| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Because the investigation is on-going, the details are slim, but city officials spoke on April 30 about removing a Springfield police officer from the Quebec Unit at Kiley Middle School after an incident involving a student was reported by the student’s doctor on April 22.
A day later on May 1, Sarno released the following statement: “After further review of this incident, the Quebec Officer’s actions are totally unacceptable. I have directed Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood to take swift and appropriate disciplinary action on this matter. This is another example of why I have pushed so hard for the use of body cameras, which will benefit our Police Department and the citizens of Springfield. I repeat again, our officers are sworn to uphold the law, not break it. This behavior will not be tolerated.”
During a press conference on April 30, Sarno said city officials learned of the incident on April 29 and Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood immediately removed the officer placing him on “inside duty” while the investigation is being undertaken.
City Solicitor Edward Pikula could not release any details. The nature of incident itself, the name of the victim and the name of the officer could not be revealed. The incident was caught on security video, the mayor said.
Pikula called an incident “a personal physical interaction that rises the level of investigation.”
The student has “minor injuries” including a bruise on his arm that spurred the doctor to make the report, Sarno said.
School Superintendent Daniel Warwick said, “Our kids’ safety is our first priority.” He added that over the 25 years police officers have been assigned to city schools, there have been a few incidents that have triggered immediate responses.
Clapprood said that, “Mixing law enforcement with education can be difficult.” She said she supports the Quebec Unit and noted the officers sponsor many activities for students on their own time.
Warwick noted the district has spend “millions of dollars” improving security at schools including more surveillance cameras and improved doors and other infrastructure improvements.
He added that parents have appreciated the presence of the Quebec Unit in the city’s schools.