Mayor Sarno appoints Commissioner Clapprood to police chief following court ruling | News


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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Western Mass News heard from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno following Tuesday’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling that did not go his way, regarding the future leadership of the city’s police department.

The state’s highest court sided with the Springfield City Council. The department is now going to be headed by a five-person board of commissioners instead of just one police commissioner.

When asking the Mayor about this, we mentioned how this was a big win for the city council, but he is standing his ground, saying that he still has the last word and he still got something he wanted out of it.

“The commissioner or chief of police will continue to be Cheryl Clapprood, who has done a tremendous job,” Mayor Sarno told us.

The Springfield Police Department’s management structure will change following Tuesday’s state Supreme Judicial Court ruling.

First, as police commissioner, Cheryl Clapprood had the power to hire, fire, and discipline officers. Now, as police chief, she will run the daily operations of the department, turning the power of the commissioner to a five-person board.

“It still gives the power to the mayor, he or she, to appoint this board of police commissioners,” Mayor Sarno explained.

He has fought the city council on this for years. He told us that he prefers a civilian review board, however, there was one thing he wanted the civilian review board to have.

“It really clarified something that I really, really wanted to, the power to subpoena, which I pushed for many, many years,” Mayor Sarno said. “I tried to codify an ordinance with the council, which they would not do.”

Mayor Sarno told us that the civilian review board is not needed.

“It’s redundant now. You gotta remember Springfield was one of the few cities in New England, Massachusetts, that had a civilian review board, specifically so we had the mechanism in. I did that via executive order,” said Mayor Sarno.

Former Springfield City Councilor and now State Representative Orlando Ramos looked at this as a victory. He viewed a five-member board of police commissioners as more transparent for the department.

“It’s much different because now, they have authority,” Representative Ramos told us. “The police commission has the authority to hire, fire, and discipline. They have the authority to actually implement the discipline, not just make a recommendation.”

Representative Ramos also reacted to the Mayor’s comment about still having the authority to appoint the five-member police commission.

“That authority was never challenged,” Representative Ramos said. “What was challenged was the system. At the time when the city council voted on it, when I voted on it, I felt it was a much better system. I voted in favor of the police commission in 2014, I voted in favor of the police commission in 2016, 2018, and I also voted twice to override the Mayor’s veto, so it took this long.”

Mayor Sarno told us that he will name the five-member police commission soon. He did not specify if the five-member civilian review board will become the five-member police commission.

Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.

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