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Mass. State Police sets up mobile command center after PD eliminated night shift patrols

The loss of night shift patrols came from a 6% budget cut, drop in staffing and the elimination of a shift


Massachusetts State Police mobile command center in Greenfield.

Luis Fieldman

By Luis Fieldman

GREENFIELD, Mass. — Last week, the Greenfield Police Department cut back on overnight patrols. To ensure city residents still get the coverage they need, Massachusetts State Police set up a mobile command center outside the local department’s headquarters on High Street.

A newly implemented patrol shift schedule means Greenfield police will have a gap in service from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. The change in overnight police coverage began on March 1 and is expected to end on June 30. Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh attributed staffing and funding issues as the reason for the cut in overnight patrols.

“The mobile command post serves as a base of operations for our Troopers supporting the local police department’s overnight shift,” State Police spokesperson David Procopio wrote to MassLive in a statement.

At a Jan. 18 city council meeting, Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh announced changes to the overnight patrols during a budgetary update. He said residents and people in Greenfield can still call 911 throughout the night, but when Greenfield police are off-duty, calls will be routed to State Police or the fire department.

[EARLIER: Mass. PD ends night shift patrols due to budget cuts, lack of officers]

“We’re not cutting dispatch, regardless of what we do,” Haigh said. The outside vestibule to the police department building at 321 High St. will still be open as a baby drop-off. Detectives will follow up on calls the following day.

“We’ll be there if you are involved in a domestic and you need a safe haven,” Haigh said. “You can stand in our lobby and we’ll get somebody as fast as we can.”

The State Police Association of Massachusetts, the union that represents State Police troopers and sergeants, wrote in a statement on Twitter that it is supporting and collaborating with the Greenfield Police Department and the unions representing its officers.

“The public may notice that the State Police command center has been set up at Greenfield PD and our members will be supporting the town with their public safety needs until this issue is resolved,” the state police union wrote.

[RELATED: Community policing on wheels: 3 things to consider for your next mobile command center]

Procopio said that state authorities will support the Greenfield Police Department’s overnight shift for the next 30 days while the city reviews how to proceed.

“After 30 days, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the State Police will re-assess the current plan to determine appropriate next steps,” Procopio said.

The Greenfield Police Department did not return a request for comment.

The cut to overnight patrols was a direct result of a 6% budget cut to the police department, Haigh previously said. The department has lost six police officers since July 2022, and Haigh said staffing levels and a lack of new recruits have forced the department to eliminate its third patrol shift.

It’s unclear when the department will be able to hire enough police officers to fully staff an overnight shift. Even with a Justice Department grant of $375,000, which will go toward hiring three new officers, Haigh said it won’t be enough to bring back full coverage overnight.

The State Police union wrote that its members are working to keep residents everywhere in the state safe.

“This is just another example of our members’ dedication and refusal to ignore any call to service,” the state police union wrote. “We recognize the importance of local police departments in maintaining a community’s safety, and the Association supports our public safety partners who serve with us side by side, every day, and every night.”

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