By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD – In-coming Police Commissioner
John Barbieri called for the citizens of Springfield to cooperate and collaborate with law enforcement officials at his oath of office ceremony on June 5.
Local, state and federal officials gathered with about 100 people at the Old First Church for the ceremony. The two murders that had happened the day before in the city set the tone for many of the remarks.
Congressman Richard Neal, said, “Nothing in the last 40 years has changed the perception of urban living than street crime.”
Mayor Domenic Sarno acknowledged, “We’ve had a tough week.”
All of the speakers praised Barbieri’s experience as a police officer.
Jose Claudio of the new North Citizen’s Council recounted Barbieri’s work in the North End and said, “This man is a leader.”
Claudio called for unity across the city in support of the police.
Sarno praised him as a “well respected, progressive and innovative leader.”
Barbieri joined the Springfield Police Department
in 1988 after graduating first in his academy class. He was appointed deputy chief in May of 2009.
He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Western New England University. He is a graduate of the Springfield Technical High School, Springfield Technical Community College and Ana Maria College. In addition to his formal schooling he has had numerous specialized police training as well in subjects ranging from weapons of mass destruction to Federal Bureau of Investigation courses in crime scene investigation and fingerprint identification, among others.
After taking the oath of office and having his son Anthony pin on his police commissioner badge, Barbieri said, “I ask the residents of this city to step forward at this time. I ask them to cooperate, to provide information to the police department. I ask them to watch their own neighborhoods. I pledge to have officers back into the neighborhoods and at community meetings. I pledge to collaborate with our state, local and federal politicians, profit and non-profit agencies, our clergy, our neighborhood residents to bring a sense of community back to the neighborhoods.”
He stressed the need for residents to offer information and opinions about what is happening in their neighborhoods.
“They need to face crime with the same amount of courage as a police officer would,” he said.
He said would use “incremental planned change” to improve conditions in the city, something he said “will not be easy and will not be quick.”
He concluded saying, “I ask for your patience. I ask for your understanding. I ask for your courage in supporting your Springfield Police Department. God Bless the city of Springfield.”