Springfield, Mass. Police Using Iraq-Style Counterinsurgency Tactics

| by Michael Allen
article imagearticle image

According to “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, Springfield, Massachusetts police are adopting “counterinsurgency" tactics, which were used in Iraq by the U.S. military.

While that may sound ominous at first, these are actually community-building tactics learned by Police Officer Mike Katone, who was a soldier in Iraq, reports CBS News.

“No one was calling the Springfield police and no one was calling the state police,” said Officer Katone. "Insurgents and gang members both want to operate in a failed area, a failed community or a failed state. They know they can live off the passive support of the community, where the local community is not going to call or engage the local police.”

According to, Officer Katone suggested that the Springfield police create a special team to build relationships with the community by going door-to-door.

“If the government is not going to do it, and individuals are not going to do it, why can’t police partner up with the community and say, ‘Hey, here’s a plan. This is what we want to do to help’?” explained Officer Katone. “Because the status quo of traditional policing, it just ain’t gonna work.”

Springfield Deputy Police Chief John Barbieri was skeptical, but agreed to try the idea.

Door-to-door greetings led to community meetings, which in turn, led to police escorting children from gang-infested neighborhoods to school.

The result was violent crime in the most dangerous parts of the city fell by 25 percent and drug arrests dropped almost 50 percent in 2012.

Sources: and CBS News