As part of a reform push at the troubled Springfield, Massachusetts police department, more leadership has been added to the ranks.
The Springfield Police Department held a ceremony Tuesday to promote a new deputy chief, a captain and two lieutenants. Combined they have 93 years of service on the police force.
" I think the four of these men exemplify the kind of leaders I'm looking for," said Acting Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
She has made it a priority to fill supervisory spots in the department, believing it will restore discipline and pride within the ranks and restore public trust in a department that has been rocked by the criminal indictments of more than a dozen cops.
"We've had some issues in the past, yes. We've addressed them, yes. We're making great strides and these four , I believe, are going to help me make further strides," stated Clapprood.
Since taking over back in February, Clapprood has promoted five sergeants, four lieutenants, two captains, and now a deputy chief.
Newly-promoted Lt. Aaron Butler will be assigned to the department’s internal investigations unit, which is being revamped.
" I know the IIU is not a necessarily wanted assignment, but it is desparately needed," said Clapprood as she praised Butler's " fairness and leadership."
The department’s newest captain, Scott Richard, will supervise the Midnight – 8 a.m. patrol shift where he’ll be in a charge of a young and inexperienced group of police officers.
"Unfortunately, all my shifts are being young now there (because) there has been such a turnover," said Clapprood, who added there are day shift officers with only 2-3 years experience.
In a departure from past practice, Clapprood said 18 new officers who are scheduled to graduate from the police academy in July will be assigned to the C3 community policing unit in the city’s North End.
"C3 is made up of experienced hand-picked officers. That is the place ( the new officers) should learn," said Clapprood.
Newly-promoted Lt. Julio Toledo will supervise the C3 operation in the North End. He said Clapprood’s idea to assign rookie cops to C3 is a “brilliant plan.”
Steven Kent has had a meteoric rise through the ranks of the Springfield Police Department. Ten years ago he was a patrolman. Now he is the department’s newest deputy chief.
Kent has been put in charge of the body-worn camera program the department is expected to launch later this year.
" If you had asked me ten years ago, I might have been more hesitant to get on board (with body cameras)," said Kent. " I think it is going to help the police more than hurt anybody. In the long run I think it will be a big positive for the police department."
The ceremony, where the new supervisors received their badges, was attended by more than a hundred people, including family members, North End neighborhood community leaders, and members of the city’s Community Police Hearing Board.