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Mayor Sarno Issues Executive Order to Pursue Subpoena Powers and Appoints Two New Members to our Civilian Community Police Hearing Board for the Good of our Community and Springfield Police Department

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “While I appreciate the efforts of City Councilors Tim Ryan, Tim Allen, E. Henry Twiggs, Mike Fenton and Ken Shea to work with Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and me for the good of the community and our Police Department, I’m disappointed in the majority of the Council to act.”

In response to the failure of the City Council to again approve an Ordinance creating a Civilian Review Board with subpoena powers, Mayor Sarno again on September 17, 2019 asked the Law Department to draft a modified Executive Order to adopt as many of the changes as possible despite the City Council’s failure to act. 

Until such time as the City Council shall empower the Board to issue a summons pursuant to the authority of M.G.L. c. 233, §10 and the City’s Home Rule Powers, the Board may request the assistance of any state or federal agency in obtaining the attendance of a witness who refuses to voluntarily attend a hearing. Any such request shall be made through the Police Commissioner as the appointing authority, and with the advice and consent of the Law Department. As an example, the Board may request the Commissioner, as appointing authority, to request that the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission or its Administrator to investigate all or part of any complaint and utilize, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 31, § 72, power to issue any subpoena that may be necessary, such that the Civil Service Commission or Administrator may then make to the appointing authority any appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Board in any Hearing or Deliberations under this Executive Order.

“While the City Council is unable to let go of an organization structure of the past, I will continue the City’s efforts to modernize and professionalize Police Community Relations. I have modified the current Executive Order to include as many of the provisions recommended and implemented by Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and the Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) that can possibly be included despite our legislative body’s inaction on this issue,” Mayor Sarno said.

The proposed Ordinance, based on recommendations from these experts, would expand the Board from seven to nine members, and grant the Hearing Board power to summons witnesses to hearings on disciplinary matters it is assigned to conduct hearings to recommend whether the complaint of police misconduct has merit and what discipline, if any, it recommends that the Commissioner should impose.

Mayor Sarno recently met with Brian Corr, President of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) to discuss the proposed Ordinance. Mr. Corr also met with City Council members too. “President Corr indicated that this Ordinance grants more power to civilians than most other review boards across the country. He is responsible for administering the review board established in the City of Cambridge, and he indicated to me that the current CPHB has greater authority over discipline than the existing review board there. I understand NACOLE has been introduced to the Council as another source of information on this topic. There is no question that the Ordinance before the City Council includes professional improvements that are cutting edge and have been created with the help of nationally recognized experts. The Council should stop dragging its feet and get up to speed with the modern age.” 

The two new members are retired Officers Ms. Luz Lizarrabar;

  • Four years active duty in the United States Army and then 25 years in the Army Reserves retiring as a First Sergeant
  • 29 years of service to the Springfield Police Department, including assignments in the Uniform Division, Youth Aid Bureau, Detective Bureau and Crime Prevention Bureau
  • Actively volunteers in our community, including youth sports coaching and volunteering for fundraising activities like the SIDS Race for Life and Rays of Hope

And Mr. Joe Griffin.

  • 35 years of service to the Springfield Police Department, including assignments in the Uniform Division, Crime Prevention Bureau, Detective Bureau and Community Policing
  • Currently employed by the U.S. Marshalls Service, Federal District Court, Springfield

Mayor Sarno states, “I am very appreciative that these two well respected members of our Springfield community are willing to serve on this most important ‘checks and balances’ board.”

Please see the attached Executive Order.

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Page last updated:  Thursday, October 17, 2019 05:12 pm