Mass. PD returns to 24-hour coverage after night patrols were previously eliminated
Greenfield brings back round-the-clock coverage and tells public there may be delayed responses to non-life-threatening calls
By Luis Fieldman
GREENFIELD, Mass. — The Greenfield police resumed 24-hour service as of Sunday.
Patrols and responses by the Greenfield Police Department had been reduced due to staffing shortages and budgetary constraints since March 1. Massachusetts State Police stepped in with coverage between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Greenfield police announced on the department’s Facebook page Sunday that 24-hour coverage would return, albeit with potential delays in responses due to continued staffing shortages.
“We are happy to announce as of today we are back to serving our community 24 hours a day,” the department wrote. “We would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for their assistance covering between the hours of 0300-0700 for the past six weeks and their willingness to assist our detectives in the upcoming months.”
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department will assist the Greenfield Police Department with coverage “until we can staff our department to safe levels,” Greenfield police wrote on Facebook.
“Due to our continued staffing shortages you still may experience delays in non-life threatening or non-active property calls for the near future,” the post read.
Police Chief Robert Haigh and Mayor Roxann Wedegartner made a surprise announcement about the end of the night shift and an eight-hour gap in service at a Jan. 18 city council meeting. A week later, however, they amended the plan and said Greenfield police will no longer patrol or respond to 911 calls from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.
State police set up a mobile command center outside of the Greenfield Police Department’s headquarters on High Street in order to cover the gaps in overnight service.
At a March 22 meeting of the city’s Public Safety Commission, four new police recruits were recommended to the mayor to be officially hired. During the meeting, Deputy Chief William Gordon said all four were given conditional offers of employment.
At least one recruit, Victor Placinta, already had part-time certification from the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission, and with a waiver for full-time certification, had a chance of being on patrol duty as early as April 1, according to Gordon.
Another recruit, Cameron Johnson, already a full-time certified POST officer, was required to go through field training with the Greenfield police. Gordon said he could be “on the road by himself anywhere between four and 12 weeks, depending on the speed of his training.”
The path to patrol for the other two recruits will take a little longer. “The other two you probably won’t see on the road for about a year, maybe next January,” Gordon said.
A $375,000 federal grant awarded to the city of Greenfield will go toward funding the new hires, Gordon said.