BOSTON (WWLP) – The United States Attorney’s Office hosted a news conference Wednesday morning to discuss law enforcement’s efforts to reduce gun crime in Massachusetts.
Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said recent court closures due to COVID-19 and a “watering down of respect for law enforcement” have contributed to an increase in gun violence mostly by repeat offenders. Clapprood is welcoming strengthening their partnership and getting people incarcerated when they need to be.
She said this year the police department has seized a total of 135 firearms some of which are high capacity firearms such as an AR-15 and an AK-47 as well as ghost guns. In the last two months, 44 illegally possessed firearms were seized. Four individuals that were arrested in the last two months were wearing GPS bracelets, which Clapprood noted has not been an effective way to stop these suspects. Eleven were out on bail for firearm charges and more than 80 percent of firearms arrests were out on released pre-trial since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once we arrest them, sometimes four days, five days later they’re back out on the street, it’s created a horrific revolving door of they’re not stopping, they’re encouraging they’re behavior,” Clapprood said.
Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts joined with Kelly Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division, William Gross, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department, Emanuel Gomes, Chief of the Brockton Police Department, Cheryl Clapprood, Commissioner of the Springfield Police Department, Brian Kyes, Chief of Chelsea Police Department and President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police at 10:30 a.m.