Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mayor Sarno Wants Citizen Complaint Board To Fail


A Great Way To Insure Failure

Chairman H. Edgar Alejandro, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, what are you doing? The complaint Review Board in Springfield MA is a joke. A board with no power is a board with no purpose.

As Journalist Peter Goonan of said:

“The meeting was called to solicit public comment on how to improve board operations and to receive additional recommendations to be submitted to the mayor.

The board reviews citizen complaints of excessive force and decisions of the Police Department’s internal investigations unit on those complaints. But suspension, firing and other disciplinary decisions lie with Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet.”

This is no way to get a message through to a group of people who’s only purpose in knowing you is to ignore you. Cops have a serious listening disorder when it comes to citizens, and our patience will never cure it. So much for “submitting recommendations”.

Mayor Sarno, you must empower the review board with the ability to actually make decisions, not just advise and suggest. Without that empowerment, their results will be minimal, support from the citizens, the life-blood of any oversight panel, will be luke-warm at best, and respect for the board amongst police will be non-existent. Continuing on that path is a waste of money and office-endowed authority.

Citizens need to be encouraged to take part in a process that will give them the police department they want, and creating an oversight panel that can do nothing to improve the PD is the perfect opposite. Worse yet, every cop in every city or town knows that. They must be brought into line with civilian authority. Mayor Sarno, make THAT happen, and Chairman Alejandro, gather public support and leverage it with the Mayor to get some teeth.

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