet to do so. He seems to think that we might not necessarily be in our legal right to have have a police commission.”

Justin Hurst, Springfield City Council President

In a statement to 22News, Attorney Michael Angelini on behalf of the Mayor said, “Aside from the fact that the proposal being considered by the City Council is bad public policy, it is directly contrary to the City’s charter. We are confident that this effort by the City Council will fail.”

The start of a police board would mean the elimination of a single police commissioner role and instead, a police chief with a board that would have seven commissioners on it.

“There are a litany of reasons that illustrate that the current system is not working. My hope is that this alternative will be more transparent, and is something that will benefit the residents of Springfield,” said Hurst.

Councilor Hurst says the filing of the litigation will happen “sooner rather than later.”

Councilor Hurst told 22News he wants people on the board from different job backgrounds, some who are victims of police brutality and community input on who’s selected.

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