Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announces that the Community Police Hearing Board (CPHB) has submitted its annual report for 2018.
Mayor Sarno stated, “The statistics show the CPHB is helping to ensure that all complaints are investigated thoroughly and fairly. No complaint has been ‘swept under the rug’.”
The data as to the total number of calls for service (CFS) and the total number of arrests and complaints compared to last year are included in the report:
Calls for Service by all Source
Persons Arrested 2013 – 2017 (Juveniles and Adults)
A total of 56 citizen complaints of police misconduct were received during the calendar year. The CPHB reviewed 95 complaints. Ten were sustained and 85 were not sustained. There were 66 charges still outstanding at the end of 2018. The CPHB review and hearings included cases and hearings on complaint from multiple years including complaints pending from prior years. A compilation of data detailing all of the various charges contained in the complaints that were reviewed as well as their outcome is included in the appendix to the report and posted on the City’s website. A summary of the data is set forth in various tables in the body of the report.
The CPHB has also reported on police misconduct litigation, and a table of all cases since 2006 through 2018 is included. Appendix 2 of the report provides a table of all police excessive force/misconduct lawsuits where the City or members of the police department were named as defendants in litigation since 2006. The summary indicates that 61 lawsuits have been filed against the City or its police officers alleging a deprivation of civil rights through police misconduct in the years from 2006 through the end of calendar year 2018. As to those lawsuits, 54 have been disposed of (4 of which were pending prior to 2006). There were 22 cases resulting in judgments entered by the court and 31 by settlement. As to the 22 judgments, only 2 resulted in liability against the City or its officers while 20 of the judgments have been entered in favor of the City and/or its officers.
In an ongoing effort to insure civilian oversight is a part of efforts to identify, resolve, and prevent underlying systemic problems, The Police Department contracted with an independent outside agency, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to conduct a review of the Springfield Police Department’s internal investigations processes and several related matters in April of 2018. PERF’s review compared SPD’s standards and practices to a set of national guidelines produced by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as a review of the CPHB process. That report is being finalized, and the Executive Summary will be made public within the next few days. The report will be used to implement changes to improve the IIU and civilian review processes. Among the reforms will be new specialized software for the purpose of tracking and analyzing police misconduct complaints.
After review of these statistics, Mayor Sarno said, “The numbers support the fact that the CPHB has helped ensure accountability and transparency and has placed the Springfield Police Department in line with nationally accepted best practices for civilian oversight. Some may criticize the Board as intrusive and unnecessary; while others may claim it is not intrusive enough. There is no question that the transparency and accountability is greater that it has ever been before, and this has resulted in substantial negative publicity. However, as we continue to put in place processes to help ensure that all complaints are investigated thoroughly and fairly, the, the Police Department will gain legitimacy in the community. I believe our efforts to assure best practices, improve our policies and practices, and take advantage of new technology, such as Tazers and Body Worn Cameras, and new software, will put us on a path where improved trust, confidence, and effective policing will be the end product.”
The current members of the CPHB include: Chair Attorney Ernesto Castillo; Owner of a Security Business, Robert C. Jackson; Former Labor Union representative and retired Human Resource manager Albert Trangese; Retired Police Officers Pastor Gail Hill and Gary Berte, who is a Professor of Criminal Justice; Funeral Director and Business Owner Paul A. Phaneuf; and Property Manager Linda Caron.