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Compliance monitor selected for Springfield Police consent decree

U.S. Department of Justice officials joined with Springfield, Massachusetts, to announce a proposed consent decree for the city's police department on April 13, 2022. From left: Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke and Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.
Karen Brown
/
NEPM
U.S. Department of Justice officials joined with Springfield, Massachusetts, to announce a proposed consent decree for the city's police department. From left: Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke and Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.

An independent compliance monitor has been hired to make sure the Springfield Police Department and the city are living up to a deal with the federal Department of Justice.

Earlier this year, the city and the DOJ entered into a consent decree aimed at police reform. That was after a scathing 2020 federal report accused Springfield's narcotics unit of using excessive force repeatedly.

O'Toole Associates was selected. The firm is headed by Pittsfield native and former Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole. Its job: to make sure the city is implementing the required reforms and to identify any barriers to compliance.

City Councilor Justin Hurst said he supports the hire, and is hoping for openness.

"There are a number of deadlines and there are a number of expectations that the city has to meet, and I want to make sure that the compliance officer is being transparent, is letting folks know when these deadlines are complete," Hurst said.

City Council President Jesse Lederman said he's hoping for the same thing.

"Whether it's the public, their elected officials, rank-and-file officers, they need a seat at the table," Lederman said. "They need to be regularly apprised of what is going on, so I'm hopeful that the monitor can contribute to that."

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a statement announcing the selection, said O'Toole Associates has an "extensive and impressive background."

"They have shown to hold true to the highest ethics, standards and expertise in law enforcement and demonstrate a commitment and capacity to ensure constitutional policing," Sarno said.

The press release from the mayor's office said the firm had already begun to meet with city officials, Springfield Police leadership, and the police officers' union. A community meeting is also planned for September.

The monitor will cost Springfield $1.6 million over four years.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.