Springfield police look to reinstate street crime unit - WNEM TV 5

Springfield police look to reinstate street crime unit

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Four murders in three weeks has left Springfield law enforcement officials working around the clock to find out who is responsible and to look to find ways to decrease crime in the city.

Springfield police Sgt. John Delaney said the recent violence has prompted officials to look to reinstate the street crime unit at the department that was originally formed back in 2004.

"They (the unit) would have a team patrolling where they would go into high crime areas as a team and basically take over the neighborhoods to make sure that the gang members and the drug dealers were off the corner," said Delaney.

Commissioner William Fitchet met with his deputy chiefs on Monday to determine if the city has the manpower necessary to reinstate the unit.

In the two years that the unit was active, some 2,000 arrests were made and more than 100 guns taken off the streets.

The unit was phased out because of manpower issues and budget problems, but now officials are trying to find the personnel to get it up and running again.

"No more talk," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. "That's good long term, but short term we are going to hit back and we are going to hit back hard. If you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about."

Delaney said the unit would patrol city streets from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. And, as was done in the past, officers would walk the streets together wearing black military fatigues, also referred to as BDU's.

"It's the type of patrol where if you are breaking the law and in a gang and dealing drugs then you have problems. If you are a law abiding citizen you really don't," said Delaney.

If reinstated, Delaney said the unit would be up and running in the next week or two.

Springfield has had 16 homicides so far this year.

Anyone with any information on the recent murders is asked to contact the Springfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-787-6355 or Text-a-Tip. Tips can be sent to CRIMES (274637) - text "SOLVE" in the message body and then your tip.

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