Springfield City Council talks police contracts, cruiser cameras - CBS 5 - KPHO

Springfield City Council talks police contracts, cruiser cameras

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Springfield police officers have been working without a contract for nearly two years now.

They weren't sure as to whether or not they'd have to continue to work without a contract, but  they got their answer at Monday night's City Council meeting.

It was standing room only at City Hall.  

The men and women of the Springfield Police Department union, Local 364 The International Brotherhood of Police Officers, filled benches and packed into every corner of the chambers.

On the agenda was their contracts.

Negotiations have been going on for the past 18 months.

They reached a point where a state arbitrator had to be called in.

Kevin Coyle is the attorney for the IBPO union. He said one of the reasons why negotiations were so lengthy was because of the discussion over cameras in police cars.

"They wanted to know what they're responsibilities would be in implementing the cameras," said Coyle. 

He explained the officers were always in favor of cruiser cameras, but questions lingered over procedures with them.

"We wanted to know how the recordings were going to be used, who has access to them, the purpose and who can look them over," said Coyle.  

Finally, it was up to the council to decide.

"I urge my fellow councilors to support what should be a unanimous decision of this body," said Councilor Tim Rooke as he addressed his colleagues.  

The council voted 11-0 to pass the contracts that include a 2 percent raise and full funding for the Quinn Bill education incentive.

A joint committee will also be established to explore the possibility of installing cameras in cruisers.

"We're happy it was a unanimous vote. We take that as a vote of confidence by the City Council and our members are grateful for them to fund this contract," said Coyle.

According to Coyle, the new contract is expected to go into effect shortly. Once it does, the joint committee will be formed within 60 days to look at the protocol and procedures of police cameras.

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