SPRINGFIELD — Elected official, friends, family members and officers of the Springfield Police Department gathered outside of the police headquarters on March 12 for the announcement of the last day for Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.

Clapprood said that April 9 will be her last day in the position. She chose that date because it is the 45th anniversary of when she entered the police academy as a cadet.

Mayor Domenic Sarno described the day of the announcement as “bittersweet.”
The mayor added that the last few years have been “tumultuous times” for police officers and despite the coronavirus pandemic and criticism of policing that came from the murder of George Floyd that “Cheryl decided to stick it out.”

Clapprood started her tenure as the leader of the department on Sept. 20, 2019.
He said she led the department with compassion and enacted numerous reforms. During her time, body cameras for police officers in Springfield were started. On June 3, 2023, Sarno said, “As we mark the third anniversary of this important public safety initiative, I am proud to state that our Springfield Police

Department was one of the few, if not the only department in the nation to have launched this initiative during the pandemic and we were the first large major city in the commonwealth to have a fully implemented body-worn camera system in place.”

Other initiatives, Sarno said, included the use of Narcan for overdose victims; a record number of guns taken off the streets of the city; and the use of trained social workers supplied by the Behavioral Health Network to accompany officers on certain calls.

Sarno declared the Springfield department is “the most diverse police department in Massachusetts if not New England. Our department reflects our community.”

“Do I want Cheryl to move on and retire? No, I do not,” Sarno told the audience.
Clapprood’s successor, Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers, said Clapprood had “worked her way through trying times,” including a consent decree in 2022 from the Department of Justice in reactions to abuses in the department.

The DOJ, stating in its press release noted, “Under the agreement, the Springfield Police Department will improve policies and training related to officers’ use of force. These improvements will ensure that officers avoid force whenever possible through the use of de-escalation tactics; that officers know when force can and cannot be used; and that officers report all instances where force is used. In addition, the Springfield Police Department will provide better supervision to officers and improve internal investigations of complaints of officer misconduct. When officers violate use-of-force policies, the agreement will ensure that the Springfield Police Department holds officers accountable. The agreement also provides for the federal judge to appoint an independent monitor, with the title of compliance evaluator, based on the recommendation of the parties. The compliance evaluator will assess Springfield’s implementation of the agreement’s requirements and file public reports with the court on Springfield’s progress.”

Clapprood was effusive in her praise of the department. “I want to thank the women and men who do a courageous job every day. Everyone here has done a tremendous job.”

Speaking of criticism of the department during her time, she said, “Some of it was our doing but a lot of it was not.”

Noting that she could have left during the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide concerns about police brutality, Clapprood said, “It was important for me to stay, to stand up for the people I truly believe in.”

Saying it was “an honor and a privilege” to serve, Clapprood added, “I go from being your humble leader to being your biggest fan.”

There will be a public reception for Clapprood at 4:30 p.m. April 5 at the John Boyle O’Reilly Club, 33 Progress Ave.

+ posts