Friday, April 13, 2018
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Police Commissioner John Barbieri, along with members of the police command staff, City Solicitor Edward M. Pikula and Chief of Staff Denise Jordan met today with the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, as well as the Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Steven Rosenbaum, and members of their team to discuss the opening of an independent federal investigation to review practices to see if any persistent patterns exist within the former Narcotics Unit of the Springfield Police Department.
The investigation, prompted by public reports, is a civil investigation that will look at whether the Police Department’s former Narcotics Unit has engaged in a pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Constitution.
Mayor Sarno said, “We seek to work with the DOJ, with input from community stakeholders, to effectively remedy any unlawful practices that may be found. It is my hope that the City will be able to institutionalize and adopt any reforms the experts can offer us as we move the City forward. I have asked my Chief of Staff, Denise Jordan to act as a liaison to all community stakeholders to provide input for the investigation.”
U.S. Attorney Lelling and his team indicated a cooperative, collaborative and transparent approach will be undertaken with our Springfield Police Department, Police Union, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and community stakeholders and not to hinder our City’s public safety and proactive policing initiatives.
In addition to gathering information directly from community members, all pattern and practice investigations involve interviewing police and local officials, gathering information from other criminal justice stake holders, observing officer activities, and reviewing documents and specific incidents that are relevant to the investigation.
Commissioner Barbieri stated, “The reform processes that have been initiated since I became Commissioner will be supported by this investigation by enabling our Police Department to identify and remedy any problems. It can also help police officers, both by ensuring that they have the policies and training they need to police safely and by helping to foster the community confidence they rely on in performing their duties.”
Solicitor Pikula added, “The City will cooperate in all phases of the investigation to make sure the process is as transparent as possible, without compromising the need to maintain confidential information.”