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Regional News

'Given The History,' Springfield Police Must 'Show And Persuade' That Reforms Are For Real

This week, city officials in Springfield outlined changes they've made to the police department, following a scathing report this summer from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said the department has streamlined the process for making a complaint against officers, better record keeping on complaints, and several changes to the narcotics unit.

City Council President Justin Hurst said the reforms are a step in the right direction, but he's not yet satisfied.

"I'm less concerned with what with what it is that they say they're going to do and more concerned with what it is that they are doing," Hurst said. "It might take some time for things to play out."

The department announced some "careful measures" that do respond to some of the "pretty explosive elements of that report," said panelist Larry Parnass.

"Body cameras on 340 officers — that's promising," Parnass said. "But I think [Hurst] makes a strong point here that, given the history, they're going to have to show this to the community, and I think they're also going to have to show and persuade influencers that these are real changes."

Panelist Dave Eisenstadter noted that Hurst wants the department to get rid of all the officers referenced in the report.

"I think that City Councilor Hurst is correct that it could take years before these initial reforms whether we know whether they're making changes," Eisenstadter said. "I mean, I think we're going to have to really pay attention to this department, as we've been doing."

Meanwhile in Connecticut, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont this week on a few occasions had to contend with protestors heckling him to fully reopen the state. One exchange took place in Berlin, and involved a back-and-forth while Lamont was giving a speech.

The frustrated governor said to the protestor, "Well, if you think being incredibly rude is helping your cause, you're wrong."

Also this week, the public had what was being billed as a final opportunity to comment on the next phase of cleaning up Housatonic River. General Electric polluted it with PCB's when it ran a factory in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, decades ago. The current plan calls for dumping lower-level PCB-laden waste in the town of Lee, something many in the area are against.

Guests:

  • Larry Parnass, investigations editor, The Berkshire Eagle
  • Dave Eisenstadter, veteran western Mass. journalist

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