The Springfield City Council voted to cut the Police Department’s overtime budget by $200,000 for the next fiscal year.
This is as police reform and budget cuts in departments are happening across the country.
The City Council recommends using the $200,000 on more training for police officers, but not all city councilors were on board with the decision.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Mayor Domenic Sarno wanted to originally cut $125,000 from the Police Department overtime budget, but some city councilors wanted to cut the overtime budget by the $250,000.
“I suggested that we meet in the middle at $200,000,” Councilor Orlando Ramos said. “It’s a nice round number that makes sense, and will make an impact.”
That impact Ramos hopes it has is that it goes towards police training for issues such as de-escalation. During the meeting, there was concern that cutting these funds would impact public safety. Ramos said there won’t be an immediate impact.
“The city of Springfield already has enough officers on payroll,” Ramos said. “We have more than the recommended amount on payroll. So there should not be a need for too much overtime compared to past years.”
One city councilor, however, thinks the budget cut is not the right move.
“I think what it is it’s a knee jerk reaction based on the different violence that’s been happening from the police and Black males in the community,” Councilor Malo Brown said.
Brown said he gets calls about fireworks going off in the city and other crimes.
“Right now, with the gun violence and tick in fireworks,” he said, “where do they think we’re going to get that support from? Who are we going to call? Ghostbusters?”
Western Mass News reached out to Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood about the overtime cut. She declined to comment.