Community Police Hearing Board
Atty. Ernesto Castillo, Chair
Mayor Sarno Signs New Executive Order Creating Community Police Hearing Board
February 2, 2010 - Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today the details of a new Executive Order establishing the Community Police Hearing Board. The Executive Order will take effect on February 23, 2010.
The Executive Order is aimed at increasing police accountability to the community while assuring professional management of the Police Department. It upholds the terms of the existing contract between the City of Springfield and Police Commissioner William Fitchet, and complies with all State Civil Service Laws.
The Board will have authority to review and recommend discipline of police officers, where warranted, on all civilian complaints involving allegations of harassment; use of unreasonable or excessive force, use of language that is insulting, demeaning or humiliating; discriminatory treatment based on a person’s race, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability; or retaliation against a person for filing a citizens complaint.
Under the Executive Order, the Board will consist of 7 members who will act individually (or in panels of three) as hearing officers designated by Police Commissioner William Fitchet to conduct disciplinary hearings and make findings on citizen complaint cases. Upon submission of findings from the hearing officer(s), the Board will be authorized to recommend to the Commissioner discipline to be imposed, such as suspension and including termination, on all cases under their jurisdiction.
The Board is subject to open meeting laws, which provides that disciplinary hearings are open or closed at the option of the employee. The Board is authorized to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath and require the production of evidence relating to any matter before the Board.
The Board will also be charged with performing outreach and educating the community of the opportunity to file a complaint, public dissemination of information as to how and where to file, and the rights of the community in dealing with the police. The Chairperson of the Board must be an Attorney with experience in administrative procedures so that the chair can provide leadership pursuant to the rule of law.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated that “civilian review of complaints regarding the use of force is necessary to ensure the integrity of the investigations in the eyes of the public.” “Oversight with disciplinary authority will reassure the residents of the City of Springfield that investigations, even when conducted within the Police Department by the Internal Investigation Unit, are thorough and fair,” added Sarno.
Mayor Sarno also stated that he is “incredibly thankful to the Community Complaint Review Board members for their hard work and commitment during their time of service.” “Individually, each member demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the City of Springfield and collectively, their broad range of skills, experience and expertise provided the necessary input that allowed me to put forth this new Executive Order,” said Sarno.
Joining existing CCRB members Terry A. Aberdale, Rev. Amos L. Bailey, Robert Jackson and H. Edgar Alejandro, are new members Attorney Cynthia Tucker, Joanne Morales-Harrison and Albert P. Tranghese.
All Community Police Hearing Board members will be required to go through training on how to conduct administrative hearings.
UPDATE February 22, 2015 - Board members include: Atty. George Bourguignon, Chair, Pastor Gail Hill, Richard Muise, Albert Tranghese, Robert Jackson, Linda Caron, and Paul Phaneuf.