New committee looks to improve relations between Springfield residents & police

22News took a look at who's on the committee

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The “Police and Community Relations Committee” has a mission of improving the relationship between the Springfield Police Department and the community.

This 15-member committee will include city councilors, residents from each ward, the NAACP, and a Springfield Police Detective.

Committee members come from diverse backgrounds; a corrections officer, a social worker, and city councilors hope to strengthen community relationships with the police department.

Springfield Ward 8 resident Zaida Govan said, “The police and the community don’t feel appreciated by each other and I think that we have a great opportunity to strengthen those relationships. There’s a way to do that and I want to be a part of accomplishing that.”

Springfield City Councilor President Orlando Ramos told 22News why it was important to have a diverse committee; “Different members from different backgrounds, give the comments, concerns and recommendations, as to what we can do. We want to hear from people.”

This committee will hold meetings across the city and make recommendations to the city council. Ramos said this committee is about the people helping city government meet their goals; “To make this a civilian driven effort. We want to make sure that people are being heard. Government works best, when we have impute from the people.”

The Committee’s made up of city councilors, residents from each ward, the NAACP, and a Springfield Police detective.

Committee Member Jynai McDonald would like to see officers and community members undergo training. “As far as dealing with certain populations. When dealing with young people versus people who struggle with mental illness, homelessness, because I look at it, even though I’m not a social worker, community police relations is social issue.”

Ramos said he hopes the committee’s recommendations turn into legislative policies.

Springfield City Councilor Thomas Ashe will chair the committee. There are still three vacant positions on this committee.

The City Council has been at odds with Mayor Domenic Sarno over the administration of the police department. In December, the council voted 10-2 to eliminate the office of police commissioner, and replace it with a civil service chief, and administered by a civilian police commission.