In the News

Mayor Sarno and Community Stakeholders hold Rally on School Street to Highlight Recent Significant Arrests, Demand Springfield Gardens Secure their properties, and for Courts to Hold Violent Criminal Offenders and not Release them back into the Community

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, City Councilors Maria Perez and Lavar Click-Bruce, School Committee member Joesiah Gonzalez, Health and Human Services (HHS) Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, HHS Director of Emergency Preparedness & Response Tony Pettaway, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Judi Crowell, Police Deputy Chief Steven Kent, and members of the Springfield Police Department, and Hampden County Sherriff Chief Frank Ott representing Sheriff Nick Cocchi joined with a group of community stakeholders to highlight the recent arrest made by law enforcement partners on the High, School, Temple and Union Street corridor last week and to demand that the courts hold these violent criminal offenders accountable for their crimes with guns and dealing poison on our streets and in our neighborhoods. The group of community stakeholders also joined with Mayor Sarno to demand that Springfield Gardens, where some of these bad actors have been found, to better secure and maintain their properties.

Those community partners, religious leaders and city officials working together to help mitigate gun and drug violence and provide continued community outreach programs and initiatives for those in need include:

  • Bishop Talbert Swan, President of the Greater Springfield NAACP
  • Brother Johnnie Muhammad, The Mission Inc. – city street outreach program
  • Solomon Baymon, Director, & Kiki Thorne, Assistant Director, ROCA Western Massachusetts – Re-entry program and City Clean Sweep Initiative partner
  • Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, Christian Cathedral
  • Francena Brown, Families Against Violence
  • Shannon Rudder, President and CEO, MLK Family Services
  • Dexter Johnson, President and CEO YMCA of Greater Springfield
  • Vinny Borello, Executive Director, Springfield Boys and Girls Club
  • Keshawn Dodds, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Family Center
  • Jose Claudio, COO, New North Citizens Council
  • Pastor Eli Serrano, Restoration City Church 
  • Wes Jackson, Executive Director, & Jacque Rivera, Director of Operations, South End Community Center
  • Steve Winn, President and CEO, Michelle Michaelian, VP, & Chelan Brown, VP, BHN – City/Springfield Police Department Mental Health street outreach partner
  • Angelica Reyes, YMCA North End Community Director
  • Pastor Steven Williams, President, & April Robinson, Middle School Principal at Duggan Academy, JC Williams Community Center
  • Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi & Chief Frank Ott – Re-entry Programs
  • State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
  • City Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce, Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee
  • City Councilor Maria Perez
  • Helen Caulton-Harris, Commissioner of Health and Human Services 
  • Chrismery Gonzalez, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Racial Equity
  • Tony Pettaway, Director of Emergency Preparedness & Response, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Cheryl Clapprood, Police Superintendent
  • Steve Kent, Police Deputy Chief
  • Trent Duda, SPD Captain
  • Daniel Warwick, Superintendent, & Adam Fenn, Springfield Public Schools
  • Judi Crowell, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
  • Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreational Management

Last week, the Springfield Police Department Firearms Investigation Unit in partnership with the State Police and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, continued their efforts in suppressing criminal activity in the High, School, Temple and Union Street corridor.  This continued collaborative effort resulted in the arrest of a murder suspect, Michael Perez-Cruz, along with 11 other arrests for various crimes, 10 suspects do not reside in the area, and 11 additional suspects were Trespassed from the property on School Street.  In addition, six firearms were recovered and taken off the streets, and trafficking weight of heroin and cocaine were recovered.  As of July 29th, the Springfield Police Department have taken 203 illegal firearms off the streets and out of our neighborhoods.     

Mayor Sarno states, “Again, terrific work by our brave and dedicated men and women of the Springfield Police Department, State Police and Sheriff’s Department.  Our collaborative efforts to suppress the violent criminal activity of guns and the dealing of poison on our streets will continue as we will continue to work together with all of our community and law enforcement partners to remove these bad actors from our streets.  Now, joining with our community stakeholders following our productive roundtable meeting, we rallied on School Street to highlight the efforts from our law enforcement partners and demand that Springfield Gardens secure and properly maintain their troubled properties especially as it was discovered that many of these bad actors had taken residency in their vacant units.  We are also asking that our courts and some judges keep these bad actors locked up so that they won’t continue to plague our neighborhoods and hurt our residents.  We need our courts to keep these violent criminal offenders off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi stated, “We are proud to stand with the Springfield Police and the other agencies on the various task forces that are working against all odds to make the School Street area of Springfield a safe place for the law-abiding residents there. But we cannot do it alone.  We need responsible landlords to take control of their properties and we need a justice system that strikes a balance between the presumption of innocence and the protection of victims.  For those charged and sent to our care we are committed to providing every opportunity for them to reintegrate successfully back into society with the tools to live fulfilling and law-abiding lives.  A cycle of arrest and release presents a challenge to creating lasting positive changes to the justice involved.  It also makes it difficult offer support and security to those who have been harmed, and provide a safe and inclusive community where everyone can live and thrive.”

Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce said, “Gun violence feels too big, too powerful to stop.  But it’s not too big for us to take back our streets and take some real, meaningful actions.  We can control what we decide we can live with, and what we can’t.  We can choose whether to do something or do nothing.  I am thankful for the recent arrest made by the Springfield Police Department.  We are choosing to do something.  Now let’s see if the courts/judges will back us in holding these bad actors accountable.  We are not powerless.”   

Solomon Baymon, Director of ROCA Western Massachusetts, said, “On behalf of Roca we are grateful for Mayor Sarno, Springfield PD and all our Community Partners with their collaborative efforts and commitment to help keep our community safe. We're blessed to be included as part of the solution, and we will continue to do our part by relentlessly serving our high-risk youth population."

Each member of the community stakeholders group echoed the same resolve in a unified voice.  They joined with Mayor Sarno and our law enforcement partners and are asking our courts to now hold these violent criminal offenders accountable for their crimes so that the collaborative outreach efforts from our nonprofit and community outreach agencies can continue to do their job in our community without interruption and without residents that want help having to be fearful of the backlash from these career criminals that make up the 2% of serious violent crime in the City. 

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm