With Rise in Homicides, Springfield’s Sarno Brings Back Strike Force

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he’s re-commissioning a  special paramilitary strike force, which he says will patrol the city’s more violent neighborhoods.

This follows a string of four murders over the last few weeks, which brought Springfield’s homicide total to 16 for the year. That’s already higher than last year.

Sarno says the special unit will have what he calls a “measured response for…hot spot areas.”

“They will be out there aggressively – respectfully – and aggressively,” Sarno says. “And that’s what the good people of those neighborhoods and those streets – no matter what creed, color or background – want, when I’ve spoken to them. They want piece, but when you have these types of [crime] spikes, you need to hit back and hit back with a show of force.”

A spokesperson for the police department, John Delaney, says the unit was formed in 2004 to combat gangs and street crime. But he says it was disbanded a year ago due to “budget and manpower issues.”

This story was written and reported by David Chang and Sam Hudzik.