SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Police Department Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood has assigned a Springfield Police Officer to the FBI’s Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force to combat gun violence.

Commissioner Clapprood and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno met with U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, on Tuesday in Springfield.  The FBI and Commissioner Clapprood agreed that assigning a Springfield Police Officer to their Task Force will improve intelligence sharing between the agencies with the ultimate goal of cracking down on illegal gun crimes and gun violence in Springfield and its surrounding cities.

“Our officers have done an incredible job taking illegally possessed firearms off the street undeniably saving lives, but by sharing intelligence and working with the FBI again we feel we can do an even better job of keeping our residents safe and hopefully get some stronger sentences for gun crimes,” said Commissioner Clapprood.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “I deeply appreciate U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Special Agent in Charge of FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta reaching out to myself and Commissioner Clapprood and coming to City Hall to expand and continue our partnership on ridding our streets and neighborhoods of these repeat violent criminal offenders. I am hopeful that with federal sentences hanging over their heads, these repeat violent criminal offenders will be put away for a long time. Also discussed, was the progress that has been made on our continued efforts to come to a plausible and mutually beneficial resolution/agreement to properly address the Department of Justice review. Commissioner Clapprood, City Solicitor Ed Pikula and I look forward to a joint announcement with U.S. Attorney Lelling in the very near future.”

“We welcome a partnership with the Springfield Police Department to help us combat the spike in violence that we have been witnessing. While our respective agencies have different roles and responsibilities, fighting violent crime is a duty we all share. It’s one team, and one fight,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “In today’s world, the threats we face are too diverse, too dangerous, and too all-encompassing for any of us to tackle alone. We want violent offenders to know that our task force will leverage the full force of the federal justice system to hold them accountable.”

Springfield Police Officers have seized more than 160 illegally possessed firearms this year, but along with the national trend, have seen an uptick in shootings and gun violence.  The Springfield Police Department has long had an officer assigned to the FBI Task Force, but due to a variety of reasons specifically man-power issues, no one has been assigned to the Task Force since 2018.