In an effort to provide local police forces with an adequate number of personnel, State Police deployed 16 troopers into Springfield Monday to indefinitely fill in for city police officers who have quarantined because of the coronavirus.
The purpose of the deployment, led by State Police Colonel Christopher Mason, is to mitigate shortages in the department caused by the virus and help maintain the same presence in the city that the usual police force has, State Police spokesman David Procopio said.
“This addition will help augment and supplement our local police operations as we continue to initiate proactive measures to stay ahead of this ongoing COVID-19 situation,” Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said. “We’ve always had a great partnership between our SPD and State Police.”
The troopers deployed, who were reassigned from investigative units within the State Police, will work three daily shifts under the supervision of a State Police lieutenant, Procopio said. Every shift, troopers, under the overall command of Major Michael Habel, will receive patrol assignments for a designated area within the city from a Springfield police commander.
Troopers will continue to wear their usual uniforms and drive State Police cruisers, Procopio said. They have been issued Springfield police portable radios to monitor radio traffic and respond to service calls in the area or assist responding officers. Arrests made by troopers will be transferred to Springfield police custody.
“Our current deployment into the city, amplifying the strong efforts of the Springfield Police to maintain safety in the community during this public health emergency, is the latest challenge that our two departments will confront and overcome together,” Mason said.
“I want to thank Colonel Mason and Major Habel for being great partners in these trying times,” said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood. “The majority of the Troopers coming already have knowledge of our city either having worked here or through our C3 or Gaming Enforcement Units and I anticipate seamless cooperation.”
The Springfield deployment is the third instance in which State Police have sent forces to assist local communities during the pandemic. Last week, several troopers were sent to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to assist with local coverage, Procopio said.
Matt Berg can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.