Rally in Springfield demands courts to keep violent criminal offenders off the streets

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Police Department and law enforcement partners joined the community for a rally to honor the city’s efforts to get criminals off the streets, calling for some cooperation from the courts.

This rally comes after Springfield police recovered six illegal guns and made several arrests for murder, drug trafficking, and trespassing over the past few months.

“The people of this area are good people, they do not need and they should not live of fear and I want them to have quality of life and safety, and I am not going to allow criminals to rule our streets,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Mayor Domenic Sarno was joined by members of the Springfield Police Department, Hampden County Nick Cocchi’s Department, and a group of community stakeholders who are demanding that the courts and some judges hold these violent criminal offenders accountable for their crimes.

Springfield Mayor Sarno says the city is constantly finding ways to make the streets of Springfield more safe for residents with the help of Springfield Police and through funding outreach programs, to help those who have been indicted get the help they need and get jobs when returning home from jail. However, to keep criminals off the streets of Springfield he says it takes a team.

Nearly a dozen arrests were made over 48 hours in the High, School, Temple, and Union Street corridor in Springfield, with officers seizing huge amounts of illegal drugs, firearms, and a suspect connected with a recent murder.

MAP: School Street & Temple Street in Springfield

According to the Deputy Chief of Springfield Police Steven Kent, when repeat offenders get released it can cause the police to lose credibility with the community, “People cooperate with us, they want to have bad actors out of their neighborhood and we come in and do what we are supposed to do. We come in and make the arrests, seize the guns and seize the drugs, then this person who cooperated with us comes outside and sees the same guy standing in the same spot 24 hours later.”

After cracking down on these crimes, city officials say they will continue to work hard to end the violence here in Springfield.

“Again, terrific work by our brave and dedicated men and women of the Springfield Police Department, State Police and Sheriff’s Department. Our collaborative efforts to suppress the violent criminal activity of guns and the dealing of poison on our streets will continue as we will continue to work together with all of our community and law enforcement partners to remove these bad actors from our streets. 

Now, joining with our community stakeholders following our productive roundtable meeting, we will rally on School Street to highlight the efforts from our law enforcement partners, demand that Springfield Gardens secure and properly maintain their troubled properties, and ask that our courts and some judges keep these bad actors locked up so that they won’t continue to plague our neighborhoods and hurt our residents. 

We need our courts to keep these violent criminal offenders off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

Mayor Sarno

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi stated, “We are proud to stand with the Springfield Police and the other agencies on the various task forces that are working against all odds to make the School Street area of Springfield a safe place for the law-abiding residents there. But we cannot do it alone.  We need responsible landlords to take control of their properties and we need a justice system that strikes a balance between the presumption of innocence and the protection of victims.  For those charged and sent to our care we are committed to providing every opportunity for them to reintegrate successfully back into society with the tools to live fulfilling and law-abiding lives.  A cycle of arrest and release presents a challenge to creating lasting positive changes to the justice involved.  It also makes it difficult offer support and security to those who have been harmed, and provide a safe and inclusive community where everyone can live and thrive.”

Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce said, “Gun violence feels too big, too powerful to stop.  But it’s not too big for us to take back our streets and take some real, meaningful actions.  We can control what we decide we can live with, and what we can’t.  We can choose whether to do something or do nothing.  I am thankful for the recent arrest made by the Springfield Police Department.  We are choosing to do something.  Now let’s see if the courts/judges will back us in holding these bad actors accountable.  We are not powerless.”   

Solomon Baymon, Director of ROCA Western Massachusetts, said, “On behalf of Roca we are grateful for Mayor Sarno, Springfield PD and all our Community Partners with their collaborative efforts and commitment to help keep our community safe. We’re blessed to be included as part of the solution, and we will continue to do our part by relentlessly serving our high-risk youth population.”

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WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow the 22News team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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