Mayor Domenic J. Sarno And Board’s Chairperson Commend Board Members For Their Dedicated Service
May 14, 2012 – The City’s Community Police Hearing Board (CBHB) has filed their Annual Report for 2011 with Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. The report is the second annual report for the CPHB and provides an overview of the history and purpose of the Board, including the relevant aspects of Mayor Sarno’s Executive order which created the Board. The report provides an overview of data involving the complaints reviewed, observations of board members and recommendations from the board regarding policies and practices of the Internal Investigation Unit (IIU) as well as police conduct and training, and the structure of the Board.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno commended Board Chairperson Attorney Cynthia Tucker and the other Board members for their dedicated public service recognizing the time commitment invested by each of the members. Mayor Sarno stated “I am incredibly thankful to the Community Police Hearing Board members for their hard work and commitment. I recognize the sacrifices made to fulfill the time requirements created by participating on the Hearing Board.”
“The Community Police Hearing Board is pleased to offer this annual report so that the public can review the work we have done throughout the year in a transparent fashion,” commented Chairwoman Attorney Cynthia Tucker. “As part of our community outreach efforts will have worked in collaboration with the Springfield Police Department on a number of public forums including the recent ‘use of force’ forum. The Board will continue to provide forums in an effort to have continued police/public relations.”
The report provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of IIU data for 2011. Highlights from the report include the following:
• The report contains graphs that identify the number of complaints in various categories;
• The report has data broken down according to whether the complaint was initiated by a citizen or by a member of the Springfield Police Department;
• There were a total of 160 complaints reviewed by the CPHB in 2011 including 109 Citizens Complaints filed and a total of 51 complaints that were generated internally by the department itself;
• Of the 109 complaints filed by citizens, 38 alleged rudeness, 28 alleged rules and regulations violations, 41 alleged improper physical/hands or physical/equipment, and 2 criminal allegations;
• Of the 160 complaints, there were 94 where the race of the complainant was provided. Of those, 36 were filed by complainants who identified themselves as Black; 31 complainants who identified themselves as Hispanics and 27 complainants who identified themselves as White;
• 5 of the 160 complaints are still pending and of the 155 cases disposed of, a total of 20 were “sustained,” meaning the complainant’s allegations were supported by sufficient evidence to determine that the incident occurred and the actions of the officer were improper;
• The Springfield Police Department received a total of 183,839 calls for service through the “911” emergency call system from 01/01/2011 – 12/31/2011;
• In 2011, the total number of arrests (not including juveniles) by the Springfield Police Department was 5,627.
The report contains a number of recommendations from the CPHB including the following:
• The Springfield Police Department and the CPHB should schedule more public meetings in each area of the City;
• Additional outreach and public education as to the role and duties of the CPHB to dispel any perceptions that may exist about coming forward and voicing complaints and participating in the citizen complaint process;
• The CPHB recommends that the Police Department expand the use of video cameras in cruisers;
• The CPHB recommends additional publication of the Citizen’s Police Academy which provides a useful bridge to help understand the workings of the police department had has helpful educational materials. The CPHB sits as an independent and non-police mayoral agency. It is empowered to receive, hear, make findings and recommend action on complaints against Springfield police officers which allege the use of excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy or the use of offensive language. Investigations of complaints are conducted by the Springfield Police Department Internal Investigation Unit staff (IIU) under the direction of the Captain of Professional Responsibility.
The current chair of the CPHB is Attorney Cynthia Tucker, who formerly served as the MCAD Commissioner. Other members include Vice Chair Reverend Amos Baily and members Robert C. Jackson, Joanne Morales-Harrison and Albert Tranghese. Over the past year, Terry Aberdale and Ronald Krupke also served as members of the Board.