City councilors voted to override Mayor Sarno’s civilian police commission veto

Sarno vetoed the measure that would replace the current office of police commissioner with a civilian equivalent

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield is still deciding how to run their police department.

City councilors voted Monday to override Mayor Domenic Sarno’s veto of a measure that would replace the current office of the police commissioner with a civil police commission.

On December 6, the city council voted to eliminate the police commissioner’s office and bring back a five member civilian police commission and civil service chief.

The call to implement a civilian police commissioner comes after recent incidents of alleged misconduct at the police department, including accusations that the current commissioner bypassed recommendations made by the Community Police Hearing Board.

If the mayor follows the order of the law, Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri would be stripped of his disciplinary duties when his contract ends in 2019.

Springfield City Council Tim Rooke said if Sarno doesn’t follow the order of the law, the council doesn’t have the funds to take him to court.

“The City Council has no legal budget, so we can’t take it to the courts to force the mayor to do something,” Rooke said. “It comes down to a cat and mouse game. We may win the battle but we don’t win the war.”

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