© 2024 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS, NPR and local perspective for western Mass.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lawrence Akers sworn in as Springfield's new police superintendent

A new chapter of law enforcement leadership in Springfield, Massachusetts, began today. Lawrence Akers was sworn in Wednesday as the new police superintendent.

Akers rose through the ranks over nearly four decades to become the first African American to hold the post. During the ceremony at Symphony Hall, Akers said community engagement will be a top priority under his leadership.

"I want our residents to feel comfortable and confident that they can come to me or any other member of this department and get the help and answers they seek, and be treated with professionalism and respect," he said. "I'm also hoping that the public will look at our department differently, and not have the negative feelings that some do. All I ask is patience and a chance."

Akers acknowledged the challenges faced by Black officers in the past, as well as allegations of misconduct against the department in recent years. Still, Akers said, his focus will remain the same.

"Our mission is control and prevent as much crime and disorder, while at the same time protecting our citizens from that very crime and disorder," he said.

Springfield filed a home-rule petition allowing Akers, who is 64, to serve past the mandatory police retirement age of 65. That's still pending before the legislature. He succeeds Cheryl Clapprood, who retired this week.

Kari Njiiri is a senior reporter and longtime host and producer of "Jazz Safari," a musical journey through the jazz world and beyond, broadcast Saturday nights on NEPM Radio. He's also the local host of NPR’s "All Things Considered."
Related Content