Incoming Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri addressed the public Monday night, encouraging them to work with the police department.
"Our job is to stabilize the neighborhood, to establish legitimacy, to explain to the residents that if they do give us some information we are going to follow up on it and it is a team effort," Barbieri said.
He told the crowd of residents and police Monday night at Van Sickle Middle School that the key to reducing crime is to expand the C-3 policing initiative, receiving feedback from the community so officers can be more effective. This initiative began in the North End in 2009, relying heavily on residents to work with police.
"It's less about the policing and more about the community," Barbieri said.
He revealed his five strategic priorities he'll address when he becomes police commissioner on June 1, after Commissioner William Fitchet retires. His objectives include adding more training, analyzing emergency response, researching policies and improving response times.
"My plan is to, over the first year, make as much as I can, as quickly as I can, as broad spectrum as I can because if it takes too long to make change. People give up hope," he said.
His hope is to put more officers back in uniform in the city's neighborhoods to address gangs, crime and drug rates. Mayor Domenic Sarno agrees.
"We're looking to utilize the C-3 aspect in some of our areas that need a little pick me up," Sarno said at the public meeting.
Audience members gave Barbieri a standing ovation after his presentation. One former state representative who supported bringing the five-person police commission back said Barbieri is the man for this job.
Barbieri says Monday night's presentation was the first of many open dialogue meetings he will plan as police commissioner.
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