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:
Attorney Cynthia Tucker – Attorney Cynthia Tucker is a 1986 graduate of Western New England College School of Law and will serve as Chair of the Community Police Hearing Board. Attorney Tucker was a former Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Springfield’s Law Department.
In 2000, Attorney Tucker was appointed by the Governor to serve as a Commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination which she did until 2007. Currently she works in the area of Labor Relations.
Attorney Tucker graduated from the Springfield Public Schools before attending Spelman College in Atlanta. She is actively involved in the community and has served on numerous boards including: WGBY-57, the Urban League, the United Way, the Holyoke Community College Foundation and Bethel AME Church Trustee and Steward.
Terry A. Aberdale – Now retired, Aberdale accumulated a 38-year career in the criminal justice field, serving for 10 years as assistant deputy superintendent of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Special Operations Unit.
Prior to that, Aberdale was director of medical services for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. He has served on the Western Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Academy, the American Correctional Health Services Association and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, among others.
He holds a master’s degree in education from Springfield College and a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.
Rev. Amos L. Bailey – Rev. Bailey serves as pastor of the Christian Faith Baptist Church, Inc. He taught in the Springfield Public Schools for three years as a classroom teacher. Bailey is president of the Pastors’ Council of Greater Springfield and chaplain for the Springfield Police Department. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State College and is a graduate of the Hartford Seminary. He is a member of the United Baptist Convention of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Robert Jackson – Jackson has owned and operated Jackson Security Company since 1968 and has served as an honorary deputy sheriff since 1977. In 1987, the Massachusetts Black Legislators recognized Jackson with the Minority Employer of Massachusetts award.
Jackson worked as drug task force commander at the Springfield Housing Authority from 1990 to 2003. He has served as compliance monitor for the Contractor’s Association of Boston, Inc., economic/affirmative action coordinator for the Urban League of Greater Springfield and job developer for the Hampden County “First Offender” program.
Jackson is co-founder of the 5A Greater Springfield Youth Athletic Program and currently serves on the Urban League of Greater Springfield Board of Directors. He is a former member of the Dunbar Community Center Board of Directors. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire; an associate degree from American International College and certificates from the University of Massachusetts.
H. Edgar Alejandro – Alejandro is manager of Economic and Community Development for Western Massachusetts Electric Company, where he has worked since 1996.
He formerly served as vice president for allocations and community development for the Community United Way of Pioneer Valley and was director of planning for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. Alejandro holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from American International College. He is former chairman of the SABIS International Charter School; co-founder of the Latino Breakfast Club of Western Massachusetts; and the former varsity ice hockey coach at Cathedral High School and Westfield State College.
Joanne Morales-Harrison – Morales–Harrison is a Community Re-Entry Unit Manager with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. She served previously on the Springfield Police Commission from 2004-2006.
She has been employed by the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department since 1992 and has worked there as a Correctional Officer, Correctional Caseworker, Substance Abuse Counselor and After Incarceration Coordinator. She is a member of the New North Citizen’s Council Board of Directors and previously served as Chairperson of the Sector A Beat Management Team. She has an associate’s degree from Springfield Technical Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College.
Albert P. Tranghese – Tranghese has been employed by Lenox (American Saw) since 1966. Currently he serves as the Production Manager.
He has worked in the area of employee relations where he has conducted internal investigations on employee complaints and has coached management on achieving successful results using progressive corrective action policies. He is trained in human resource policies and procedures and state and federal employment laws.
All Community Police Hearing Board members will be required to go through training on how to conduct administrative hearings.