Local law enforcement and community members attend Safe Streets Banquet in Springfield

Cocchi said neighborhood residents are an invaluable resource for safety in the city

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of law enforcement and local Hampden County community members came together for the Safe Streets Banquet in Springfield Monday night.

Sheriff Nick Cocchi of the Springfield Police Department wanted to recognize residents who help keep their neighborhoods safe.

Sheriff Cocchi was joined by members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Hampden County DA, and countless local law enforcement members at the Greek Cultural Center Monday night.

But Sheriff Cocchi said Monday’s dinner was a time to commend community members for their service. He said community members contribute to the effort to keep their streets safe every day by being a part of their neighborhood watch.

Cocchi said neighborhood residents are an invaluable resource for safety in the city.  

“They know the streets, they know the faces, they know the characters,” said Sheriff Cocchi. “By having them involved, they’re the best form of information so we can then go do our job, and we can provide that safety in which they’re looking for.”

One member of the Mason Square C-3 Community Policing Program said their efforts aren’t just about catching criminals, but about creating a better neighborhood.

“Citizens really dictate how and when things improve for them,” said Richard Johnson of Springfield. “It is imperative that there be a relationship between community members and law enforcement that is more than just crime and punishment, but that is truly community building.”

Sheriff Cocchi said he has attended this dinner many times over the years, but Monday night was his first as sheriff.