Springfield Aldermen are questioning recent actions taken by the Chief of Police and the city's Corporation Counsel about changes in police contracts without council consideration.
Ward 1 Aldermen Frank Edwards says changes to the handling of Internal Affairs investigation reports seems to be "done in the dark of night." Edwards is demanding information regarding the legality of a memo of understanding concerning the destruction of internal investigation files of police officers after four years, instead of the agreed upon five years, as passed late last year.
Aldermen Gail Simpson says that the lack of aldermen being notified of the change shows a failure and "doesn't do anything to help with public trust." Aldermen were alerted to the change because of a citizen's Freedom of Information Act Request.
Police Chief Robert Williams, who appears as a signing member of the memo along side the police union president, says that the decision to destroy the IA records is to be more efficient and eliminate waste. He also says he will not address "conspiracy theories" about destroying IA files of a potential candidate for police chief, who may have had an IA investigation just over 4 years ago.
Edwards fired back that the only person talking about conspiracy theories was the police chief and that the memo "won't hold water." Williams says before signing on to the agreement, he checked with the City's Corporation Counsel office.
Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen says he was not aware of the conversations. He also says that it was a mistake not to include the director of labor relations in the decision.
Cullen says he will get a written legal opinion on the legality of the memo to aldermen soon.
The most recent police contract was agreed upon by aldermen last December.