Springfield's public safety committee met with Police Commissioner John Barbieri on Tuesday night and plans to meet every six weeks because of concerns over city violence.
Barbieri says it is going to take more eyes in the community to find those who are involved in the violence – the eyes of neighbors and the eyes of additional officers. He's looking to add four C3 policing units, a strategy used to establish relationships with neighborhood residents.
"And sometimes we earn the trust of getting them to be named witnesses by establishing legitimacy in that neighborhood," Barbieri said of residents.
He also adds more uniformed officers on the street will give more time for police to patrol hot spots where gang activity occurs.
"We are structuring the department along the lines of geographic responsibility," he said.
Barbieri named Forest Park, Mason Square and the north and south end as the areas the department watches the most.
"But the other neighbors, the East Forest Parks and 16 Acres and East Springfields need to strike a balance to make sure that they're getting the attention that they need to and the commissioner certainly demonstrated that he understands that," Springfield City Councilor Thomas Ashe said.
Ashe asked if curfews would help combat crime, but Barbieri says not in Springfield.
"When you round up a large number of persons in curfews, it becomes a nightmare in regards to booking, processing, holding and releasing," Barbieri said.
Curfews can be problematic, he said, with the inability to identify the minors and find who to release them to.
"My goal is to get through this summer with the system I have in place while I make gradual incremental change," Barbieri said.
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