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State troopers to work Springfield 'hot spots'
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
By PETER GOONAN
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD - Local and state officials today announced a major initiative to crack down on crime in the city that includes state troopers deployed to work with city police in crime "hot spots" and the downtown entertainment district.

The initiative, known as "Operation Safe Springfield," will begin Sunday and continue for about five months.

The expanded state police presence will be funded by state grant funds in excess of $500,000. In addition, it was announced earlier this week that Springfield will receive $900,000 in state funds over two fiscal years to pay overtime for additional city officers.

Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn, among officials announcing the new effort this morning at City Hall, said state police will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Springfield police, concentrating on violent crime, narcotics, gang activity and car thefts.

"The days of 'Lone Ranger' policing are over," Flynn said. "We want to see crime come down, we want to see fear come down, and we want to see 'for sale' signs come down."

The partnership occurs as Springfield struggles with a budget deficit estimated at $21 million.

Ten state troopers will be assigned to work in Springfield, and four task forces will either be created or supplemented by state police officers assigned to special units.

The additional personnel will be assigned to the Gang Task Force and Drug Task Force. The additional task forces being deployed in Springfield are the Governor's Auto Theft Unit and the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad.

A similar initiative to deploy state police to augment municipal patrols occurred in Boston last summer when there was a spike in homicides, and was also activated in Chelsea while that city was under receivership.

Local officials including Mayor Charles V. Ryan and Police Chief Paula C. Meara praised the initiative, agreeing with Flynn that it will help prevent and reduce crime, and improve the quality of life.

"We have heard the call of our residents, our business partners and our city councilors for added patrols," Meara said. "We have been anxious to better staff our units and now we have the resources to do so."

Others attending the announcement included state legislators, city councilors, and local and state police supervisors.

The primary goals of the initiative are: to reduce crime particularly related to gangs, drugs, and guns; to reduce auto thefts; and to improve and maintain public order in the entertainment district, officials said.

"This collaboration of state and local forces to prevent and suppress criminal activity will prove to be a vital step in Springfield's march toward economic recovery," said state Senate Minority Leader Brian P. Lees, R-East Longmeadow.

State Police lend hand to Springfield patrols
Effort follows budget-driven layoffs on force
By Associated Press | March 17, 2005

SPRINGFIELD -- This cash-strapped city, which has seen its police ranks shrink in the past two years, is getting some help from the state in fighting crime.

Edward Flynn, Massachusetts public safety commissioner, announced yesterday that 10 uniformed State Police troopers will help Springfield police patrol the city's most crime-ridden areas and its downtown entertainment district of popular restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

More troopers will be assigned to work with local police on special task forces targeting gangs and drug dealers, but state and local law enforcement officials said they don't know how many officers will be assigned to those jobs.

There have been six homicides in Springfield since the start of the year.

''We want to see crime come down, we want to see fear come down, and we want to see the 'for sale' signs coming down in Springfield," Flynn said during a City Hall news conference.

He said the new initiative, dubbed Operation Safe Springfield, will focus on reducing gang and weapons violence, auto theft and other crimes that might keep people away from the downtown entertainment district, which city officials have long touted as an essential part of the city's economic comeback.

Flynn said the program, which is expected to last about five months, will probably cost at least $500,000 and be funded through a federal grant the state has already received.

Faced with a deficit that some have estimated as high as $37 million, Springfield came under the authority of a five-member financial control board in July as part of a plan to give the city a $52 million interest-free loan from the state.

The bad economic times have forced about 100 layoffs in the city's police department since 2002. Police Chief Paula Meara said her department now has about 460 officers.

''We have been anxious to better staff our units, and now we have the resources to do so," Meara said. ''Our officers know precisely what is needed, and right now that is visibility. A heavy uniform presence impacts street crime dramatically."

While the close collaboration under Operation Safe Springfield is expected to last about five months, the city's control board has hired a consultant to review the police department's resources and suggest ways of best deploying its own officers.

''I don't want people to think that this is some sort of quick fix or for-show enterprise, and then after it's all over we all go home and Springfield is back on its own again," Flynn said. ''This isn't a success unless we change some ways of doing business."

Flynn is a former Chelsea police chief who used state troopers to help patrol that city when it was under state receivership in the early 1990s.

Colonel Thomas Robbins of the State Police, who worked with Flynn on the Chelsea program, is helping organize the Springfield effort.

''This truly is no different," Robbins said. ''The purpose of the State Police being here . . . is to reduce the violent crime on the streets of Springfield and improve the quality of life."
 

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I think this is a great idea and will hopefully help the city. I did an internship when i was in college with Springfield and they are so understaffed it is not even funny. They could use the help especially downtown on weekends.
 

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[web:c1a153a454]http://www.mass.gov/portal/mspPR.jsp?msp_pr=msp_pr_2005_march_24_operation_safe_springfield.xml[/web:c1a153a454]
 

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Springfield Patrols Make 135 Arrests
Special Officers Sent To High Crime Areas

POSTED: 5:52 am EDT April 7, 2005

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A joint effort by Springfield and state police to crack down on street crime has resulted in 135 arrests in its first two weeks.

During the same time period city police made 241 arrests as part of their regular duties bringing the total to 376 arrests for the 14 days.

The five-month operation, funded by $500,000 state grant, sent 10 uniformed troopers to the cash-strapped city to help patrol high crime areas and the downtown entertainment district.

Police Chief Paula Meara says she is delighted with the results so far, but warned the operation is a temporary solution. The city has lost 100 police officers over the past two years due to budget cutbacks.
 

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Great Job!! The Troopers and Springfield Officers are doing an awesome job. But like the article says, its a 5 month temporary solution, and only provided 10 Troopers. Imagine if the City had its 100 Officers back :shock:
 

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RPD931";p="62338 said:
Great Job!! The Troopers and Springfield Officers are doing an awesome job. But like the article says, its a 5 month temporary solution, and only provided 10 Troopers. Imagine if the City had its 100 Officers back :shock:
The problem with that theory/extrapolation is that there are SPD / MSP guys dedicated to just proactive policing. If the 100 were hired back, they would likely be mismanaged by the Chief again and there would be no net gain.

There needs to be a combination of the rehire AND a change at the top.
 
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