SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On a rainy Saturday morning, Springfield residents weren’t expecting the sound of chainsaws and dump trucks outside their windows. Nor were they expecting the volunteers out cleaning Hennessey Park on Kenyon Street to be future police officers.
“Well it will add beauty and people that are growing up in the community on our street will be able to enjoy it for years to come,” said Tommie Burton, who lives on neighboring Oak Grove Avenue.
Twenty-nine Springfield Police Academy recruits planted trees donated by the City and the non-profit organization, ReGreen Springfield, to help beautify a community they might soon be working to keep safe.
Every Springfield Police Academy Class is encouraged to volunteer in their community. They each had to come up with an idea on how to volunteer and this was the one that they decided would make a lasting impact on the City.
“It brings us closer together. They like seeing we care about the communities, we want to make them better, and planting trees is kind of a big thing,” Springfield Police Academy Recruit, Andrew Normand, who proposed the event, told 22News.
“It’s a real positive thing in the neighborhood. It’s been amazing. We’ve had half a dozen or so neighbors come out, a mother and daughter helping with planting and picking up. We’ve had other people request trees on their tree belt and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the neighbors,” said Edward Casey, Springfield City Forester.
The future officers graduate from the Academy on October 30th. The recruits from Springfield, Chicopee and West Springfield hoped their volunteer efforts would just be the start of a positive relationship between police and residents, with a common goal of making each of their cities safe and beautiful places to live.