Mayor Sarno appoints new police commissioner

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mayor Sarno appointed Deputy Chief John Barbieri as Springfield’s next Police Commissioner. The selection comes shortly after current Police Commissioner William Fitchet announced in January he would retire.

Barbieri has been a supervisor for 19 years and part of the police force for 26 years. He will take over for outgoing Commissioner Fitchet on June 1. Fitchet said his last day is May 31.

Mayor Sarno said the transition period began immediately after the announcement Wednesday morning. For the next couple months, Barbieri will be shadowing Fitchet, learning how he works daily and seeing how he can incorporate his leadership style into his command.

That style is something Sarno said set Barbieri apart from the other two candidates. Mayor Sarno added, “Educating and better training, not only better training our police force but better training and educating our public as part of the solution, so I think you’re going to be very impressed when you see his rollout.”

Some members of the City Council disapproved of the Mayor appointing a new commissioner through executive power. They wanted to have a role in the decision-making process, but said they wish Barbieri all the best.

John Barbieri joined the Springfield Police Department in 1988. He was appointed Deputy Chief in May 2009. Barbieri holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Western New England University.

In a press release sent to 22News from the Mayor’s Communications Director, Mayor Sarno stated, “Commissioner John Barbieri is a progressive and innovative leader who has the command and respect of the department. More importantly he understands and respects the mosaic and fabric of the people of Springfield.”

Barbieri is a native of Springfield graduating from Springfield Technical High School and Springfield Technical Community College. He has specialized FBI training and helped oversee the Shannon Grant anti-gang police deployments.

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