SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, in a continued effort to modernize the department and move the Springfield Police Department forward, is today announcing the creation of a Firearms Investigation Unit to address the uptick in gun violence in the city and the reallocation of narcotics investigation resources to regional and state partnerships.
The new Springfield Police Department Firearms Investigation Unit will replace the department’s Narcotics Unit, which Commissioner Clapprood is with this move decommissioning. Commissioner Clapprood is proud of the progress made in investigating drug dealing and trafficking offenses since she was named leader of the department two years ago, and that work will continue as the Springfield Police Department shifts its narcotics enforcement focus to increased collaboration with regional, state and federal drug task forces, bringing the department in line with best practices and allowing for improved coordination with neighboring agencies and pooling of strategies and resources among multi-jurisdictional agencies.
All detectives of the Narcotics Unit will be reassigned to a regional, state or federal task force or other units within the department. One full-time officer will also be assigned to Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s Strategic Action and Focused Enforcement (SAFE) Team. The team is composed of law enforcement officials from local, county, state and federal agencies and focuses on known individuals involved in violent crime.
As part of the realignment, a Firearms Investigation Unit will be created to address the local angle of a disturbing nationwide increase in gun violence. The unit will investigate violent crime and gun offenses and work to aggressively remove illegal firearms from circulation.
The Springfield Police Department seized a record 275 illegal firearms in 2020 and have seized 112 illegally possessed firearms so far in 2021.
This targeted enforcement is also in line with federal efforts to reduce violent crime, which recognizes that law enforcement resources are most effective when focusing on the most significant drivers of gun violence and violent crime.
“We seek to ensure the safety and well-being of our community and will continue to pursue those who drive violence and profit off of addiction and the misery these issues cause,” Commissioner Clapprood said. “We have recognized patterns in gun violence and this restructuring will allow us to meet the needs of our community by specifically addressing violent crime trends and aggressively seeking to remove these weapons from our streets and prosecuting these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. We will also continue to aggressively pursue those who profit from drug sales and trafficking by working with our partners and utilizing shared intelligence, while also continuing to be a resource for those who struggle with substance use.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “I commend Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood on her continued initiatives and reforms to strike a balance between public safety and cop accountability in these times of national rising violent crime trends. Illegal gun use in the commission of violent drug and gang crimes will be our direct focus with this new hybrid attack and continued partnership between our state and federal law enforcement officials. We will now create a direct gun unit and mobilize our Narcotics Unit to federal and state task forces – i.e. District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, State Police, Sheriff Nick Cocchi, DEA, US Marshals, FBI, ATF, etc. By the way, since Commissioner Clapprood has taken command over two years ago and under the leadership of Captain Brian Keenan, there has not been one complaint against our Narcotics Division. The Commissioner and I feel these moves will maximize taking these gun-toting and poison drug dealing violent repeat offenders off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”
The Springfield Police Department is also focusing efforts on delivering services to those suffering from substance use disorders and preventing overdose deaths while continuing to aggressively pursue those who traffic in narcotics and profit from the death and misery of others, especially amid the nationwide opioid epidemic.