Springfield Police Commissioner’s office one step closer to being eliminated

Councilors told 22News a change could improve public safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The entire Springfield City Council voted Monday night to approve the first of three steps to eliminate the police commissioner’s office. They’re proposing that instead, there will be a civil police commission, and a civil service chief.

The civil police commission would be in charge of hiring, promotions, and disciplinary matters. The civil service chief would run day-to-day operations for the department.

This push to not have a police commissioner is stemming from alleged misconduct on behalf of the current Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri, when it comes to internal affairs. The commissioner has allegedly been using his power to bypass the board who advises him on disciplinary actions.

Councilors told 22News on Monday a change could improve public safety.

Councilor Justin Hurst said, “I think you always gain more confidence when you have the majority of the council in your corner. I also think that they’re listening to the will of the people, and I think the will of the people are saying that we want a change, and we want it now.”

Councilor Kateri Walsh said, “We are all coming from the same direction that we want something good, positive, and calming to happen in the City of Springfield.”

The next two steps of approval will be taken at the next City Council meeting on December 5th. If approved, the change wouldn’t take effect until 2019, when Commissioner Barbieri’s contract is up.