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New Springfield Interim Police Chief Says He's Committed To Change

Melorie Begay/KLCC News


Springfield Police Department’s new Interim Police Chief, Andrew Shearer says he’s focused on building trust and transparency with the community. Shearer replaces former Chief Richard Lewis who retired.


Shearer started in 1992 with the Portland Police Bureau before retiring as the Assistant Chief of Police last year in August. Still new, having started May 31, Shearer said he wants the department and that includes building trust.

“I think it’s our duty as law enforcement leaders and police chiefs and police organizations around the country to constantly be weighing the type of service that our communities want,” Shearer.


Shearer is entering his position at a time when the department faces a civil rights lawsuit by the protest group Black Unity. SPD has also been given 33 recommendations for reform following an independent review on police conduct and use-of-force practices. 


Shearer said he's spoken with a member of Stacey Kenny's family.


"I've made it very clear to my command staff that implementing those reccomendations is my number one priority, now some of them are beyond my final decision making authority...but the ones we can implement are, that's my highest priority, those are all very good reccomendations that are directly inline with best practices that are occuring around the country," he said.


Shearer said in addition to familiarizing himself with Springfield and its police department, he’s already identified some changes he’d like to see. 


“I think there’s opportunity for growth and room for improvement and I’m going to keep doing that. And make sure we’re an agency that reflects the values of this community and we’re an agency that is progressive and advanced in a manner that makes it a model agency around the country.”


Shearer said he’s thrilled the department has implemented the use of body worn cameras. SPD officers began wearing cameras the same week he started.


"It's a testament to the commitment the men and women of this organization have to this community, I think it provides a level of accountability and transparancy that we haven't realized before, I think the commmunity is in big support of it" he said. 


Copyright KLCC 2021

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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