Springfield, MA – – In March of 2015, Police Commissioner John Barbieri and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno unveiled plans to expand the C-3 Initiative and develop efforts in the South End, Forest Park, and Mason Square, with the common thread between the areas being the intensified levels of violence and street crime negatively impacting the quality of life for residents in those neighborhoods.
Commissioner Barbieri made it clear that the C-3 Initiative had two primary goals: to make Springfield a safer city, and to make the community active about reporting crime when they can. Fast forward to July 25, 2017 – the initiative is living up to expectations with crime down nearly 20% across the city.
The C-3 Policing model was created and developed by Michael M. Cutone, a senior NCO with the U.S. Army Special Forces who served with 10th, 19th, and 5th SFG, totaling 25 years with the Army Special Forces. Cutone is also a Massachusetts State Trooper.
In 2006, Cutone returned from a deployment in Avghani, Iraq, where his unit had used the principles of COIN to defeat insurgent networks. In October 2009, during the course of his patrol duties in Springfield, he determined that the COIN principals utilized in Iraq might also be implemented to detect, disrupt, degrade, and dismantle gang activity in the city's high-crime North End section. After implementing the concept, the initiative received accolades from the citizens of the North End section as well as local public officials. C-3 policing also received the support of the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police.
Building off of the previous efforts started in 2013 by the Mason Square Initiative (which morphed into the Mason Square C-3), similarly worked with area residents and organizations to build a close relationship to identify problems. The weekly meetings are led by Community Organizers Tracye Whitfield, Richard Johnson, Mason Square C-3 Sergeant Devon Williams and the State Police. They work diligently every week with residents, non-profits, and business leaders to maintain a healthy relationship between the police and community.
Mayor Sarno stated, “The C-3 Policing Initiative is truly a grassroots partnership of mutual respect and accountability between our public safety officials, our residents, and our business community. My hat’s off to Commissioner Barbieri and our brave and dedicated men and women in blue and just as important, our community of Springfield coming together as one.”
The level of engagement has been very effective to the point that there are days when a resident would have to arrive very early to secure a seat at the meeting, many reaching capacity at the Mason Square Library meeting location. Mason Square C-3 meeting facilitator Tracye Whitfield added, “I love the work that we ‘C-3’ do as a community. There is so much support from the city residents, police, the Mayor’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and many community organizations. We laugh together, play together; we listen to public issues and explore the challenges and resolves TOGETHER. Residents have expressed openly how they can see the difference with crime being down nearly 20% in Springfield overall. It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish when we are in IT together.”
The latest meeting held on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 and attracted 58 participants with topics centering on the decrease in crime, positive relationships, and all affirmatively supported by numerous unsolicited resident testimonials. Denise Jordan, Chief of Staff for Mayor Sarno, also a regular at the weekly meeting stated, “The residents had so many nice things to say about the relationships between the police and residents. It shows that the purpose of the C-3 initiative is supported; the process in place is working and is a model of the city’s potential when residents and law enforcement work together to ensure its success.”
In March of 2015, Commissioner Barbieri was quoted by a local news outlet stating, “There are 33 square miles in Springfield – we can’t be on every block. We don’t have 700 police officers in the heyday of community policing. The residents are there 24/7. They know the people and addresses in their neighborhoods that are problems.” On that day, Commissioner Barbieri told the media that he hopes the C-3 initiative creates more trust between law enforcement and the community.
The Mason Square C3 is a clear indicator that with hard work and commitment to our residents, Springfield is indeed a city on the rise.
For further information, please contact Deputy Communications Director Darryl Moss at (413) 787-6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Photos taken by Chief of Staff Denise Jordan.