In the News

Former Chief Justice to Advise Mayor Sarno on DOJ Police Reforms

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, announced today that former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Roderick L. Ireland will act as Special Advisor to the Mayor.  In this role, he will provide advice with regard to the continued cooperative work with the United States Department of Justice in order to help the City as it implements changes to policy, training, and accountability systems within the Springfield Police Department.

Mayor Sarno stated, “I was delighted when I reached out to Springfield’s own, Roderick L. Ireland, about this initiative, and he was more than happy to assist us.  Judge Ireland’s career and record is impeccable.  He has unquestioned integrity and professionalism.  As Commissioner Clapprood, Solicitor Pikula and the rest of my Cabinet continues to work on reforms, accreditation, as well as the DOJ initiative, Judge Ireland’s advice will provide great insight and experience to help move the Springfield Police Department forward in enhancing community trust and department accountability.”

"I am honored to have been asked by Mayor Sarno to serve as his Special Advisor.  Police reform is a critically important topic, not only in Springfield, but also nationally, and I look forward to sharing my best thinking with him, based on many years as a public defender, lawyer, judge, and student of the law.  The citizens of Springfield deserve a law enforcement agency which they can trust, and which follows the rule of law and our Constitution," Judge Ireland said in a statement released by the Mayor’s Office.

Judge Ireland was born in Springfield.  He grew up on Terrence Street in the Old Hill neighborhood and attended Springfield public schools including William N. DeBerry Elementary School, Buckingham Junior High School, and Classical High School.  He received his B.A. degree from Lincoln University, his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School, his L.L.M. degree from Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D. degree in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University.  He was the first African-American appointed to the SJC, as well as the first African-American Chief Justice.  He is currently a distinguished Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.  Judge Ireland retired from the bench in 2014.  In 2015, Springfield renamed Terrence Street “Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland Way” in his honor and the Hampden County Hall of Justice was renamed the Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse in 2017.  In 2017, he served as a special advisor to the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Criminal Justice reform, and in 2018, he was asked by the City of Cambridge to conduct an independent review of the police department's arrest procedures.

(Pictures from 2017 & 2019 events)

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm