Mar 24, 2016

Springfield Police Department to Hire 59 New Officers

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Mayor Domenic Sarno recently made the announcement that the city’s police department was to grow by 59 officers, the largest number of new hires in over 20 years.  These new officers will aid in the development of a specialized patrol unit, focusing on increased visibility to improve public safety downtown.  “This will go a long way to relieve stress on our members,” states IBPO Local 364 President Joe Gentile.  “Our officers have been short-handed for years, and it’s been understandably tough on them.” 
               The largest motivating factor in the installation of this specialized unit is the completion of two major development projects in Springfield: the MGM casino and the newly revitalized Union Station.  The city is contractually obligated to MGM to address the crime and public safety issues downtown, and will work towards this goal with the specialized patrol unit.  The mayor and several other city officials realize that increased public safety and crime prevention will boost the city’s economic development, benefitting the citizens of Springfield. 
               In 2014, the department budgeted for 483 sworn officers, and these 59 new officers will bring that number up to 504, breaking down to 426 patrol officers and 80 supervisors.  “This is the largest amount (of police) hired since the Clinton administration,” stated Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.  Under the Clinton administration’s Community Orientated Policing System (COPS), Springfield was relying on federal grant money to hire several dozen new officers.  Springfield PD’s number were up to 600 at one point, but when the grant money dried up in 2003, the city was forced to lay off 76 officers.  This time around, there is money in the budget to hire and sustain these 59 officers.   The increased costs will be offset by $3M that the MGM casino is due to pay Springfield next year.  “"Sustainability for the long-term is where MGM comes in. We've agreed to a pre-pay,” explained Chief Administrative and Financial Officer T.J. Plante to the local media at the press briefing.  “We can bank on an additional $3 million in advance of having the casino built when other revenue will kick in.” 
 
For more information, please see additional articles here and here


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