For years now, the Springfield Police Department has had 16 squads spread throughout the city. But due to understaffing in center city, a new patrol unit has emerged.
The downtown area used to encompass two of those 16 squads, both of which were understaffed. That’s according to Lisa Cox, the public affairs officer at the Springfield Police Department.
“So basically what we’ve done is added this Squad 17, to our operations. We have them working from 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. in that center city zone.”
The unit, which launched in January, includes eight additional officers working when calls for service are at their peak. Prior to this, officers from other city zones were sometimes dispatched to assist with calls originating from downtown.
With Squad 17, officers are less likely to be pulled from their zones to help in center city.
“So right now we are having about two police academies per year, so we kind of have a constant cycle of incoming and outgoing officers, we are not necessarily taking officers away from any one spot.”
Cox said that Squad 17 will be in Springfield indefinitely.
“It is here to stay; it is not a pilot project or anything like that.”
Within the first three months of its formation, Squad 17 responded to 623 incidents.