Presidents of the Greater Springfield NAACP and Council of Churches applaud appointment of John Barbieri as next police commissioner

By Jack Flynn |
on March 21, 2014

Deputy Chief John Barbieri

Deputy Chief John Barbieri

SPRINGFIELD — The presidents of the Greater Springfield NAACP chapter and the Council of Churches of Western Mass. have praised the appointment of John Barbieri as the next Police Commissioner and promised to work with him in the future.

NAACP president Talbert Swan II and Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon of Council of Churches issued a statement today supporting Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s selection of Barbieri while also criticizing the closed-door process preceding the appointment.

“We are extremely disappointed at the lack of transparency and closed-door process,” Swan and Baymon said, referring to private interviews between Sarno and the department’s three deputy chiefs, the only candidates considered for the job.

They called on Barbieri to improve relations between the department and the community when he takes over for retiring Commissioner William J. Fitchet on June 1.

“Together, we can ensure that the SPD is an organization that rises above the “us vs them” mentality shared by residents and members of the department alike and moves for beyond the days when the “House of Hate” was an accurate description of the department,” Swan and Baymon said.

“We will support him in that effort and look forward to working with him in the near future … to make our city a better place to live, work and play,” they added.

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