New police commissioner outlines strategy to reduce crime
By Aubri Bailly
Special to Reminder Publications
SPRINGFIELD – Incoming Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri spoke to a crowd of around 350 people on Monday night where he discussed his five priority objectives for his future endeavors as Police Commissioner.
Barbieri, who is replacing current Commissioner William Fitchet on June 1, plans to create an even larger partnership between the police and the residents of Springfield.
This was Barbieri’s first formal public presentation since his appointment last month by Mayor Dominic Sarno. The presentation began with a PowerPoint slideshow and was followed by selected questions submitted by media outlets and the audience.
For just over an hour, Barbieri spoke about how he plans on improving the efficiency of the Springfield Police Department and how he plans to get the community more involved in different situations. He also talked about his overall projected goals, which were to “re-engineer police services to positively impact crime, quality of life and fear or crime issues.”
His five priority objectives are:
• Initiate a movement towards a proactive patrol centered department ideology;
• Deliver improved response times;
• Create increased levels of service though clearer lines of delegations of authority and responsibility for line supervisors;
• Build relationships with stake-holders for collaborative problem solving, enhanced communications and unified effort; and
• Develop and implement measurement and feedback processes to modify and enhance operations as required regarding calls for service.
For his first objective, Barbieri discussed shifting department personnel from having 49 percent specialty units and 51 percent uniformed patrol to 30 percent specialty units and 70 percent uniformed patrol. Barbieri said that the increased number of uniformed officers would help “to solve problems that occur on a regular basis.”
The second objective involves having a more timely feedback for real-time crime analysis. Barbieri did mention that the overtime budget would remain the same, even after his objectives have been put into place.
Barbieri’s third objective included the inclusion of line supervisors in review of crime analysis, calls for service and quality of life issues. He stated that weekly communication involving weekly meetings with sector lieutenants would improve line supervisor and sector officer accountability.
The fourth objective includes involving the community. Barbieri stated that he would like to put out a survey to see when people around the area would be available for meetings in order to make the public more involved.
“The more information we get from the neighborhood residents, the more we can turn into actual intelligence and we can provide timely, proactive responses to their concerns,” Barbieri stated.
The final objective is an internal analysis to see how people feel about police service with emergency and non-emergency responses.
Barbieri also spoke about introducing the C3 Policing Model to the worst neighborhoods.
“We’re going to try to reach out to get them involved, and we’re going to try to act as leaders to stabilize the neighborhoods and work with other governmental agencies to try and improve the conditions on the ground there to affect the cause of criminality in those neighborhoods,” Barbieri said.
He mentioned that this model is already being used in the North End and has seen major success.
Following the presentation were questions asked by the public. Sarno’s Chief of Staff Denise Jordon, read the questions aloud. She said that because there were so many questions, some of them were merged in order to get as much answered as possible in the time they had.
The first question asked was about whether or not Barbieri is for or against audio/video equipment on both police cars and on themselves. Barbieri stated that he is in support of this. He said that he is going to have his police union explore it further.
Another question later on was about whether or not restrictions should be eased up on concealed carry permits for gun owners.
“Studies show it’s better to be a good witness than to provide an armed resistance. Unless there is convincing data otherwise, I will continue giving conceal permits based on need,” Barbieri replied.
The number one thing that Barbieri seemed to stress the most was how much he wants to see the community come together to help the police force.
“I believe we can and I look forward to working with you,” Barbieri concluded.
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