Getting Answers: Greenfield Police looking to end night shift patrols

Getting Answers: Greenfield Police looking to end night shift patrols
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:07 PM EST
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GREENFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - We’re getting answers after the Greenfield police chief announced that the department will be ending night shift patrols in February. The announcement took many by surprise at Wednesday night’s city council meeting, especially with the police department receiving a staffing grant last year.

“What’s going to happen overnight is there’s going to be a phone call to our dispatch center, 911. They’re going to transfer it to our state police barracks. Shelburne will see if someone is available and whether or not they will respond. They have to respond to life or death. That’s their mandate,” said Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh during the meeting.

Haigh made the announcement on Wednesday during a lengthy city council meeting and stated that the police department will stop staffing police between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Western Mass News spoke with one city councilor who told us the announcement is shocking.

“We weren’t really prepared for this type of announcement in this meeting. I was shocked to be honest. We didn’t receive any preparation for the presentation ahead of time. We were told this was a mid-year update,” said Greenfield City Councilor Marianne Bullock.

Bullock said she and other councilors are raising concerns about the decision.

“It really felt like this was an intentional set-up and the willingness to cut services and put people at-risk was a personal grievance against the city council. We have not received any financial orders,” Bullock added.

Meanwhile, Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner was in support of the cut.

“I did not disagree with it. I know he was faced with very hard decisions about what to do going forward, so it’s not an optimal thing that we wanted to do. Nobody is doing this because they wanted to do. It is what makes sense, regardless of how difficult it is to face,” Wedegartner explained.

Bullock told us she believes this all stems from last year’s budget cut.

“This comes from the fact that there was a cut in the police budget in May, so sort of set the tenor for the relationship between the city council and the chief of police…My reason for cutting the budget at the level that I voted on was because our police budget is out of line with neighboring towns around us with similar population and income,” Bullock noted.

In the meantime, we’re told the city council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on this matter in the next two weeks.

Wedegartner also shared that she is looking into other ways to cover the night shift.

We did reach out to the Greenfield Police Department for comment, but have not yet heard back.