Springfield celebrates retiring police commissioner - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield celebrates retiring police commissioner

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After nearly 42 years with the Springfield Police Department, Commissioner William Fitchet will call it a career on June 1.

Everyone involved expects it to be a very smooth transition as Deputy Chief John Barbieri takes over.

Fitchet received a standing ovation at the end of an hourlong ceremony Thursday morning at City Hall.

As the former marine calls it a career, he told CBS 3 that his successor is inheriting a lean department, but one with plenty of upside.

"It's a department that is well-educated," said Fitchet. "It's a motivated department. It's a department that has embraced technology. It's a department that has embraced training and I'm sure he's going to continue that."

The incoming commissioner, Barbieri, said his department's biggest challenge will be dealing with an unpredictable society.

"There's a trend towards gun violence and there's certainly a trend towards disrespect of authority figures and police in general," Barbieri stated. "We're going to work to re-establish confidence in the police."

Thursday's ceremony drove home the relationship between Fitchet and Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The mayor said he does not expect anything to change once Barbieri takes over.

"We've had an orderly transition," said Sarno. "Incoming police Commissioner John Barbieri has worked hand-in-hand with Commissioner [William] Fitchet and Deputy Chief Billy Cochran. So the transition has been very smooth."

As Fitchet prepares for retirement, he looks back fondly at his four-plus decades with the department.

"Do the best that you can do," said Fitchet. "Be as dedicated as you can be to your goals and be faithful to your department. That's what I tried to do and I'm proud for having done that for such a long time."

Fitchet said while he may have some long-term plans for retirement, right now he plans to do nothing but relax for the next few months.

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